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Report: 49ers plan to promote Sorensen to DC, hire Staley as assistant head coach

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The 49ers are planning to promote Nick Sorensen to fill their open defensive coordinator position and hire former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley as their new assistant head coach, ESPN's Adam Schefter and Jeremy Fowler reported Saturday morning, citing sources.

Sorensen, who was the 49ers' defensive passing game specialist this past season and a defensive assistant in 2022, takes over for Steve Wilks, who was fired after San Francisco's Super Bowl LVIII loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in February.

Staley replaces Anthony Lynn as Kyle Shanahan's assistant head coach.

Lynn served in the role for the last two seasons but left to become the Washington Commanders' run-game coordinator under new head coach Dan Quinn.

Sorensen and Staley were among the five confirmed candidates the 49ers interviewed for their defensive coordinator position, including Las Vegas Raiders safeties coach Gerald Alexander, Kansas City Chiefs defensive backs coach Dave Merritt and San Francisco defensive backs coach Daniel Bullocks.

Shanahan first told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco on Feb. 26 that he had completed official interviews with Sorensen and Staley for the defensive coordinator job.

Shanahan admitted to reporters three days after the 49ers' painful Super Bowl loss that a change was necessary after just one season with Wilks in charge of the defense.

“I felt pretty strongly that this was the decision that was best for our organization,” Shanahan said. “And even though it was one I didn’t want to make, it was something that once I realized that I think a different direction is what’s best for organization, then it’s something that I have to do.”

While speaking at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this week, 49ers general manager John Lynch outlined what he and Shanahan were looking for in a defensive coordinator.

“We like who we are, what we do as a defense,” Lynch said. “I don’t think we want to have some wholesale departure from that. We like the style that we play, a four-down front that attacks.

“Having said that, I think you always have to evolve and you look at an opportunity like this to look into the different ways that we can evolve. Oftentimes, a lot of these ideas come up in these interviews.”

Now the 49ers will begin a new chapter with Sorensen in charge of the defense and Staley closely working with Shanahan.

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