49ers interview trio of head coach, GM candidates

The 49ers blitzed through a busy weekend of interviews for fresh football leadership, evaluating Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for the head coaching job on Friday before flying out to meet with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

The 49ers also interviewed Colts vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III for the general manager job on Saturday.

The 49ers were the last team scheduled to interview McDaniels, who previously met with the Jaguars and Rams. McDaniels managed to wrap up all of his interviews in an 11-hour stretch before getting back to work to prepare for the Patriots’ AFC Divisional Round playoff game scheduled for this Saturday.

Raye is the son of former 49ers offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye II. He played football at San Diego State University where he was a wide receiver from 1986 to 1990. Raye graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public administration.

According to 49ers insider Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area, ESPN analyst and former safety Louis Riddick gave his thoughts on the team:

“The 49ers need a ‘massive overhaul’ at ‘very, very, very important positions.'”

Whether fans agree or not, Riddick is correct. The 49ers need to lift themselves back to the standards of the 2011-12 season, when they finished with a 13-3 record, clinched the NFC West and made their first playoff appearance since 2002. The 49ers went on to beat the Saints 36-32 in the Divisional Playoffs, but fell short of a long-awaited trip to the Super Bowl with a 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants.

The 49ers will hold Monday meetings with Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay for head coach and Panthers assistant general manager Brandon Beane for general manager. Additional interviews with Panthers defensive coordinator Shawn McDermott for head coach and Riddick for general manager are scheduled for Tuesday.

The 49ers have a busy week ahead of them. They’ll interview four more candidates after interviewing seven last week.

But never forget: defense wins championships. And the 49ers should take mental notes on the popular phrase. Chip Kelly wasn’t the only one to blame; he was more of an offensive mind, which didn’t complement the defensive mind of Trent Baalke. If the team wants to return to success, they need to focus on defense first, and hire the right people.