San Francisco 49ers Fire Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks

The San Francisco 49ers have decided on their scapegoat. During a Wednesday conference call with Bay area reporters, head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed the team was parting ways with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

Wilks joined the 49ers last offseason after a year as the secondary coach/defensive pass game coordinator for the Carolina Panthers. He also served as interim head coach with the Panthers for twelve games following the firing of Matt Rhule, compiling a 6-6 record.

Wilks' sudden firing comes as a bit of a surprise given the success of the 49ers defence this season: they allowed a mere 17.5 points per game this past season, third-fewest in the league. His unit also had a respectable game in Sunday's 25-22 overtime loss in Super Bowl LVIII, allowing only 19 points in regulation and forcing a pair of key turnovers.

Still, Sunday's loss was a bitter pill to swallow, so it shouldn't be too surprising that heads are rolling. Wilks is a big name with significant status around the league, but he has very little shared history with Shanahan or the 49ers front office. If the 49ers want to shake things up following a heartbreaking end to their season, Wilks is as big and as sensible a sacrifice as any coach on their staff. Shanahan remains untouchable, and the 49ers don't currently employ an offensive coordinator.

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