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News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

January 14, 2009
The OC: A quartet to consider

All quiet on the 49ers' front for now. No interviews are scheduled today for offensive coordinator, so I figured I'd lay out some of the pros and cons of the four candidates who have already interviewed. Here they are in alphabetical order:

Clyde Christensen
Age: 52
Last/current job: Colts receivers coach
Pros:
* Been a component of a consistently excellent passing attack for the last eight seasons.
* Would mesh well with offensive line coach Chris Foerster; They worked together for eight seasons, first in Tampa Bay and later in Indianapolis.
Cons:
* Spent only one season, 2001 in Tampa, as an offensive coordinator.
* Does not come from a smash-mouth system; Indianapolis ranked 31st in rushing this past season.

Rob Chudzinski
Age: 40
Last/current job: Browns' offensive coordinator
Pros:
* Up-and-coming offensive coordinator who helped resurrect Cleveland's offense in 2007.
* Former tight ends coach whose protégés have flourished in his system
* Might give the 49ers an inside edge on landing a quarterback, Derek Anderson, who can push Hill.
* 49ers could hire Rip Scherer, who worked under Chudzinski as quarterbacks coach.
Cons:
* One-year wonder? Browns faltered badly last season as Chudzinski stuck with Anderson, who was a disappointment.
* System appears to lean heavily on the passing game
* Not a lot of experience as offensive coordinator.

Rick Dennison
Age: 50
Last/current job: Broncos offensive coordinator
Pros:
* Has direct connection to 49ers' glory days, having coached under Mike Shanahan.
* Denver's rushing attack has been consistently strong for more than a decade.
* Has unique background. Was an NFL linebacker. The rest of the candidates are former offensive players.
* He and Broncos' quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates could provide a nice, one-two combination
Cons:
* While he drew up game plans in Denver, he has no experience calling plays.
* Having coached under Shanahan, it's hard to ascertain his style.
* Broncos' zone-blocking theme may not mesh with the personnel the 49ers have assembled.

Scott Linehan
Age: 45
Last job: Head coach, St. Louis Rams
Pros:
* Has solid experience as an offensive coordinator; vastly improved Vikings and Dolphins offenses
* Is dedicated to the running game
* Is familiar to the only two 49ers quarterbacks, Shaun Hill and Alex Smith, under contract. Hill, who spent three years in Linehan's system, could hit the ground running in minicamps.
* Unlikely to be plucked for a head coaching job any time soon.
Cons:
* Lost control of the Rams last season and was fired after four games
* Not on very good terms with Isaac Bruce, the 49ers' best receiver from 2008.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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