News and Views

Taking stock of 49ers happenings in the wake of the week:

News: Niners promote Bill Rees to director of player personnel.

Views: This is an obvious sign the 49ers are working to strengthen their infrastructure as far as evaluating talent and building the team with young prospects. Rees is a sound personnel man who came to the 49ers in 2000 after four seasons as director of college scouting for the Chicago Bears. While in Chicago, Rees oversaw a staff of six scouts and helped produce drafts that produced 14 starters over three seasons. Rees has spent the past three seasons working with the Niners as a special assistant to general manager Terry Donahue, working primarily on college scouting and the draft. Now, Rees will be in charge of that department, allowing Donahue to focus on other aspects of his job, such as the team's pressing issues this year in free agency.

News: Jim Mora flies to Atlanta for second interview with the Atlanta Falcons.

Views: Since he now has interviewed for three NFL head-coaching vacancies since the season ended, it would be easy to assume that Mora is a goner as the 49ers' defensive coordinator. But not so fast. It's true that Mora is on the fast track to be an NFL head coach, but he won't leave the Niners until he gets a solid offer, and that still might not happen until 2005. A second interview in Atlanta indicates Mora indeed is a finalist there, but insiders say the Falcons might be more interested in some coaches whose teams still are participating in the playoffs and now are off limits until their seasons are over. The Oakland Raiders have asked the Niners for permission to interview both Mora and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, indicating Knapp will be Mora's top choice as his first offensive coordinator if - and when - he becomes a head coach.

News: Detroit Lions fire offensive line coach Carl Mauck.

Views: Why the heck would any 49ers fan care about this coaching change from a faraway land? Well, it's not such a trivial detail, as far as the Niners are concerned. The move opens the door for former 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci to bring Pat Morris to Detroit, and Morris - who has spent the past five years as San Francisco's reputable offensive line coach - reportedly is considering this week whether to join Mooch with the Lions or sign a new deal with the 49ers. Morris is the only 49ers assistant who is not under contract for 2004, and losing him would be a big hit to the San Francisco system, mainly because he is a quality positional coach who has done an admirable job carrying on the tradition set by the man who came before him with the Niners, Bobb McKittrick.

News: Niners sign DB Allan Amundson, TE Gabe Crecion, TE/LS Marcus Helfman, RB Maurice Hicks, WRs Bosley Allen, Arland Bruce, Adam Herzing and Kahlil Hill and punters Danny Boyd and Filip Filipovic.

Views: You might not recognize these names much now, but expect a few of them to make it deep into training camp this summer and maybe even onto the team's 53-man roster and/or practice squad next September. Amundson, a converted running back, was with the team in spring minicamps last year. Helfman also spent time with the Niners last spring and Crecion made it to the final roster cut on Aug. 31. Allen, Bruce, Herzing and Hill all spent time on either the active roster or practice squad this past season and are young players the Niners would like to continue to develop at a position that figures to have a few openings this year. And the signing of two punters, both of whom have NFL experience, may signal the end of the troubled tenure of Bill LaFleur with the Niners. We can only hope.

News: Safety Tony Parrish named second-team All-Pro.

Views: Players, coaches and fans may be a little slow to come around to the exceptional performance of the Niners' sixth-year safety, but those who cover football know what the deal is. Parrish - despite leading the NFL with nine interceptions and ranking as one of San Francisco's top defensive playmakers for the second year in a row - was left off the NFC's Pro Bowl roster again this year, which is determined by a combined vote of players, coaches and fans. But he received the fourth-most votes of any NFL safety in balloting of a nationwide panel of 50 sportswriters and broadcasters who determine the Associated Press All-Pro team. Certainly, the classy and talented Parrish would have gotten our vote.

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