Beloved Ex-49ers Assistant Ruled Out of DC Running, New Names Emerge

Vic Fangio

Getty Vic Fangio ad Brandon Staley on January 2, 2022 in Inglewood.

The chatter and thought of Vic Fangio returning to the San Francisco 49ers came to a cease on the morning of Thursday, February 2.

The former defensive coordinator, whose name was linked as a possibility to replace the departed DeMeco Ryans, has decided to accept the Miami Dolphins coaching offer per ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter — an offer that was originally extended to him on Sunday.

“After speaking with multiple teams about their defensive coordinator position, Vic Fangio has decided to join the Dolphins as their defensive coordinator and officially will accept the position on the Miami staff after the Super Bowl,” Schefter tweeted.

Fangio, 64, will now join former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel and take over a defense that was 18th in yards allowed but 27th in passing yards surrendered. Fangio’s name, though, resurfaced as a replacement possibility for Ryans after the coordinator behind the No. 1 ranked defense of the 2022 season accepted a six-year deal to coach the Houston Texans. Multiple outlets including ones that cover the 49ers locally listed Fangio as a trendy possibility, given his past success from 2011 to 2014 under Jim Harbaugh.

Kyle Shanahan Sounds Off on What he’s Seeking in New DC

So is Kyle Shanahan going to continue a trend and hire from within? Which was what he did with Ryans once Robert Saleh left? Or make an external hire? The head coach sounded off on the state of the defense on Wednesday with the Bay Area media and, from Shanahan’s wording, there won’t be a complete system overhaul with Ryans gone.

“I love the scheme that we run, and I feel the foundation we have on the D-line, at linebacker, at corner, at safety, I think our players fit very well in it too, so I’m hoping to find someone who fits with us personality-wise and scheme wise,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan, who will soon enter his seventh NFL season in 2023, dove deeper — which gives the notion he wants someone already familiar with the 49ers defense and personnel.

“I love our defensive staff, I love our defense. I’m trying to get something where we don’t have to turn much over,” Shanahan said. “I would love to keep our same staff, so I’m going to talk to some guys on our staff. I’m going to talk to some guys outside of our staff and hopefully whichever way we decide to go, whether we bring in a new guy or not, that it’s someone who can work with who we have and what we’ve accomplished here.”

Names of Interviewing Candidates Revealed by Insider

NFL insider Josina Anderson of CBS Sports HQ stated online that the 49ers “are committed to having a true process of vetting their next hire at defensive coordinator, even with Vic Fangio’s vast resume, per league source.”

From there, she revealed these three names the 49ers are evaluating:

Chris Harris: Currently the defensive backs coach of the Tennessee Titans after being lured away from the Washington Commanders. Schefter reported on Tuesday, January 31 that the 49ers requested an interview for Harris.

Steve Wilks: The former Arizona Cardinals head coach recently guided the Carolina Panthers on an interim basis, but the head coaching job went to Frank Reich. Wilks is still under contract by the Panthers per NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo, but the 49ers have him on their DC board.

Kris Kocurek: This is the newest name to watch, as Anderson reported the 49ers are considering promoting the defensive line coach. Kocurek has been lauded by the league for his development of defensive linemen and unlocking their pass rushing abilities — a la Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead and having success with lesser known names like Kerry Hyder Jr. and Charles Omenihu.

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