When you’re left to wait for leaks handed to national reporters to find out what the 49ers are thinking, and sources are tough to come by, often it takes listening to the only team employees who regularly appear on the flagship station to see which direction the wind is blowing.

That brings us to today’s interview with Tim Ryan on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac” show. I’m going to throw out some quotes from Ryan, and afterward we’ll determine where the 49ers are leaning.

“I think they’re going to end up getting the man they want. I think they’ve had their crosshairs on a few guys. I know they’ve gone through some interviews with some of these other guys that have been hired. And all the jobs are filled now, except the one. And I think it’s going to end up being one of the two or three candidates that they’ve had their eye on.

“Obviously Josh McDaniels comes to mind. Kyle Shanahan comes to mind. And even Tommy Cable up in Seattle, when you connect the dots to the potential general manager position being filled by a couple of one or maybe two Seattle guys.

Translation: As we all figured, the 49ers are down to McDaniels, Shanahan and Cable.

“I know Tommy Cable really well. I watched him lose about a whole Tommy Cable in his life. That guy used to be twice as big. Had some back issues and some surgeries, lost a lot of weight. Man, what a committed guy and a guy who gets it. So, he would be great.

“Kyle Shanahan, at the same time. I did a few games when he was the Redskins offensive coordinator under his dad. Really sharp. You turn on the Atlanta tape and they’re the most impressive thing going, offensively.

“It’s one of those three … I do think in the end though, it’s going to be Josh McDaniels. If it’s not, the other two, either one of them, I think will be worthy. But I think it’s going to be Josh.”

Translation: The choice is probably going to be McDaniels, but Ryan has some humanizing stories ready if they end up with Cable.

“Josh’s football intelligence and what he’s done as a play-caller as a guy who’s coached quarterbacks and called offensive plays, he can connect the dots, man. And I think all these guys can. Just look at Kyle Shanahan and what he’s doing. Just calling out plays and being a couple steps ahead of the coordinator. It’s like a clinic when the players go out there.

“All of them would be fine choices. I just think when you look at Josh, where’s he’s been, the great football that he’s been around, his character. I think that the culture that he wants, he envisions, a team that he’ll be in charge of having. That’s why I think I like him.”

Translation: The 49ers are targeting McDaniels, and are probably ready to give him more power than he’d get anywhere else.

“I think the GM’s going to end up supporting the head coach and everybody works in the same direction and keeps the road clear. Period. So the coach could be hired before the GM. And then whoever the coach is, which one of these guys do you either (a) have a relationship with, (b) can work with, or (c) can’t work with.”

Translation: Don’t expect a GM hire until a coach signs. And don’t expect that GM to have anywhere near as much power as Trent Baalke did.

“I still think, and this is conjecture on my part, I still think Louis Riddick’s got an outside shot at it.”

Translation: It’s not necessarily going to be one of the Green Bay or Seattle guys.

And here’s some more stuff about Cable:

“If Tom Cable ends up being the choice, I would immediately I think connect to the Seattle guys. I do think coach is going to come before general manager.”

Ryan’s response when Brian Murphy told him that fans really, really don’t want Cable:

“Well, I understand that. They don’t want, I guess, an offensive line coach that was coaching at the Raiders. What that guy endured with JaMarcus Russell was pretty incredible. And I could tell you some stories that we’ll talk about on the golf course. I hope they get what they want. If it is Tom Cable, I guess I’ll be for the next four or five months, as his defense attorney. He’s a good man.”

Translation: Like the folks in Seattle, Ryan can look past whatever happened with Randy Hanson and those domestic violence allegations.

What does it all mean? It still sounds like Jedraag can land McDaniels, their No. 1 target, as long as they convince him that the organization is headed in the right direction and he’ll get at least some degree of personnel control (a lucrative contract wouldn’t hurt either, obviously). If I had to bet today, I’d wager on them ending up with the McDaniels/Riddick combo.

If I was Jed, my first choice would be Kyle Shanahan. But Jed and I are about as similar as Jim Harbaugh and Jim Tomsula. It sounds like Shanahan could be the least likely candidate at this point.

My very unofficial percentages:

  • McDaniels: 60%
  • Cable: 25%
  • Shanahan: 15%

No mention of Tom Gamble in Ryan’s segment. Based on what I’m hearing, the 49ers don’t want fans to think he’s an option.


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