SANTA CLARA -- Eric Mangini, the defensive mind, is looking at the read option in a different way than other defensive minds in the NFL this offseason.
Many defensive coordinators are thinking of ways to stop the facet of NFL offenses that has risen to prominence with young, mobile quarterbacks, such as Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin and Russell Wilson.
But Mangini's defensive mind will be put to another use in his new role as 49ers senior offensive consultant. In what is believed to be the only such role in the league, Mangini is being brought to the 49ers to use his coaching background to help the offense remain one step ahead of defensive adjustments.
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So how would he stop Kaepernick?
"I would never talk about that," Mangini said. "I don't want to stop him. I want him to run as much as he can and do as many great things as he can."
Mangini, former head coach of the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, was on the 49ers' practice field Tuesday as the 49ers returned for another week of organized team activities.
"I feel like we added a talented, knowledgeable coach," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "You look at how defenses are going to prepare for us and where we can attack defenses, that's what his role is going to be. He'll help in game-planning and our overall offensive scheme."
Mangini has been out of coaching the past two seasons, working as an analyst on ESPN. He met Harbaugh when the 49ers spent a week the past two seasons at Youngstown State while the team practiced there for back-to-back Eastern road games. Two weeks ago, Mangini came to the Santa Clara to spend three days at the 49ers' practice facility. He was eager to return to coaching -- but only in the right situation.
"I missed the competition," Mangini said. "I missed the strategy, I missed the guys. All those elements."
He has worked in the past with Brad Seely, assistant head coach/special teams coordinator, and defensive backs coach Ed Donatell. He also spent time with the Jets while general manager Trent Baalke was there as a scout. He also liked the idea of working for the first time outside of the Bill Parcells-Bill Belichick system.
Mangini, 42, signed a two-year contract, and Harbaugh said it's possible Mangini's role will eventually become an on-field coaching job. Harbaugh said he did not know what role Mangini would serve on game days. And even Mangini is unable to give specifics about his job description.
"It's evolving," he said. "It'll continue to evolve. I like the idea of working on offense. I thought that was really interesting. I did that my first two years in the league, and I think that'll make me a lot better overall coach because it gives you a totally different perspective. If I go back to defense at some point. I'll be that much more rounded."
The 49ers will be able to deny Mangini an opportunity to get a promotion next year if another team wants him to serve in a coordinator position -- offensive or defensive. The 49ers have denied Donatell advancement possibilities with Tampa Bay and New Orleans the past two offseasons.
Mangini said he would eventually like to earn another chance to be a head coach.
"That's definitely a goal of mine," he said. "Right now, I'm doing what I can do here as well as I can do it. I think it's every coach's goal to eventually do that."
Backup quarterback Colt McCoy spent one season with Mangini as his head coach with the Browns. He said there is little doubt in his mind Mangini can be an asset to the 49ers. McCoy said he learned a great deal from Mangini about X's and O's and situational football.
"He's brilliant, one of the smartest coaches I've been around," McCoy said. "I think he can bring a lot. It's good to see his face. He's been around the game for a long time and has a lot of knowledge."