February 14, 2024   4 MIN READ

49ers Fire Wilks

Niners DC Another Departure For NFC Champs This Offseason

by and

Fallout from the 49ers losing the Super Bowl has led to the team firing defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

Niners coach Kyle Shanahan announced the decision Tuesday in a conference call, ending Wilks’ one-year stint presiding over San Francisco’s defense after the team hired him last offseason to replace DeMeco Ryans, who became head coach of the Texans.

The move comes just three days after the Niners lost to the Chiefs, 25-22, on a touchdown in the waning seconds of overtime.

Steve Wilks

GETTY IMAGES: Steve Wilks is out as 49ers DC after the team’s Super Bowl loss.

The only other Chiefs touchdown came after a Niners muffed punt led to a turnover deep in Niners territory, but Shanahan called a timeout on Kansas City’s overtime possession on a 2nd-and-6 at the San Francisco 37-yard-line, apparently looking for Wilks to change his initial coverage. 

Shanahan had said Tuesday that he “didn’t like the call they were in,” and had also not commented on the future of his coaching staff.

Under Wilks, the Niners ranked finished the 2024 season ranked eighth overall and third in points allowed, but the 49ers struggled in the postseason, allowing 21 points to Green Bay in the NFC Divisional round and 31 points in the NFC Championship to the Lions.

The Niners will be looking for their third defensive coordinator in three seasons while also losing other key members of their staff and front office.

Klint Kubiak, the pass game specialist, left to become offensive coordinator for the Saints. Adam Peters left his assistant GM post to become Commanders GM.

Joining Peters in Washington are Niners assistant head coach Anthony Lynn and assistant defensive line coach Darryl Tapp, a former Eagles defensive end.

On new Commanders head coach Dan Quinn’s staff, Lynn will work with new OC Kliff Kingsbury and former Eagles OC-turned-pass game coordinator Brian Johnson to rebuild a unit that over the past season finished 25th in yards and 25th in scoring.

Extension For Spags

Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, fresh off his fourth Super Bowl title, will try to help Kansas City three-peat in 2024.

The Chiefs announced that they rewarded Spags with a contract extension just days after Spagnuolo joined head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes in helping Kansas City win its second straight Super Bowl and third in five seasons.

Kansas City’s defense ranked second in total defense and points allowed in 2023, its first top-three finish in both categories since 1995.

Spagnuolo, who had already won a ring as defensive coordinator with the Giants in 2007, has made a compelling case for making the Hall of Fame with four total championships.

As coordinator for the Giants, his defense orchestrated one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history when New York prevailed 14-6 over an undefeated New England powerhouse led by Tom Brady.

Spags in 2024 will help the Chiefs attempt to become the first franchise in NFL history to win three consecutive Super Bowls.

Trestman Returns

Jim Harbaugh isn’t the only one returning to the NFL after an almost decade-long absence.

The Chargers and Harbaugh officially added former Bears head coach Marc Trestman to the staff as a senior offensive assistant

Trestman, who coached the Bears from 2013-14, was last in the league as a member of Jim’s brother John Harbaugh’s coaching staff with the Baltimore Ravens as their offensive coordinator from 2015 until Week 5 of 2016.

Since then, Trestman made brief stops in the CFL and XFL, last coaching in 2020.

He now joins an offensive-minded braintrust featuring Harbaugh, offensive coordinator Greg Roman, and passing game coordinator (and former Eagles assistant) Marcus Brady.

Saucy Trick
Jets corner Ahmad Gardner, a 2022 first-round pick who has made All Pro each of his first two seasons, had an experience in Las Vegas that, well, we’ll just let him explain it:

Folks, be careful next time you’re in Vegas.

– Geoff Mosher and Benjamin Paul contributed to this story.

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