49ers Rumors: NFL Insider Hints at Potential DC Update as Kyle Shanahan Prepares to Move On From Steve Wilks

Published 02/20/2024, 9:31 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

The 2023 NFL season has finally concluded! The Kansas City Chiefs emerged as the Super Bowl LVIII winner, against the San Francisco 49ers. However, as the season has wrapped up, so has the position for many NFL stars and coaches in numerous teams. One among them was the Niners defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers parted ways with Wilks on Wednesday, February 14. According to Albert Breer, Wilks’ dismissal from the team wasn’t solely based on his Super Bowl performance. Rather, it was already on “shaky ground” before the big clash, due to his struggles in bringing out the best from his players. Now, a major hint has emerged concerning the 49ers’ DC position which shows that it “might be closing.”

The 49ers and Kyle Shanahan will get their new DC!


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An NFL insider, Tim Kawakami, on his X account, addressed that “the 49ers might be closing in on a DC. Not sure when there’ll be an announcement, but could be soon.” Steve Wilks, just after his one season with the team, faced a challenging time in an arguably successful season. It began with issues such as an apology for play calling while playing against the Vikings, and his probable strained relationship with the head coach and players.

Recently, he was released from his responsibilities in the Niners camp. Due to this, the new position that has opened up. However, the vacancy hasn’t created any pressure on the team to fill the position on an immediate basis, per numerous reports. As the 49ers are currently the only team in the league with this vacancy, this gives them the ample time to thoroughly evaluate both internal and external candidates and make a well-considered decision.


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Earlier, Kyle Shanahan had mentioned that he expected all 49ers coaches to be back. Alas! Soon the news of Wilks dismissal from the team made the news. The reason provided was, “It just ended up not being the right fit,” according to the head coach. The uncertainty shrouds Wilks next destination who has also served as an interim coach for the Panthers and head coach for the Cardinals.

49ers Rumors: Ian Rapoport Reveals Steve Wilks’ Firing Details, Names Brandon Staley Among Others as Potential Replacements

Nonetheless, Kawakami’s latest post hints that the 49ers might not be in a similar situation as they won’t take much time with an announcement coming up soon. The question remains though, which defensive strategist has the higher chance to guide the Super Bowl runner up?

Three coaches are on the list for the 49ers?

San Francisco didn’t waste any time to fire Steve Wilks after the Super Bowl game. Therefore, they might not take much time to hire a new DC for them. According to the reports, there is a high probability that the 49ers might hire any of these three coaches: Daniel Bullocks, Brian Flores, or Mike Vrabel. Bullocks, the current defensive back coach for the Niners, has been with the team since 2017 and played a role in establishing their defensive culture.


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However, his lack of experience as a coordinator raises concerns about leading the defense to a Super Bowl victory. Kyle Shanahan may prefer someone with Super Bowl experience, while players may favor Bullocks due to their familiarity with him.

USA Today via Reuters

On the other hand, Flores, an experienced and highly respected defensive coordinator, brings a track record of success and Super Bowl wins as an assistant with the Patriots. Flores could be a valuable addition, especially considering his history coaching both safeties and linebackers.


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Besides them, Vrabel, with three Super Bowls as a player and previous success as the Titans’ head coach, could serve as an interim solution for the 49ers, potentially leading them to a Super Bowl before exploring other coaching opportunities. Let’s see who the Niners are going to hire replacing Wilks. Stay tuned for more updates!

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Written by:

Bhwya Sriya


One take at a time

Bhwya Sriya is a senior NFL writer at EssentiallySports. She actively covers Live games and Breaking News with a specialization in injury reports. Certified for excellence in beat reporting, Bhwya also leads our annual Super Bowl coverage.
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Edited by:

Aazima Basharat