Steve Wilks

Why Lynch believes Wilks coaching from 49ers' sideline is good move

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Steve Wilks will coach from the 49ers' sideline against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, and general manager John Lynch has weighed in on his defensive coordinator's upcoming move.

"I think it’s a positive thing,” Lynch said Friday during his weekly appearance on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac” show. “It’s what our players have been accustomed to. I think when you bring in a coach that has done it for a long time, you rely on him. ‘Where are you the most comfortable?’

“He’s comfortable in both spots, but ultimately he felt like he could see it better from upstairs.”

The 49ers' past two defensive coordinators, New York Jets coach Robert Saleh and Houston Texans coach DeMeco Ryans, both were on the sideline during games. Through nine games this season, Wilks has coached from the coaches' booth, away from the bench area and his players. 

Lynch shared Wilks heading to the field was not a “reactionary move” resulting from the San Francisco's three consecutive losses. He explained the move will streamline communication between the DC, his position coaches and players -- most importantly linebacker Fred Warner, who is the “quarterback” of the defense.

“I think there is a step where Steve was calling it to [linebackers coach] Johnny Holland, and Johnny to Fred,” Lynch said. “They were maybe a little later, and it takes the middle man out of that. It’s just one more step that you eliminate.”

Wilks shared on Thursday that through the first half of the season, communication with players would take place on the internal phone between the bench area and the coaches' booth or via position coaches' headsets.

While there has not been any technical difficulties in the lines of communication, Lynch believes being face to face is something the players will benefit from. The Hall of Fame safety recalled his days as a player with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Monte Kiffin was the coordinator of their Super Bowl XXXVII-winning defense.

“My favorite defensive coordinator of all time was Monte Kiffin,” Lynch said. “Monte was on that field, and I loved that communication. Great coaches do this, ‘What are you seeing, John?’ You can do that on a phone, but like anything, better to do that in person.”

The 49ers will test out more direct communication when they kick off their Week 10 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars at 10 a.m. PT on Sunday at EverBank Stadium.

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