One integral member of the San Francisco 49ers coaching staff isn’t going to seek any opportunities outside of the Bay Area, after being mentioned as a possible defensive coordinator candidate.
Via NFL insider Aaron Wilson of NBC 2 Houston on Monday evening, February 6, 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek isn’t planning to pursue the defensive coordinator job for the Houston Texans. Had he pursued, he not only would’ve joined former 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans in “H-Town,” but Kocurek would’ve come back to his home state. Wilson revealed that Ryans and the Texans were looking at the immensely popular assistant coach for their opening.
“The Texans had interest in 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek for their defensive coordinator position, but sources emphasized that Kocurek will remain with the 49ers,” Wilson said. “Kocurek, a Texas Tech graduate and former NFL defensive lineman, could potentially receive an upgraded salary and/or job title.”
Regarding the last part, Kocurek potentially receiving a new job title could mean this: He’s either in a position to add one more title to defensive line coach, or could get his elevation to Ryans’ former spot.
Trench defenders have thrived in the Bay Area under Kocurek. Seven different 49ers defensive linemen have shattered at least one career-best mark under Kocurek’s tutelage. The 2022 unit was responsible for 37 of the defense’s 44 sacks during the regular season.
The Athletic’s 49ers insider David Lombardi chimed in by saying “49ers keep their D-line coach Kris Kocurek. Major win for them.”
One Other 49ers Assistant, Though, Still in the Mix for Texans
While Kocurek is staying in the Bay, one more assistant on the Kyle Shanahan staff is still in play for the Texans.
“The Texans also have interest in 49ers defensive passing game specialist and secondary coach Cory Undlin, a former Detroit Lions defensive coordinator, according to sources,” Wilson said. “Undlin, 51, was previously a defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions under former coach Matt Patricia before the staff was fired after the 2020 season. He has been an assistant coach for the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Lions and 49ers.”
Wilson added: “Undlin earned Super Bowl rings with the Patriots as a defensive assistant in 2004 and with the Eagles in 2017 as a defensive backs coach.”
As secondary coach, Undlin oversaw two breakout second-year players in Talanoa Hufanga and Deommodore Lenoir — going from fifth rounders in the 2021 NFL Draft to earning a Pro Bowl and becoming the top ballhawk during the playoffs, respectively. Cornerback Charvarius Ward also delivered career-highs in pass deflections (11), total tackles (87), solo stops (59) and tackles for a loss (3).
Coordinator With Ties to Shanahan Requested for Interview
Ryans and Houston are still going after coaches with ties to Shanahan. Except this one has no ties to the 49ers.
Wilson reported that Marquand Manuel, currently the New York Jets safeties coach under Ex-49ers DC Robert Saleh, has been notified of the Texans requesting permission to interview him for defensive coordinator.
Manuel spent the 2015 and 2016 season with the Atlanta Falcons during a time Shanahan was running the offense. Manuel then took over as defensive coordinator in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He was with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020 before joining Saleh’s staff. Manuel also was on the Seattle Seahawks staff that won the Super Bowl in the 2013 season.