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Kyle Shanahan explains why 49ers promoted Nick Sorensen to defensive coordinator

Mar 26, 2024 at 8:31 AM


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After Steve Wilks's dismissal, the San Francisco 49ers had several options for their vacant defensive coordinator position. Although former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley was considered for the role, he ultimately joined the coaching staff as the assistant head coach under head coach Kyle Shanahan. He will focus on game plan preparations while offering his experience to the team.

Nick Sorensen, the team's defensive pass game specialist, was awarded the defensive coordinator position. Shanahan opted for an internal candidate, valuing Sorensen's familiarity with the staff and the defensive system.

When asked what qualities Sorensen demonstrated to prove he's ready to call plays for the defense, Shanahan explained, "He's worked with a lot of people before us that I knew, him being in Seattle, being in Jacksonville, his playing career, just crossed paths a number of ways. Having him in our building these last couple of years, really getting to work with [former 49ers defensive coordinator] DeMeco [Ryans] a lot in his first year, and working a ton with Steve last year really prepared him for this."

"He's been around the scheme, he's gone through it in these two seasons and just love where he's at from a football mind," Shanahan continued. "Our players love him. He's been talking to our team every Thursday, doing the ball meeting, so our players are used to him. And it's a great opportunity for him and we're happy to put him in this position."

Shanahan reiterated that Sorensen's tenure with the team since 2022 played a significant role in the decision to promote him to defensive coordinator.

"When you're with someone, it's not like, really, an interview that changes it," Shanahan stated. "It's being with someone in the building every day. I thought he was close last year to being ready, and I think he's even more ready now."

As for Staley, Shanahan expressed gratitude that the 49ers were able to find a role for him within the organization.

"I was just pumped to be able to have the chance to get Brandon," Shanahan admitted. "I know we looked into him for the coordinator role, but I was really wanting to stay in-house and keep it kind of with what we had done, similar in the past, with our scheme. And being able to add Brandon and get him on board, it was huge."

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