Mike Nolan discusses the interview process, Smith vs Rodgers, and more

Jan 10, 2017 at 1:28 PM--


Former San Francisco 49ers head coach and current NFL Network analyst Mike Nolan joined "Murph & Mac" on KNBR to discuss the hiring process for head coach and general manager. It was an interesting conversation because he touched on a number of topics.

Nolan was asked about the interview process and gave his inside look at what the process is like. "I think a lot of teams miss the mark on what it takes to do the job," Nolan said. "Therefore, there's a lot of questions in it that I don't think, personally, have a whole lot to do with whether you'll be good at the job and whether you'll fit the situations there. Although they are questions that you have to answer and believe me, if they are concerns of the person asking the question then obviously it is important to them so you have to ask it.

"The disappointment sometimes is that you kind of think, 'You know, if you guys were hitting the mark, I'd be more excited about this job. But if you're asking questions about things that won't really pertain to me being successful or not.' So yeah, they'll hit everything from -- When you start every interview, it's typically about family and what you do as hobbies and blah, blah, blah. Kind of the small stuff.

"And then you get into the job and those are the questions I'm kind of talking about. When you get into the job, you need to talk about staffs, you need to talk about your relationship with the personnel guy and many more things than that. One of the biggest eye opening things is when you go from a coordinator to a head coach, you go from big brother to dad. Any of us that have children know that's a huge change. To have no responsibility -- basically just walk around the house and do what you want and maybe scream at your brothers and sisters as opposed to going around the house and have to lay down the law, it's just entirely different.

"Some guys make great big brothers but they're not very good dads and that really is the best way I can kind of at least give a visual picture to the everyday fan on what kind of difference it is. Just because you're a coordinator -- and you may have been the greatest coordinator to ever step foot on this Earth -- you may be the worst head coach to ever step foot on the Earth too because the jobs are entirely different.

"So when there's a lot of coordinator questions in the process, sometimes I was actually disappointed in the few processes that I went through because I'm thinking, 'You know guys, this is not a coordinator's job I'm interviewing for. We need to ask head coaching questions.' My confidence would lay in that they are asking the right questions. Then it gets down to do you have the ability to pick the right guy?"

Nolan went on to say that he had some confidence in New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels becoming a head coach again.

Nolan also discussed the decision to hire Scot McCloughan after he became head coach of the 49ers. The decision was based on the person that he felt could make the best decisions at identifying and acquiring players. Nolan said that the pair worked well together the first three years, but the final year was different. "I thought it worked very effectively for three years," Nolan said. "Most of those players that were on that Super Bowl team or championship run teams were all players that we brought in those first few years when I was at the Niners. So I thought we did a pretty good job in that regard."

Regarding the hiring process that the 49ers are in right now, Nolan points out that the team is looking for a head coach and general manager combination that get along. "Personally, that's good, but Scot [McCloughan] and I didn't even know each other when we got together," Nolan said. He went on to say that choosing candidates that have already proven that they have people skills are more important.

Despite the fact that the 49ers hired Nolan before McCloughan, he feels that it is important to hire the general manager first. "It's always players first," Nolan said. "Always. It might even be first through ten. Players first because great players will make a coach look like a hero but it's not the other way around."

Of course, what would a Mike Nolan interview be without bringing up the topic of the 49ers choosing Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers in 2005? By the way, 22 other teams passed on Rodgers before the Green Bay Packers selected him at number 24 overall.

"At the time, we thought in the long term, Alex was going to be the better quarterback," Nolan said. "Obviously, we were wrong. One of them, Aaron Rodgers, is going to the Hall of Fame and Alex Smith is a very solid, capable, good quarterback. We didn't have a bad choice, but there's always one better than the other. We missed the mark. We should have taken Aaron, no question. But like I said, they both turned out to be capable quarterbacks -- one much more than the other."

Nolan went on to say that it would have helped the team had they used Smith's entire skill set – like zone-read in the offense to utilize his legs. "I think early on, Alex would have been thought of as a much better quarterback because that's what he would have been doing plus we would have been innovative in the fact that we would have done it," Nolan said.

"Had we used him as he's being used today, I think we could have masked a lot of that and still had a winning program and who knows who'd be the head coach at this time if we had done a better job with that situation," Nolan continued.

There has been a lot of talk that the thing that turned the 49ers off about Rodgers was the quarterback's arrogance. Nolan says that is not true. "The thing that was most impressive about Aaron was his cockiness, was his arrogance because that's what you look for in a great quarterback," Nolan said.

To end the interview, Nolan was asked if he would take a general manager job with the 49ers. "I would take it in a heartbeat," he answered.

You can listen to the entire interview, which is a great listen, on KNBR.





More San Francisco 49ers News



Jimmy Garoppolo shares thoughts on 49ers future, may seek Aaron Rodgers' advice

By David Bonilla
Sep 21

Aaron Rodgers, for now, looks like he is holding off his eventual successor in Green Bay — Jordan Love. Rodgers' counterpart for the San Francisco 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo, is trying to do the same. The Niners and Packers will clash on Sunday night as the former tries to remain undefeated in what is expected to be a tight NFC West race. Garoppolo joined The Rich Eisen show today and was asked about his NFL future and what he wants to come out of the 2021 season. Does he want to remain in San Francisco? It might take a superb season for that to happen, much like Rodgers did in 2020 or Garoppolo's mentor in New England, Tom Brady, did with him. "I don't know. To be completely honest, I haven't thought that far ahead yet," Garoppolo said. "It's one of



Jimmy Garoppolo has studied Aaron Rodgers for years, shares thoughts on 49ers inquiring about the Packers QB

By David Bonilla
Sep 22

This week, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said he might seek advice from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers regarding his situation. Like so many veteran quarterbacks, Rodgers is fighting time and has a young quarterback, Jordan Love, waiting in the wings. Garoppolo is in a similar situation. He is the undisputed starter in Santa Clara, but the future belongs to rookie Trey Lance, the team's No. 3 overall pick. "I know Aaron pretty well," Garoppolo said this week on The Rich Eisen Show. "We've talked a couple of times



Silver: 49ers calling Packers about Aaron Rodgers caused drama between Shanahan, LaFleur, other coaches

By David Bonilla
Sep 23

This week, a reporter asked Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur about his relationship with San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. Did an April call from the Niners to inquire about star quarterback Aaron Rodgers created a rift between the two? "Kyle's a great friend of mine," LaFleur said via Bill Huber of SI. "Absolutely, I hold no ill will toward him." Shanahan has repeatedly explained that he was just doing due diligence on behalf of his team after reports surfaced about friction between Rodgers and the Packers. The 49ers coach never expected the conversation to get very far, and it never did. "It didn't



Nick Bosa, 49ers defense hope to make Sunday's game uncomfortable for Aaron Rodgers

By David Bonilla
Sep 23

Aside from an injury-plagued 2020 campaign, the San Francisco 49ers defense has found success in recent years when the often-punishing pass rush has created problems for opposing quarterbacks. To win on Sunday against the visiting Green Bay Packers, Nick Bosa knows that the pass rush will have to cause nightmares for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. "You try your hardest to do [stop him]," head coach Kyle Shanahan said of Rodgers this week. "He's been making people look bad for a long time. But yeah, if you let him get comfortable at all, I think everyone knows what that result is." Bosa got to Rodgers once in the NFC Championship Game two seasons ago. He


Featured

Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone