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San Francisco 49ers: Shanahan fires DC Wilks

The San Francisco 49ers will this morning begin the search for their third defensive co-ordinator in three seasons following the dismissal of Steve Wilks.

Wilks was sacked yesterday just three days after the Niners were beaten 25-22 in overtime by the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII.

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Head coach Kyle Shanahan explained the move in a hastily arranged press call, saying: “This morning I relieved Steve Wilks of his duties. 

“[We’re] going to end up making a change here at defensive co-ordinator. A really tough decision, because [it] really says nothing about Steve as a man or as a football coach. I mean, he’s exactly what we wanted as a man. He is a great football coach.

“But just where we’re going and where we’re at with our team from a scheme standpoint and things like that, looking through it all throughout the year to these last few days, I felt pretty strongly that this was a decision that was best for the organisation.”

San Francisco ranked third in points allowed per game in 2023 with 17.5 but that was a downgrade on the season before (16.3) under DeMeco Ryans.

However struggles against the run, particularly in the play-offs, ultimately proved Wilks’ downfall as he failed to successfully implement the systems utilised by Ryans and Robert Saleh, and preferred by Shanahan.

Shanahan added: “I knew that was a challenge. It was real tough losing DeMeco. It was tough losing Saleh the year before. We had committed to not just the system, but the players that had been in the system, from our D-line or linebackers. They had played in it for such a long time.

“It was my goal to not have to change all of them, and bringing in Steve, who was unbelievable how loyal he was and him trying to do it, but it just ended up not being the right fit. And it hurt for me to do this, but that’s exactly why I had to.”

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