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’ perspective during games.
When the team returns to action in Week 10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Wilkes will be on the bench with the players.
“We’ll put him on the field this week,” Shanahan said Wednesday. “It’s something we’ve talked about a little bit. I think there are pros and cons to it.”
Wilkes was hired from outside the organization to replace DeMeco Ryans as defensive coordinator.
Ryans was named head coach of the Houston Texans, and Wilks was passed over for the Carolina Panthers job after serving in an interim role for the second half of last season.
Wilkes came to the 49ers and was tasked with learning the defensive scheme that was already in place. The transition was not smooth, as the 49ers lost three straight games.
In the offseason, Wilkes said he prefers to sit in the coaches’ box and call the team’s defense from that position.
“It takes the emotion out of the game for me, where I can always try to stay ahead of the game,” Wilkes said.
Former 49ers defensive coordinators Robert Saleh and DeMico Ryans called plays from the sideline.
“I kind of wanted him to be low key and be around the guys a little bit,” Shanahan said of Wilkes. “They’ve had that more with linebacker communications in the past. And I wanted him to be there so he could talk to the players a little bit more.”
Wilkes will give up vision from the top of the field, where he can get a better idea of route concepts and pass coverage in the defensive backfield.
But Wilkes will now have the advantage of being able to connect quickly with defensively knowledgeable veteran players like Arik Armstead, Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Tashaun Gibson and others.
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