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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Purdy, Steve Wilks, Chris Foerster preview 49ers-Browns Week 6 matchup

Oct 12, 2023 at 10:35 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, and offensive line coach and run game coordinator Chris Foerster spoke with reporters after Thursday's practice, as the team prepares for its Week 6 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcripts provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

QB Brock Purdy

You only have like two scrambles this season, and you obviously have the ability to scramble more and get some yards, but I mean, is that a point of pride that you don't do that and keep your eyes downfield and kind of exhaust a passing play?

"Yeah, honestly, I feel like it's more of like a testament to the guys up front doing a great job blocking and the skill guys being able to do their thing within the pass scheme. And then the great play calling. So, for me it's been great just in terms of going through progressions and reads, being on time and getting the guys the ball in space. When things happen, you have to break down. I feel like having the ability to scramble is something that I could do, but I play quarterback and that's what I try to do first, obviously is go through my reads, progressions and trust the guys around me. So that's sort of just how it's gone. I haven't told myself, alright, I'm not going to scramble as much or anything like that. That's just how it's gone."

Going through progressions and being on time and things like that, the numbers would suggest that you've greatly improved in some of those areas. Did you feel that and if so, how are you kind of seeing things quicker or maybe even seeing them slower in some way?

"Yeah, I think honestly just the second year in and with this playbook just for how familiar I am with the terminology, the concepts, how we tie things together I feel like just the experience sort of helped me to be able to just play. [Head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] calls a great game and stuff, and so for me, I obviously trust in that. And they help me break it down obviously throughout the week, so I know what I'm looking at and I'm prepared for different situations and stuff, so I've got great coaching, they allow me to just go out and play come Sunday. I guess my second year into the system, I feel like I'm getting a little bit more comfortable with it. Still areas to grow."

It's kind of cliche, but does it seem like things have slowed down for you just in terms of the way you're seeing things?

"Yeah, a little bit, I'd say so. The game's always going to be fast and quick, but in terms of like the reads and the progressions, yeah."

A little technical here though. I know there are "can" plays, right? You can "can" a play. Do you have the other play? Is that called by Kyle or are there options? How does that all work?

"Yeah, that's all built in. So, he'll say the play with also the ability to run the second play. He tells me that whenever I'm getting the play, so I walk up to the line and try to get us in the right play."

So, you're calling two plays almost?

"Yeah. Yeah. Yep."

When you look at the Cleveland Browns defense, do you see the 49ers defense or least that front that you've gone against all offseason?

"Yeah. It's a really good challenge for us, the front, they do a great job with I feel like just getting after the offensive line and pushing them back and getting up on the quarterback's toes, sort of pushing the quarterback off balance with just being in rhythm for a play. So, they do a great job with that. And yeah, you can see the similarities with how [defensive line coach Kris] Kocurek coaches the guys up here. The stunts and the things, just the drive, the get-off on the D-Line man, it's crucial. And so yeah, at camp, we obviously go against that every single day, or we did go against that every day, and it was a great challenge for us. So, when we watch the film it's like, 'alright, yeah, we got another great challenge in front of us this week with these guys.' So they're, I think, one of the best in the league and a really talented group, so excited to go against them."

How important is it for you to huddle with your receivers between series to just communicate either what you're seeing or what they're seeing out on the field?

"Yeah, I think it's huge. Honestly, I learned that last year when I got here. In college you're always spread out. You're getting a signal from the sideline and then you sort of just run the play, not really talking and communicating to the guys until you get to the sideline. So being in a huddle and being able to talk to guys what they're seeing, you know, how did this guy react to this or that, and then being on the same page moving forward, I think it's huge. Or even just telling them 'hey, on this play, I'm thinking this, be aware of what we're doing.' So I love it. I love how we huddle."

People have talked about your ability to keep your eyes downfield. Is that an acquired skill or something that you learned, I mean, with chaos going all around you to still keep your eyes downfield, or just something you learned through the years or something you were naturally gifted at? How would you describe it?

