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Steve Wilks: “It’s not my way, it’s the 49ers’ way”

Looks like there’s adjustments defensive coordinators have to make when they come to this building.

Syndication: Phoenix Michael Chow/The Republic

Day 2 of 49ers training camp is a wrap, which means we get a bit more coach insight from Kyle Shanahan’s staff. Today defensive coordinator Steve Wilks took the podium to discuss what he’s seen from an already stout defense.

But what might give some more insight isn’t what was said about the defense, but the adjustments Wilks had to make. IN the offseason, the 49ers were rumored to be in the mix for Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator. That never seemed to happen as Fangio went to the Miami Dolphins.

When asked about his adjustment himself, Wilks had this to say:

I think that’s the key thing; having an open mind to learn. Been around quite a bit, done a lot of different things, but it’s not my way, it’s the 49ers way.

I’d have to think that philosophy and control was something that may have been a sticking point should the 49ers get Fangio. For one, hiring Fangio could have signaled a return to the 3-4 defense of the Jim Harbaugh years. The 49ers went to a 4-3 when Kyle Shanahan arrived with then-defensive coordinator Robert Saleh in tow. That alone isn’t a disqualifier as most NFL defenses are in and out of both 3-4 and 4-3 defenses due to sub packages, but it definitely could be something disorienting. Especially if the 49ers changed drafting plans to start accommodating Fangio.

Given the success the 49ers defense has had in the past, Kyle Shanahan may have wanted to not change much of anything and keep more familiarity. While Wilks has his own style and preferences, it was largely accepted that it’d be business as usual for the 49ers defense. Maybe Fangio would have done the same thing and had no problem sticking to the script, but it might have been the 49ers way was not aligned with Fangio’s way.

In any case, it should say something when someone walks through the doors, be it Steve Wilks, Vic Fangio, or anyone else, and they are willing to learn and adjust to a team philosophy than say “do as I say.” Something we’ve also seen shoved into many a football team.