NFL Insider Reports 49ers ‘Flirted’ With Hiring DC Steve Spagnuolo After Super Bowl 58 Loss

The Athletic's NFL insider Dianna Russini revealed that the San Francisco 49ers considered bringing in Steve Spagnuolo as their defensive coordinator.

Amid NFL Combine week, The Athletic’s NFL insider Dianna Russini revealed that the San Francisco 49ers had an interest in Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo for their defensive coordinator role.

San Francisco Considered Bringing in Steve Spagnuolo as DC

Russini recently said on The Athletic Football Show podcast that the 49ers were flirting with the defensive coordinator responsible for them not winning their sixth Lombardi trophy.

“And even on the coaching side, which there is no cap, right? Steve Spagnuolo signs a couple of days after. San Francisco was flirting with him and bringing him in as DC,” she said.

The Chiefs signed Spagnuolo to an extension just days after the Super Bowl. Perhaps, the quick turnaround was inspired by the 49ers’ pursuit.

The 49ers have yet to fill their defensive coordinator role but have reportedly interviewed former Chargers head coach Brandon Staley, 49ers defensive passing game/nickels coach Nick Sorensen, 49ers defensive backs coach Daniel Bullocks, and most recently reported, Chiefs defensive backs coach Dave Merritt.

Merritt recently participated in a radio interview on The Sports Show and attributed at least part of the blame for San Francisco’s crushing defeat to head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

“Their offense went 3-for-12 on third down,” Merritt said, per Niners Wire. “Our offense went 9-for-19, but if your offense is going 3-for-12 on third down, is that [former DC Steve] Wilks’ fault? If your tight end, who’s All-Pro, [George] Kittle, only has one catch for four yards, is that Wilks’ fault? Therefore, you can feed [Christian] McCaffrey all you want to, but he needs help.

“And then No. 11, who was trying to fight all game, Ako [Brandon Aiyuk], whatever, I don’t know. He only had 40-something yards. Was that Wilks’ fault? So, I just say that there was something going on before.”

Merritt’s observation that Wilks’ dismissal likely wasn’t solely due to the defense’s Super Bowl performance is accurate. While the unit held quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City’s potent offense to only three points well into the third quarter, it was an up-and-down 2023 campaign for Wilks’ defense.

The decision to fire Wilks came after Shanahan reflected on the defense’s performance throughout the season.

“A really tough decision because it really says nothing about Steve [Wilks] as a man or as a football coach,” Shanahan said of Wilks’ dismissal. “He’s exactly what we wanted as a man. He is a great football coach.

“But just where we’re going and where we’re at with our team from a scheme standpoint and things like that, looking through it all throughout the year, through these last few days, I felt pretty strongly that this was a decision that was best for our organization.”

KEEP READING: Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo Makes Surprising Admission After Signing Extension — ‘I Want To Be Head Coach Again’

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