"I would say learned. Maybe both, but just there's been plays in college and even in the NFL that, every once in a while it happens where you pull the ball, you run downfield, or the play is just off-schedule and you miss a guy downfield, and so you sort of just like eat at yourself, like, dude, if I would've just had my eyes up field, that would've been a big play. And so, I feel like it's just something that you have to sort of experience, go through, remember, so that when you're in the next moment, it's just natural for you to, alright, I got to get my eyes up this time and keep downfield before I take off. So, that is something that I've had to learn, I think the hard way just throughout my life and career playing football."

Former NFL QB Tom Brady had some nice things to say about you this week. So, can you go back to your first start, which was against him, and I guess what that meant for your confidence? I mean, obviously, you faced the Dolphins the week before and the blitzes, but what did it mean to go in against Brady, to win that game, and how's that carried on?

"I mean, obviously the best quarterback of all time, knowing that we have to be like on point on our side of things, because when you get the ball in his hands, man, you never know what can happen, he is the best. And so, for us it was like, we have to make the most of every opportunity. For myself, it's like I have to be quick with my decisions, make sure I'm on the right side of the ball, making the right decisions, getting the ball to the right guys, or else if I'm just giving the ball up to this guy we may not even have a chance. So that's sort of what we were thinking the whole game. I remember we were up I think by a couple of scores and even I was still, uneasy. I had this uneasy feeling in my stomach, like, dude, we just cannot let off the pedal because Tom Brady's obviously had all these comebacks in his career and his life and stuff, so that's where I was always at. Just one more, one more, one more, every drive. And so, that was my mindset with that. But in terms of the confidence moving forward, yeah, he's the best. And to be able to say we beat Tom Brady, man, it was, for us, it was huge. I think at that point in the season we were just getting onto a roll of winning and obviously we were able to get on a winning streak going into the playoffs. So, it was huge for all of us. And then including myself, my first start, and yeah, it was huge."

We have to keep going, keep winning, and get another score, get another score. That's how it carried over to each game?

"Yeah, I'd say so. Yeah, for sure. Yeah."

Do you play with a chip on your shoulder and amid all this success, how do you maintain an edge week after week?

"I mean, there's little things. Just even when we're in meetings, [quarterbacks coach Brian] coach Griese or [assistant quarterbacks coach Klay] Kubiak and Kyle saying, you've got to do this, you've got to do this, got to do this. So, there's always something that's like, man, I could be better, you know? And so, when I step out in the field, man, it's like still trying to prove to myself that I haven't reached my full potential yet. And so, that's like that chip that I always have on my shoulder and no matter what everyone else is saying, man, like I know that there's another level that I can get to and so that's where I'm trying to get. And you know, taking it one day at a time, but never being comfortable with where I'm at."

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks told his defense last week on, I believe Saturday, you guys don't know how good you can be, and they went out and had that performance. Do you feel that similar way with your offense? Like, we don't know how good we can be yet, despite already scoring 30 points every single game?

"I feel like we, yeah, we still have left stuff out there, where we can be our best and still reach our full potential. I don't know if we'll ever be able to reach that just because that's like a perfect game and I don't know if you can play an exactly perfect game in the NFL, but that's like the standard man, and that allows us to play really good. So that's what we're always telling ourselves and, if we're being real, yes, there is so many more mistakes and things that we can clean up and be better at. So, for us that's like a thing that we're excited about like we have every single week to go out and prove to be our best versions of ourselves."

Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks

Opening comments:

"Another good day of practice in our approach and quest right here to take on a good football team with the Cleveland Browns. A lot of speculation, who's going to play, who's not going to play a quarterback? To be quite honest, they're very capable of still having a very functional offense. And that's the one thing I've been telling the guys about. This run game is phenomenal and I know [RB Nick] Chubb is out, but [Cleveland Browns RB Jerome] Ford and as well as [Cleveland Browns RB] Kareem [Hunt] can really tote the ball. I think they do an excellent job upfront at the offensive line, creating holes and coming off the ball. So at the receiving corps, you look at [Cleveland Browns WR Amari] Cooper, who I've had a lot of respect and admire over the years. He's still playing a high level. You know [Cleveland Browns WR] Elijah Moore, they move him around all over the place in the backfield, in the slot. And then of course [Cleveland Browns WR Marquise] Goodwin can take the top off at any time. So good football team that we're going to face. And with that, I'll take your questions."

If Cleveland Browns QB P.J. Walker is the guy going this week? What does he offer as a quarterback?

"I think he's very capable of running that offense. He makes good decisions. He's good with the ball. He can win with his legs, a lot of what [QB] Deshaun [Watson] can do. So when people say are they going to dummy down the offense? I don't think so. I think he's more than capable of running that offense."

You've been around LB Fred Warner for a little while now, but what have you noticed about his preparation, the work that he puts in a week and then how it manifests in games?

"Just one word, consistency. The guy's consistent. He's the same every day. The same way he plays is the same way he practices. He creates a kind of atmosphere at practice that gets really everybody on edge, particularly myself because I'm waiting for [Head Coach] Kyle [Shanahan] to start fussing at us because he just goes at a high level."

What are your very early impressions of LB/DL Randy Gregory thus far?

"A short period of time just conversing with him, good person. I think he's going to fit right in with the culture that we have here. He understands the tempo and how we practice. I love the way he moves around and just his willingness to get in here at all times of the day, just trying to absorb and learn this defense, says a lot about him."

What's your assessment of their pass rush so far? Sacks are a little bit down, but they're keeping the quarterback in the pocket, creating a lot of pressure.

"It is hard to put a grade on it and everybody looks for numbers and you want to say [DL Nick] Bosa is not doing this, or [DL Javon] Hargrave's not doing this, but as you just mentioned, they're getting rid of the ball quickly. We do have a lot of disruption on the quarterback, meaning we're hitting the quarterback and based off each game plan it determines exactly what we do coverage-wise. So I think there's times that you can see this past week that we tighten things up a little bit and we're able to get there and we force some ill-advised throws that came out in our favor."

Beyond Warner's skills, what does he mean in this defense as a leader? A lot of players have talked about him as the leader of the defense, and now that you've seen him for a while, how does he express that? How does he lead?

"I don't want to speak out of turn, but I would probably say he's probably the leader of the team. He just has that voice. But definitely on the defensive side, he talks to the guys all the time. I give him the floor at certain times, whether it's the night before the game or certain times during practice when we bring it up. He talks to the guys. So he's a voice of reason. He leads by example and I just love everything about him."

Have you seen a guy come in with as much energy as he does every single day and then even it seems like more so on game day?

"Oh, yes. I started out with the word consistency. That's exactly who he is. You're going to get the same. It's never a bad day, high energy. And again, his teammates feed off of him, which I love."

LB Dre Greenlaw is violent every game. Do you look at him as kind of a tone setter for how you want your guys to play?

"I would say yes. But all our guys understand the mindset that we play with, we call it our DNA, physicality, effort. Definitely Greenlaw, he shows that each and every play. You look earlier in the game last week it was in the first drive, that tackle he had on the sideline with [Dallas Cowboys RB Tony] Pollard. I think it set the tone how we played the rest of the game."

What have you come to learn or appreciate about S Tashaun Gipson Sr. since you've been here?

"Gipson right here is a tremendous leader for us. I can't say enough about him. I think [S Talanoa Hufanga] Huf feeds off him, all the guys on the back end, tremendous leader. I was joking with him about that interception that he got in the game. He had a full tank of gas going to get the ball, but as soon as he caught the ball, he was on E. So but no, he's phenomenal for us, man. Great leader for us back there. I'm glad we got him late last year. But he's definitely had a full year offseason and training camp, and he's performing well."

