Steve Wilks

Shanahan states Wilks will coach from 49ers' sideline vs. Jaguars

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SANTA CLARA — The 49ers’ defense will have a noticeably different look on Sunday.

During the bye week, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Steve Wilks discussed whether to change Wilks' vantage point during games.

And when the team returns to action in Week 10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Wilks will be on the sideline with the players.

“We’re going to put him on the field this week,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “It’s something we’ve talked about for a little bit. I think there are pluses to it and minuses to it.”

Wilks was hired from outside the organization to replace DeMeco Ryans as defensive coordinator.

Ryans was hired as head coach of the Houston Texans, and Wilks was passed over for the Carolina Panthers' job after serving in the interim role in the second half of last season.

Wilks came to the 49ers and was tasked with learning the defensive scheme that was already in place. The transition has not been smooth, as the 49ers have dropped three consecutive games.

In the offseason, Wilks said he preferred sitting in the coaches’ booth and calling the team’s defense from that location.

“It just takes the emotion out of the game for me, where I can always try to stay ahead of the down,” Wilks said.

The 49ers’ previous two defensive coordinators, Robert Saleh and DeMeco Ryans, called games from the sideline.

“I kind of wanted him to be down and be near the players a little bit,” Shanahan said of Wilks. “They’ve had that more with the linebacker communication in the past. And I wanted him to be down there so he could talk to the guys a little more.”

Wilks will be giving up the view from high above the field, where he can have a better idea of the route concepts and the pass coverages on the defensive backfield.

But Wilks will now have the advantage of being able to communicate quickly with such knowledgeable defensive veteran players as Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Tashaun Gipson and others.

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