Steve Wilks fired as 49ers defensive coordinator after one season: 'It wasn't the right fit'

The San Francisco 49ers have fired defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, three days after losing Super Bowl LVII to the Kansas City Chiefs and a year after he was hired.

“It's not a perfect fit,” said the 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan during Wednesday's news conference.

“We felt very strongly that this was the best decision for our company,” Shanahan added. “Even though it's something I don't want to do, it's something I've realized is a better direction. Our system, it's something I have to do.

The move comes after Shanahan said Tuesday He expected all his coaches to return For the 2024 season. He praised Wilkes' work with the defense last season, which had fluctuating results.

“I thought they were one of the reasons we got this far,” Shanahan said Monday. “I thought they did a lot of good things, they did a lot of good things in that game [Super Bowl LVIII], too. Like our entire team. Our team did a lot of good things this year, but fell short in the last game.

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How the Super Bowl ended Sunday night came under scrutiny for how Wilks and the 49ers' defense played. Defensive end Nick Bosa said the unit “could have been more prepared” for the zone-read plays that Patrick Mahomes successfully executed in short-term situations late in the game.

“You have to expect Mahomes to want to have the ball in his hands,” Bosa said. “We've played a lot of read-option teams, so we have answers for that. But it's tough when you play a team like that, that can beat you in different ways. It ended up being some of the biggest moments they had. Pull it out. We'll learn from it. “

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Shanahan said a deadline He was forced to use With 2:48 left in overtime, Wilkes didn't like a defensive call.

“Yeah, I don't like the look of it [the defense was] “Some of our guys got a little choked up,” said Shanahan, who moved Wilks from the booth to the field during a three-game losing streak in October.

The 49ers hired Wilks to oversee the defensive end on February 9, 2023, after spending the 2022 season as a defensive assistant for the Carolina Panthers and as the interim head coach following the firing of Matt Rhule.

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