Bosa was saying yesterday that he thought Randy Gregory would benefit from being in a three point stance in this defense. Does that help a taller edge rusher, six foot five guy, just in terms of keeping his pads down, that sort of thing?

"I don't want to say that it helps him, but I think this is the game of pad level, you know? It's always in regards to low man wins, kind of thing. So the lower you can be, the lower your pads are, the greater you're going to be on that particular play, in other words."

The mic'd up thing that the 49ers put out and on one of the times on the sideline, a couple defensive players were like after the interceptions 'Wilks called this'. Do you actually like go the night before and tell them I think we're going to get a pick here, or you point to a player, I think this you're going to have a big game. Do you do stuff like that?

"Well, the coaches to me, I use this military term that teach, train and task. I always try to bring things from the classroom, to the practice field, to the game field. And I was talking about how [Linebackers Coach] Johnny Holland, he does this drill, so I pulled that actual drill from individual period with OB [LB Oren] Burks and him making that play on the quick game. And then I showed the exact same clip from practice, and I told him, if it happens tomorrow in the game, I said, 'You're going to get this interception.' And it was exactly the same play. So the coaches do a tremendous job in really always showing the guys what they're going to see in the game. That's what I always tell them. There's nothing that we can ask these guys to do if we're not trying to put them in those positions in practice. So kudos to all the coaches."

Do you tell the whole team this, the whole unit?

"This was Saturday night. Yes, the whole unit."

The Browns are running a wide-nine. What do you like about that particular alignment?

"You really have to understand and know about it, which I didn't know before I came here. I've seen it, went against it, but there's different things about it, which I'm not going to allude and go into. But [Defensive Line Coach Kris] Kocurek does a tremendous job in coaching those guys, and it's pretty effective in taking a lot of things away in the run game."

You mentioned a couple times that coaching up in the booth would keep you calm a little bit more. How has that been through five games? Has it kept you maybe a little bit calmer?

"It's been pretty good. I stay ahead of the down and just being able to look at my call sheet and get ready for third down calls and things like that. But it can still get emotional up there on the headsets."

CB Deommodore Lenoir was talking about how he likes that you have shown confidence in these guys and let them play a little man-to-man. How has he developed since the beginning of camp?

"I think the confidence with me comes from the confidence in them being able to go out there and perform. They start that in practice. With Demo, I've told you about him since I got here. I've seen that progression, that growth with OTAs, mini camp, training camp, being consistent in what he's trying to do. And to be quite honest, I saw that last year when I started watching the cutups and all the games. You can see not so much a confidence early on in the year, but by the time he got to the latter of part of the year in the playoffs, he was playing with a lot of confidence and he just built on that since last year. So, happy where he is."

Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Chris Foerster

How do you think you guys did against Dallas Cowboys LB Micah Parsons on Sunday?

"You know, obviously the stat line was good and the guys performed well. I mean, I think everything kind of went well for us. Things kind of went our way and we were able to get the ball out on time. Went to some players that were open, so we didn't hold it. So that had a lot to do with it. But I think overall we performed – we did a nice job against them but overall, the whole game kind of went our way. So, I never want to say because with those guys, you just only hope to contain them. That was one game. Obviously, if you see him again this year, he could have a breakout game if we're not careful. So, I'm always careful about what I say, but it was, it was a good game."

Can you talk about the challenge of Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett. He's just wrecking shop every week right now. How's he look on film to you?

"He looks like all the great rushers we face. I mean, when you face [Los Angeles Rams DL] Aaron Donald, you face [Pittsburgh Steelers LB] T.J. Watt, you face [Dallas Cowboys LB] Micah Parsons, I don't want to miss anybody here. Everybody you face, you find somebody on the team that has an elite rusher and Myles Garrett has always been one of the most talented pass rushers in the NFL since the minute he walked in the league. And he continues to do that. The style of defense that they play, how [Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Jim] Schwartz coaches, how they coach the D-line, it's a little bit different than what he's done in the past, I think. And it's been to his benefit and he looks better than ever."

