It’s been rumored for a while now that new 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan might bring a former Buccaneers coach with him to San Francisco. What no one expected was for Shanahan to bring a current Bucs coach with him to San Francisco.
That’s what appears to have happened, though, as Alex Marvez of Sporting News.com and Sirus/XM NFL Radio has reported that Shanahan will make Jon Embree not only his tight ends coach but his assistant head coach as well.
Embree first came to the Bucs three years ago as part of then coach Lovie Smith’s first season, but he’s no stranger to Shanahan. Embree, who spent three years playing in the NFL with the Rams and Seahawks, worked for Shanahan while both were with the Redskins in 2010.
The loss of Embree cuts a bit into the continuity the Bucs are trying to retain among their coaches but the biggest fear is how Embree’s departure might affect Cameron Brate, who has emerged as one of the league’s best young pass-catching tight ends under Embree’s tutelage.
Brate had something of a breakout year in 2016 when he caught 57 passes for 660 yards and eight touchdowns. He still has to learn to block more consistently to be considered an all-around tight end but the job of teaching those skills now falls to someone else.
Who? Well, one potential candidate is Chris Scelfo, the offensive line coach for the University of Houston Cougars. Scelfo was Bucs coach Dirk Koetter’s tight ends coach for the three years he spent serving the Falcons as their offensive coordinator.
Koetter actually inherited Scelfo, who was originally hired into that position by Mike Smith, who took over as the Falcons head coach in 2008 and retained Scelfo in that capacity until he was fired at the end of the 2014 season.
Scelfo has also previously been a head coach at Tulane University for nine seasons.
With Mike Smith coming back for at least a second season as the Bucs defensive coordinator there’s a chance now that all three could be reunited here in Tampa.