49ers return Mangini to defensive roots

After spending the past two seasons as 49ers tight end coach, Eric Mangini will jump to the other side of the ball as defensive coordinator, ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting.

Mangini’s promotion will mark his second stint as a defensive coordinator after holding the position briefly with the New England Patriots in 2005. However,the 18-year veteran is no stranger to coaching a Super Bowl caliber defense.

Mangini has nine years of defensive experience under his belt since joining head coach Bill Belichik’s staff as a defensive assistant in 1997. Mangini followed Belichik to the New England Patriots in 2000, where he won three Super Bowl rings with the team as their defensive backs coach prior to being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2005.

The 44-year old coach has also spent time as a head coach for the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns, earning a 33-48 career record over five seasons before signing on with the 49ers in 2013.

Mangini will face a stiff challenge to reproduce what former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio had accomplished during his four-year stint with the 49ers.

Under Fangio, the 49ers defense was consistently ranked in the top 5 in the NFL. Fangio had perhaps his most impressive season as defensive coordinator prior to being released from his contract, as a battered and depleted 2014 49ers defense still ranked 5th in the NFL.

After failing to acquire the head coaching job with the 49ers, Fangio signed on to be defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears.

Mangini had reportedly drawn interest from both Washington and Oakland as a candidate for their vacant defensive coordinator spots before deciding to return to the 49ers for his third season with the team.

Joining Mangini on defense will be former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, who will become the team’s senior defensive assistant. Tarver, who will also act as linebackers coach, will reportedly have a small say in play calling, according to CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco.

Tarver has spent the last three years with the Oakland Raiders as defensive coordinator. He had his best season in 2012 when the 18th-ranked Oakland defense surrendered 354.5 yards per game.

The signing will mark Tarver’s return to the 49ers, where he held various offensive and defensive jobs with the team from 2001 to 2010 before holding his first defensive coordinator gig with Stanford in 2011.

The 49ers continued to poach ex-Raiders coaches with the hiring of former head coach Tony Sparano, who will reportedly replace Mangini as the team’s tight end coach, according to ESPN.

Sparano was named the interim head coach of the Raiders during the 2014 season. He finished with a 3-9 record, including a 24-13 win over the 49ers in December.

Sparano has held various jobs as tight ends coach with Washington, Dallas and Jacksonville, as well as a variety of other offensive assistant positions.

The 49ers have yet to find an offensive coordinator after attempting to lure multiple candidates to the team.


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