Do they move him around as much as the Cowboys move Parsons around?

"Yeah, I don't remember the percentages on Parsons. This guy plays on the left more, but they do move him around. He'll stand up inside and move around, he'll line up over the guards, he'll line up on the right some. He's been more left than right, but what they do with him is you never know from week to week how that may change."

Do they use the wide-nine defense?

"Yes, they do."

What's difficult about facing that?

"Well, I just think more than anything else, it's one of the reasons why we gravitated towards the wide-nine and the jet defense. It's just penetration, sometimes is difficult to deal with for an offense, especially when in certain run schemes you're trying to get to the line of scrimmage and they're in the backfield and it's just disruptive and the wide-nine kind sets edges, it makes it harder to get outside. You have to find ways to do it. We talk about the wide-nine defensive end, it's a bigger guy out there, but 3-4 defenses, hose outside linebackers are wide-nines setting the edges as well. You go back, I remember when I was in Indianapolis and I was coaching [former NFL tight ends] Dallas Clark and Marcus Pollard at tight end and they had [former NFL linebackers Mike] Vrabel and [Willie] McGinest, they didn't call them wide-nines, but they were wide-nines and they were setting the edge and you weren't running outside of them. That's kind of what this wide-nine does as well. It kind of sets the edge of the defense. They don't feel like you can run outside of it and then the rest of the players play off of that."

Fans sometimes will look at a team that's playing well like you guys obviously are and wonder, 'Man, is this team peaking too soon?' Does that exist? Is that something that's even discussed ever by coaches or anything about it?

"No, I don't. I don't think of it like that. I mean, because what [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] does such a great job of, in my opinion, is it's always about football. It's always about the X's and the O's and the execution of the fundamentals and the techniques and getting better. So, this big picture thing, this thing of peaking, not peaking, it's really we're just out there playing every week. Everybody has things they can improve on. Everybody has things they can work on. We study the tape from the week before, we study our opponent tape. And there's always challenges that each team presents, some greater than others. And some individuals have greater challenges than others. And so that's kind of what keeps you on an even keel. That's what Kyle keeps it about. And it's, I wouldn't say a business-like approach, but it really is, we just have to take care of our business, working on getting better and then working on what we need to do against this team to beat this team. And if that means we do great for six straight weeks of doing that, that's great. Seven straight. I don't think anybody's looking back, obviously there's been a lot of good ball going on over the last year or so, but heck, it can come to a screeching halt at any time if you don't take care of business and do the things you're supposed to do. That's one of the great things I think too, I give [general manager] John [Lynch] and Kyle credit for this is just that the type of guys we bring in, they like football and they like getting better at football. They're here for the right reasons. And yes, they're going to get paid and yes, they want to be the best at what they do, and yes, they want to have all the endorsements and everything else that goes on, but man, these guys love ball and that's what it is. When you have a guy like [LB] Fred Warner who literally is never satisfied and never feels he's good enough and he's one of your team leaders playing at a high level, it's really hard for anybody else to feel like they can be content. And so that thing of peaking too early, possibly being complacent would be the thing that would happen. You'd be like, 'Wow, we got this.' And there's no such thing. You just keep working and whether you play the same, a little worse, a little better, you just keep working."

How much has RB Jordan Mason improved since last year?

"Man, greatly. He really has. Have you noticed it? Do you see it? He's always been physical and a hard running guy, but it's just as always with this offense, we've talked about it with [RB] Christian [McCaffrey]. We've talked about how learning how to press the hole and do all the things that we ask a running back to do in the running game. He just keeps getting better and better and better at it. And gosh, he's a serious minded, hardworking guy. It's very important to him to do it right. And he just continues to improve."

