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Shanahan Makes Defensive Coordinator Coaching Change

Coaching changes have been made as the San Francisco 49ers close the book on the 2023 season and head into the offseason. On Wednesday, head coach Kyle Shanahan announced that he relieved Steve Wilks of his duties as defensive coordinator. Wilks was hired last offseason to replace DeMeco Ryans, who took the head coaching job with the Houston Texans, and came to The Bay after serving as the interim head coach of the Carolina Panthers at the tail end of 2022.

Wilks helped lead a 49ers defensive unit that finished top 10 in total defense (303.9 yards per game), third against the run (89.7 yards per game) and an NFL leading 22 interceptions. 

"(It was a) really tough decision because it really says nothing about Steve as a man or as a football coach," Shanahan said. "He's exactly what we wanted as a man. He's a great football coach. But where we're going and where we're at with our team, from a scheme standpoint, looking through it all throughout the year to these last few days, we felt pretty strongly that this was a decision that was best for our organization.

"Even though it was one I didn't want to make. It was something that I realized that I think a different direction is what's best for organization."

Per Shanahan the search for a new defensive coordinator will include both internal candidates and coaches outside the building as well as an open-mindedness to coaches with new defensive systems.

"I'm committed to try, with the situation we're in, trying to find what we believe will give the Niners the best chance in 2024," Shanahan said. "When you have a group of guys who have played at a high level doing certain things a specific way for a while, I do feel that's the best thing to do for them. But if I find something that I believe in and it can be sold on that could be a better avenue, I would never hesitate to do that."

Confirmed Coaching Changes

  • Klint Kubiak is headed to the New Orleans Saints for the offensive coordinator position
  • Darryl Tapp is headed to the Washington Commanders to be the new defensive line coach
  • Anthony Lynn is headed to the Washington Commanders to be the run game coordinator
  • James Cregg is headed to the Las Vegas Raiders to be their new offensive line coach

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