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

Feb 13, 2024 at 2:06 PM--

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 general manager John Lynch if he expected Wilks to be back next season and answered in the affirmative, adding that he thinks his other coaches will be back as well.

"I haven't talked to anybody yet, so, yeah, I expect all our coaches to be back," Shanahan replied.

At the moment, however, the 49ers have yet to begin going through the process of making such decisions regarding next year's team. Shanahan told reporters Tuesday he hasn't even watched Super Bowl LVIII yet and isn't sure when he's going to.

"That's stuff that we'll talk about a ton as this week goes, we'll talk about a ton in the offseason," Shanahan said. "I mean, where we want our team to be, our defense, our offense, special teams. And that's a lot of conversations, a lot of film, a lot of personnel and salary cap things we've got to discuss, drafts. (We) haven't even watched the game (Super Bowl LVIII) yet."

Wilks, 54, joined the 49ers in February of 2023 after previous defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans departed to become the head coach of the Houston Texans. The 49ers finished eighth in the NFL in total defense (303.9 yards per game) under Wilks and third in points per game (17.5). They allowed 409 yards per game and 25.7 points per game in their three postseason contests.

The 49ers had some standout moments under Wilks during the regular season but also went through a couple rough patches, in particular when Wilks was questioned for his play calling after a loss to the Minnesota Vikings as well as a late-season stretch where the team struggled against the run. But Shanahan was pleased overall with the performance of his defense, saying the team wouldn't have gotten as far as they did without the results the defense displayed.

"I thought they're one of the reasons that we got this far," Shanahan said. "I thought they did a number of good things. They did a lot of good things in that game (Super Bowl LVIII), too. Just like our whole team. Our team did a bunch of good things this year but came up short in the last game."

In addition to Kubiak, the 49ers have lost a number of assistants to other teams in recent years, including Ryans, former offensive coordinator and current Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, and former defensive coordinator and current New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh.

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