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Lynch believes Wilkes “still has what it takes” to lead the 49ers’ defense

Nov 4, 2023 #Steve Wilkes

The 49ers have a lot to think about entering the draw week off a shocking losing streak, but one glaring issue during the three-game losing streak is the defensive unit coached by San Francisco’s first-year coordinator Steve Wilkes. performance is decreasing.

Despite the defense’s recent woes, and despite the increased scrutiny on Wilkes, 49ers general manager John Lynch remains confident in the team’s offseason recruiting.

“I keep saying it all the time, and we believe it. There’s a reason why we chose Steve Wilkes,” Lynch told The Athletic’s Tim on the podcast “The TK Show.” -Told Kawakami.

“I think he has what it takes. Of course we all have to show it. I know the players believe in Steve and a lot of the players’ comments You can tell that from their feelings and emotions, and it’s up to the players.”
“It’s their job to play better so that everyone feels a little better.”


Lynch told Kawakami that the 49ers’ defense has refocused on finding its identity throughout the week.

After San Francisco lost its third straight game to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8, the 49ers’ defenders put the onus on them to improve and refused to blame Wilkes.

Wilks is the first outside hire for defensive coordinator under coach Kyle Shanahan and Lynch, and the GM admitted their previous DC, DeMeco Ryans, was hard to replace after coming up through the 49ers’ system and achieving sustained success just like Robert Saleh before him.

But even Ryans and Saleh went through their struggles with the 49ers, and San Francisco hired Wilks, formerly of the Carolina Panthers, because of his longevity in the NFL.

“He was very knowledgeable on the entirety of defense because he’s been a coordinator for a long time, and he’s been around the league for a long time” Lynch told Kawakami of the 17-year NFL coaching veteran.

“Although [the secondary] is his expertise and we were excited about him putting his imprint on that, now it’s just truly tying it all together.

“And you know, I really do believe that will come.”

With a Week 10 matchup in Jacksonville against the Jaguars looming, the 49ers, at 5-3, need to get back on track.

Wilkes’ film adaptation will play a key role in this, and it’s clear that Lynch believes his DC will be successful.

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