What have you seen from OL Aaron Banks as far as just physically his ability to get out there and be himself?

"Yeah, we said it last year when he had to get out there and start playing and when he played the games, it got better and better as the year went on, and he's kind of picked up where he left off and that's the great thing. All those inside three guys, they kind of picked up where they left off and they're slowly getting better as we move forward."

Have you seen any difference with the shoulder?

"No, right now. The injury thing is the injury thing. I'm not going to talk about it, but he practiced, so he's hanging in there."

Defensive line coach Kris Kocurek and Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz are from the same coaching tree. Will you sit down with Kris at all this week and go over ways to defeat the wide-nine in the running attack?

"Yeah, I think we've been together so long doing it and we also played Schwartz when he was in Philly. Yeah, we do. There's a couple things you may walk down the hall and ask, but we've either tried it against our defense, tried it against somebody else that runs the style defense. We've tried it in the past. We see other teams try it because everybody's trying to take advantage of the guys jetting up the field, the wide-nine, all the different things that the wide nine entails. And so, we haven't sat down and had a big meeting about it because we really have had that already."

Christian McCaffrey's leading the league in touches. When you see that, do you think, it's a long season, let's back off or this is a Hall of Fame caliber running back, let's press the issue?

"Yeah, I've been a big believer in you have a two running back system. I've always talked about, you have the great run team, you've seen, [former NFL running back] LaDainian Tomlinson had somebody, there was always another guy that was pretty good with him. We've got other good players and you want to give them those reps so you don't tear your guy down. Now, I say that to Christian, he's like, I'm fine. And he feels he can carry the load and do all that. He does carry the load in third down. That's very important. So, you do have to be careful that Mason or [running back] Elijah [Mitchell] or one of those guys gets in there and does spell him some. I mean, is it concerning? We've had a lot of plays too. I don't know how much of that is, it's just kind of happened where Christian's out there a lot. I don't know. I think you just always have to be careful with anybody that's in harm's way. With running backs, can be receivers, tight ends. You just have to be careful at times to see if you're overdoing it. But if you told Christian that, he'd say, 'No, I want every touch, every carry, every pass. I want to be out there every snap of the game.' Oh, it's really tough. Yeah, he doesn't want to come off. I mean, he didn't want to come off after that big hit on Sunday. I think part of that was he wanted everybody to know he was okay because I think the officials were like, 'Dude might have a concussion or something like that,' but he's like, 'No, I'm fine.' And then we were going like, 'Well, let's get him out for a play.' And he says, 'No, I'm not coming out of the game.' And because they just did that to me, I'm going to make sure I have a chance to get back at them right now. That was kind of his mentality, I think. So that's Christian, man."

How many players on the team can do that? Say I'm not coming out.

"Not many. . I coach one that's probably not coming out, he usually does, but there's a couple, but not many. And you trust him. You're like, 'Hey dude, do you need it? Do you need a rep?' And he's like, 'no, no, I'm good.' And other times you're like, 'Hey, no, get over here' and then you have to get him out."

QB Kurt Benkert, ex-Niners quarterback was saying this week that one thing he loves about Kyle is that he's so collaborative on the plan, that he'll take an idea from anybody and incorporate it into the plan. How does the plan come together and do you have any examples of Kyle using suggestions either from yourself or other coaches or other players to formulate the plan?

