The San Francisco 49ers Make a Major Change on Defense
The San Francisco 49ers have emerged from their bye week with a significant alteration to their coaching staff. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has announced that defensive coordinator Steve Wilks will be moving from the booth to the sidelines, starting in Week 10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Wilks, who is in his first year as coordinator with the 49ers, has faced numerous challenges throughout the first eight weeks of the season. These struggles have become more evident in the team’s losses, leading to Wilks being blamed for the defensive issues.
While there have been questions about Wilks’ performance from a schematic standpoint, the problems extend to execution at all three levels of the field. This has left the defense lacking in several areas during their losses.
However, the question remains: Will moving Wilks to the sidelines solve the 49ers’ defensive issues?
Moving Wilks to the sidelines brings back a familiar dynamic that the 49ers had with their previous defensive coordinators, DeMeco Ryans and Robert Saleh. This change allows for direct face-to-face communication with the players, fostering a more communicative environment.
Shanahan has emphasized the need for better communication with the linebackers as the primary reason for moving Wilks to the sidelines. “I want him to be down there so he can talk to guys a little bit more,” Shanahan explained.
Furthermore, this move enables Wilks to have more consistent communication with Shanahan himself. It allows the head coach to have a greater influence on the defense as they strive to improve their performance.
While many may believe that the move to the sidelines will provide the necessary energy boost for the 49ers, there are doubts about whether Wilks possesses the same level of personality as his predecessors, Saleh and Ryans.
Wilks can certainly be a leader, but his leadership style appears to be more traditional. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic changes with the move to the sidelines.
However, the main drawback of placing Wilks on the sidelines is taking him away from his preferred position as a playcalling coordinator. In the offseason, Wilks expressed his preference for coaching from the booth, which is why the 49ers initially went in that direction.
Adding to the confusion, Shanahan himself admitted that he believes coaching from the box is the best approach. He humorously stated, “I love being in the box. I think that’s the best spot. If it ever gets cold enough, I might be up there. I like a chair and a desk and a lot of stuff to write down and things like that.”
It is important to note that Wilks’ location was not the primary issue with the defense. The problems lie in the schematic issues and execution, which cannot be solved simply by moving him to the sidelines.
While there is belief that the defense can turn things around, it is doubtful that the change in Wilks’ location will be the primary solution.