Kyle Shanahan will look inside and outside the building for next defensive coordinator

As the 49ers embark on a belated search for a new defensive coordinator, coach Kyle Shanahan says he's casting a wide net.

In the press conference announcing the firing of Steve Wilks after only one season, Shanahan was asked whether he'll look for candidates inside or outside the building.

“We'll do both," Shanahan said. "We've got some good coaches in here. I'm definitely going to look outside also. So there's a number of things I got to do for the interview process. But this wasn't an easy decision so it's something that I had to really put a lot of time into. Now that I had that conversation with Steve this morning, which now that's taken care of and now I'll start working on the interview process and things like that, trying to find who's best for our group.”

Internal candidates include defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, linebackers coach Johnny Holland, and defensive backs coach Daniel Bullocks.

“I'm going to talk to all these guys," Shanahan said. "I haven't really talked. I just did this with Steve about an hour ago and haven’t got a chance to meet with all these guys. But all of them will have a chance. I'm not going to specify anyone in particular this early. But [Bullocks] has done a great job for us here over the years. He's a coach that I have a lot of respect for.”

Shanahan hasn't ruled out shifting after from the Seattle-based system, but he seems to not want to change defenses.

“I'm committed to trying, with the situation we're in, trying to find what we believe will give the Niners the best chance in 2024," Shanahan said. "And when you have a group of guys who have played at a high level doing certain things a specific way for a while, I do feel that's the best thing to do for them. But if I find something that I should believe in and I could be sold on that could be a better avenue, I would never hesitate to do that. So I'm not close-minded in any way. I'll look into every possibility. But you know when you have some good players who have played at a high level and done it a certain way, I'm not just trying to change that. I lean towards trying to keep them doing similar stuff that they've been very good at that's got us very far. But I have to make sure that I find the right person who's capable of leading our group in that way. That the standard of how we have done it and that the belief that we'll continue to get better at it I believe in with whoever I choose to do this for us."

Regardless of who Shanahan hires, one thing is clear — he's not looking for someone who is "obviously very energetic" on the sideline, like Robert Saleh and DeMeco Ryans were.

“That has nothing to do with my decision," Shanahan said. "Watch Saleh now, he is not that energetic. No, that energetic on the sidelines has absolutely nothing to do with coaching.”

Whatever Shanahan does, the clock is ticking. If the system is changing, personnel decisions will need to be made. Soon. The sooner Shanahan hires a new defensive coordinator, the better.

And here's the basic reality. Shanahan surely didn't decide to fire Wilks without having a pretty good idea as to who the replacement will be.