49ers players support internal candidates for head coach

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Several of the San Francisco 49ers have said they are hopeful their new head coach is a lot like the old one, Jim Harbaugh.

The players have expressed confidence in a couple of familiar faces in the building who could become San Francisco's new head coach.

Whether CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke decide to promote from within is the big question: Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and defensive line coach Jim Tomsula are considered the best bets to be considered for promotions from the current coaching staff.

''He's going to have to have pretty much everything that Jim Harbaugh had,'' tight end Vernon Davis said. ''Because he was good, he was really good.''

Fangio - who joined the 49ers with Harbaugh from Stanford in 2011 and led one of the NFL's top defenses - interviewed last week. But there's been no confirmation that Tomsula has had a formal sit down with team executives, who are through their second week of a coaching search they initially said would likely last seven to 10 days.

''We've just got to wait and see,'' left guard Mike Iupati said. ''Similar to Harbaugh, I really love Harbaugh. Whatever coach comes, I wish him the best of luck and see where he takes the team.''

If Fangio is hired, he is expected to consider Kyle Shanahan for his offensive coordinator after Shanahan parted ways with the Browns this week.

''I would like to see Vic Fangio here,'' linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. ''Whether that's head coach or (defensive coordinator), I would like to see him here.''

The Washington Redskins were denied permission to interview Fangio for their defensive coordinator vacancy, a person with knowledge of the request said Friday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because those dealings between teams aren't made public.

Fangio adapted this past season with a new-look defense given the injuries of star linebackers Bowman and Patrick Willis, and the nine-game suspension of linebacker Aldon Smith to start the year.

Fangio has worked for a number of NFL teams during his long career, from the Saints to the Panthers, Ravens, Colts and Texans.

While the 49ers, who finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the first time in four years, need to fix plenty on the offensive side of the ball, they believe defensive coaches Fangio and Tomsula could make that happen with the right supporting cast around them.

''We're comfortable with those guys,'' left tackle Joe Staley said. ''I have a lot of respect for what they do. All that stuff is going to take care of itself.''

Other candidates who were at least considered and some of whom have interviewed: Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase, former Raiders, Broncos and Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who was scheduled to interview by week's end.

''I really honestly don't think we need a full overhaul. I don't think we need to make drastic changes,'' Staley said. ''There are things we need to change as far as mentality, accountability, different things like that. But as far as an overall scheme and huge change, blowing up the place, that doesn't need to happen. We've got the talent and the guys in the locker room to get it done.''

Also Friday, the Niners announced they have signed linebacker Shayne Skov to a reserve/future contract. He was part of the team's practice squad this year.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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