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49ers Hire Nick Sorensen as Defensive Coordinator and Hire Brandon Staley

Sorensen seems like an ascending coach. Which begs the question, why is Staley here?

Finally the 49ers have hired a defensive coordinator, or two.

Nick Sorensen has been promoted from 49ers pass game coordinator to defensive coordinator, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. In addition, the team has hired former Chargers head coach Brandon Staley, presumably as the assistant coach, although that hasn't been confirmed.

Let's start with Sorensen.

He never has been a defensive coordinator or called plays, but he was a defensive backs for the Seahawks for eight years, which means he has pedigree because he learned under Pete Carroll. Sorensen also was a special teams coordinator for a year in Jacksonville before he came to the 49ers in 2022 as an assistant. In 2023, he was promoted to pass game coordinator and nickels coach, so he was largely responsible for the rapid improvement of Deommodore Lenoir.

Sorensen seems like an ascending coach. Which begs the question, why is Staley here?

Staley is not an ascending coach. He's a failure. A fired head coach. He got run out of Los Angeles midseason because he was so bad with the Chargers despite coaching excellent defensive players such as Derwin James, Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa.

It couldn't hurt to have Staley on the staff, but hiring him doesn't project confidence in Sorensen. If Sorensen were the team's first choice, they could have hired him weeks ago and not hired Staley. Instead, they reportedly reached out to Steve Spagnuolo to gauge his interest, and then announced the Sorensen and Staley news early Saturday morning when people were sleeping.

I'm guessing the players like Sorensen and want him to be the defensive coordinator, and I'm guessing the team is concerned about his readiness and would prefer Brandon Staley. So they compromised. Gave the players what they presumably wanted and hired Staley to look over Sorensen's shoulder.

Which means Sorensen has less power and standing than Steve Wilks had. Sorensen's replacement is on the team right now. If he struggles, the 49ers can replace him with Staley during the season if necessary.

It's fair to wonder if Sorensen will be the 49ers defensive coordinator a year from now or if he'll get fired like Wilks did.

No pressure, Nick.