Assistants on the way out

The assistants on Dennis Erickson's coaching staff all remain under one-year contracts with the 49ers, but it's unlikely many will be back with the team in 2005.

It is believed that owner John York asked Erickson's to fire more than half of the 18 assistants on his staff before York decided to give Erickson the ax last week.

While a few assistants still are looked upon favorably by the current 49ers regime – defensive line coach Dan Quinn in particular – the uncertain fate of individuals on a staff that waits in limbo won't be determined until the Niners find their new head coach.

"The new head coach, once he is chosen, will evaluate the assistant coaches," York said. "I am sure that there are some of those assistant coaches that they will deem very good and he will ask them to stay."

But that will certainly be a short list.

As York added somewhat cryptically, "The others may be asked to leave or may be called by others with jobs."

The latter process began Tuesday when the Miami Dolphins were granted permission by the 49ers to speak with Quinn. The Detroit Lions also asked for and received permission to speak with Niners offensive coordinator Ted Tollner.

While Tollner said earlier this week he has been told he's not on the list of assistants that York wants fired, it's difficult to believe he would be asked back under any circumstance. Under his watch, the 49ers had one of their worst offensive seasons ever. It's possible he could be asked back as a quarterbacks coach – his position for two seasons with the Niners before last year – but if he receives an offer from the Lions, expect him to be one of the first assistants to leave.

Here's a brief look at the status of all the 49ers' current assistants:


Tollner – He had a miserable season as offensive coordinator.

Willy Robinson – Had too many blown calls as defensive coordinator and the unit did not show any progress under his leadership. Injuries hurt, but he didn't make the best use of what he had.

Gregg Smith – The offensive line regressed considerably during his one season directing the unit.

Ron Lynn – His area of specialty as the secondary coach was safety, and the team's safeties had a very undistinguished season.

Rich Olson – Whether it's his fault or not, San Francisco's quarterbacks did not display the development the team would have liked in Olson's first year as quarterbacks coach.

Tim Lappano – The way Kevan Barlow regressed this season as the featured back reflects poorly upon the team's running backs coach.

Greg McMackin – The linebackers coach kept the unit steady, but the team likely wants a fresh start in this area.

Eric Yarber – Nobody was happy with the play or development of the team's young receivers this year.


Jamie Christian – The defensive quality control coach displayed some coaching progress in his second season in this lower-level position.

Dan Cozzetto – San Francisco's tight ends played about as well as they could this season, and Cozzetto also has had success as an offensive line coach in the past.

Al Simmons – He shared the secondary duties with Lynn, working primarily with the cornerbacks. Simmons got a lot out of the young, inexperienced prospects he was forced to work with.


Quinn – He could have a future with the 49ers if he wants it, but may find a better job elsewhere.

Jerry Attaway – Just completed his 22nd season as the team's physical development coordinator, and nobody does it better. The Niners may make change here for the sake of change, but Attaway again performed his role well in 2004.

Terrell Jones – The team's strength development coordinator worked well with players but does not have Attaway's reputation or longevity.

Larry MacDuff – Special teams were about the only thing on the entire team that showed improvement this year, and those units did it regularly under MacDuff, the team's special teams coordinator.

Jeff Rodgers – The special teams quality control coach will get a long look from the next head coach after the work he did with the 49ers this year.

Jason Tarver – Promoted to assistant running backs coach this year after three years as a offensive quality control coach, Tarver is thought of highly by some who remain in the organization.

Scott Swartz – May be given another chance with Niners after joining them last season in his first year as offensive quality control coach.

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