The good and the bad with San Francisco’s O-coordinator candidates

By Jeff Dickinson  |   Thursday, January 15, 2009  |  Comments( 2 )

San Francisco 49ers
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Since head coach Mike Singletary fired former coordinator Mike Martz on Dec. 30, he has interviewed four candidates -- Rick Dennison, Clyde Christensen, Scott Linehan and Rob Chudzinski -- to lead San Francisco’s offense, and there may be others to follow before a decision is made.

How much is known about each of the candidates who have already been identified for the position? Dennison has been with the Denver Broncos for 14 years, so he must have been doing something right.

Most fans remember Linehan from his unsuccessful two-plus years as head coach of the St. Louis Rams. What about Christensen and Chudzinski? What makes them or any of these four candidates worthy of molding San Francisco quarterback Shaun Hill, running back Frank Gore and tight end Vernon Davis into a successful offensive trio in 2009?

Here is the lowdown on each of the known candidates:

1. RICK DENNISON

Why Dennison should get the job –
Dennison was the offensive line coach for the Broncos from 2001-07, and Denver was at or near the top of the NFL in rushing during that period. Singletary has stated that he wants to get back to basics with the 49ers' offense next season; that means running the football more successfully, which should play well with Dennison’s experience.

Why Dennison shouldn’t get the job – There really aren’t any obvious negatives around Dennison. With Dennison in charge of Denver’s offensive line, the Broncos gained 15,753 yards, which was good for second in the NFL (from 2001-07).

2. SCOTT LINEHAN

Why Linehan should get the job –
Linehan, whom Niner fans know as the Rams' ex-head coach, helped improve Miami’s offense from 29th overall in 2004 to 14th in 2005 as its coordinator.

Why Linehan shouldn’t get the job – In just under three years as the skipper in St. Louis, Linehan never got control of his players or led a talented offense anywhere.

3. CLYDE CHRISTENSEN

Why Christensen should get the job –
As the wide receivers coach for the Indianapolis Colts from 2002-08, Christensen is credited with helping the team post impressive passing and receiving numbers. The Colts have been at or near the top of the league in passing and receiving with Christensen leading the way.

Why Christensen shouldn’t get the job – Some question whether Christensen was just in the right place at the right time with the Colts. Who couldn’t have experienced success with players like Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark roaming the field?

4. ROB CHUDZINSKI

Why Chudzinski should get the job –
In his first year as offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns in 2007, Chudzinski led the team to franchise records in points and total net yards. Under his leadership, quarterback Derek Anderson threw 29 touchdown passes and wide receiver Braylon Edwards set club records in receiving yards and touchdown grabs.

Why Chudzinski shouldn’t get the job – As good as his first year with the Browns was, Chudzinski’s second season was just as bad. In 2008, Cleveland was 31st in the league in points per game (14.5) and 31st in total yards per contest (249.1). Is Chudzinski as good as his 2007 numbers or as bad as the '08 totals? And do the 49ers really want to find out?
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About Jeff Dickinson

I have been writing and editing professionally for 18 years. I spent the first three years of my career as a sportswriter for a daily newspaper in Alabama and got to cover sports and get paid for it! It was great until I got married and then it wasn't too much fun being away from my wife every...
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