How new 49ers DC Sorensen benefiting from Staley's presence

How new 49ers DC Sorensen benefiting from Staley's presence originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SANTA CLARA — Coach Kyle Shanahan admitted that he had a good idea he was going to hire Nick Sorensen as 49ers defensive coordinator at the time he fired Steve Wilks.

While he also interviewed Brandon Staley for the role, Shanahan determined Staley’s best fit with the 49ers might be as a top assistant under Sorensen.

Shanahan ended up hiring Staley with the title of assistant head coach.

“It’s been awesome for me,” Sorensen said of Staley in his first media appearance in his new role. “He has experience as a coordinator. He has experience as a head coach, so he sees things holistically and knows how to build plans.

“And then just getting him in here and spending extra hours and talking football with him. He’s very bright. He’s a humble guy who’s smart and knows football, and that’s been awesome and helpful for me.”

Staley was linebackers coach of the Chicago Bears under Vic Fangio before spending one season with the Los Angeles Rams as defensive coordinator. Staley was hired in 2022 as the Chargers’ head coach, where he spent three seasons before getting fired with a 24-24 record.

Sorensen said Staley has been involved in “pretty much everything” since coming to the 49ers in his role as a defensive assistant.

Staley has kept up with trends around the league. He and Sorensen have discussed all aspects of the defense, including whether some of the ideas Staley implemented with other teams would have a place in the 49ers’ system with the personnel on the roster.

Sorensen was the first to interview with Shanahan after Wilks was fired three days after the 49ers’ overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII. Shanahan alerted him that he would conduct interviews with several other candidates.

Shanahan ultimately believed Staley’s best fit on the staff was in a supporting role to Sorensen, who is more familiar with the 49ers’ style of defense. The system is based on the Seattle defense under Pete Carroll. Sorensen served eight seasons as a Seahawks assistant coach.

“I’d always heard really good things about Staley,” Sorensen said. “He’s really bright and knows his stuff. Obviously, he is because he ascended so quickly.

“It’s been really good. He’s a worker. He’s smart. He’s been great through this whole process this offseason. I’ve learned a lot in a short amount of time. He’s really meshed with our guys, our players and coaches.”

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