"Yeah, I don't know if I have a specific example, but what you said is a hundred percent right. He is. And on game day, it's the same way. I mean, we have a plan, we have openers, and it can be the second series. Like, hey, if somebody has something that they feel is good now, tell me. And then he'll filter through it and decide whether he wants to call it or not. During the week, it's the same way. If you have ideas, Kyle's thing is, is the idea well thought out? Just don't throw stuff against the wall and see if it sticks. But if you've thought your idea through and it's a well thought out idea, if it fits what we do and you understand what we're trying to get done and accomplished, he'll take an idea from anybody if it's well thought out – quality control, offense, defense, whoever. It's happened and it's happened before, just somebody says something in a meeting and you're like, that's a good idea, we need to incorporate that in some way, shape, or form. So Kyle is all about, it's like I said, it's about football, but it has to be well thought out and he'll push and poke and prod sometimes to the point of you like, dude, come on. But he's just making sure that it's fully vetted before he says, okay, this guy has thought through this idea before we put it in and do it because any idea that he puts on that plan has been well thought through. And the process with the other coaches that he goes through to study the tape and put the plan together, that's very well vetted."

When you guys were playing against LB/DL Randy Gregory, say in the playoffs a couple years ago, what do you remember about preparing for him and how tough he was to block?

"Yeah, Randy was he had an unbelievable year that year. I mean, he was as good a rusher as we'd faced all season. He was powerful, he was long, he was quick, he was agile, he played with great effort and energy. And I don't know what happened the next couple years, but '21 when we played him in that playoff game, you want nothing to do with that guy. [T] Trent [Williams] was like, this guy's at another level right now. It's the best he's ever played. So that was what I remember of him. After that, I don't remember. We played him in the preseason, they were playing him in the fourth quarter. I don't know what was going on out there, so I can't put too much stock in that, but it's been up and down. But that '21 season was, oh my gosh, lights out."

Do you remember when you put in Pass 18 Gumby? Was that last year that play came into the playbook?

"Gumby has been around for a while. Gumby is a form of another play that's like Gumby. New England ran the play and they made it, they did a really good job with it. And so something like it. And so we always thought about doing, we did it, we did it one time against somebody in a play. We did it against Seattle in a playoff game in Washington. And then, I don't know what it was, it's kind of come and gone. So, it's not a play that we use sparingly, I would say we use it sparingly."

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By Marc Adams
Feb 15

Who might the San Francisco 49ers hire to be their next defensive coordinator? On Wednesday, Head Coach Kyle Shanahan dismissed Steve Wilks after only one season of leading the team's defense. Since 2019, the 49ers defense has been one of the best, if not the best, in the NFL. And while the defense was dominant at times this season, they took a step back in 2023. There were games like the September 17th game against the Los Angeles Rams, in which the 49ers gave up 23 points to a Rams team missing WR Cooper Kupp. Then there was the October game in Minnesota, in which the Vikings were without star WR Justin Jefferson, yet the 49ers' defense still gave up 22 points when they weren't able to figure out how to guard rookie WR Jordan Addison. You may recall that Wilks called a zero

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Breer: Steve Wilks was already on 'shaky ground' with 49ers heading into Super Bowl

By David Bonilla
Feb 19

While fans were clamoring for his dismissal following some disappointing playoff performances, it seemed unlikely that head coach Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers would part ways with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks after just one season. In fact, on Tuesday, February 13, Shanahan insisted he expected all his coaches to return. A day later, the 49ers head coach jumped on a conference call with reporters and announced that he had decided to fire Wilks. "A really tough decision because it really says nothing about Steve as a man or as a football coach," Shanahan told reporters. "He's exactly what we wanted as a man. He is a great football coach. But just where we're

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Kyle Shanahan expects Steve Wilks, other coaches to be back with 49ers next season

By Kirk Larrabee
Feb 13

Whether or not the weeks ahead bring any further fluctuation to the San Francisco 49ers' coaching staff remains to be seen, but as of Tuesday, head coach Kyle Shanahan carried the belief that his remaining coaches would be back with the team next season. That includes defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who had some ups-and-downs in his first season with the team and went through interviews in January for the then-vacant head coaching positions of the Los Angeles Chargers and Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers saw passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak depart in recent days to become the offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints, but it doesn't seem like any other departures are imminent. Shanahan was asked during his season-ending press conference Tuesday with


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