Robert Saleh hovered behind Gus Bradley and Vic Fangio in the 49ers’ search for a new defensive coordinator this offseason, but the first-time DC’s performance will ensure the franchise doesn’t look to upgrade that spot after the season.
Saleh will stay on as DC for 2018, Kyle Shanahan said (via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com).
“Yeah, there’s no doubt about that,” Shanahan said, on 49ers Game Plan, of Saleh returning to the DC role next season. “Robert has been great. I think he’s gotten better throughout the year, and I think he’ll be even better next year. Robert has a great future ahead of him. And I feel very fortunate that he’s the coordinator for the Niners.”
The former Jaguars linebackers coach has the 49ers in a better spot defensively than they were a year ago. The 49ers rank 22nd in total defense and 23rd in scoring defense. While not exactly upper-echelon placements, they allowed the most points and yards in the league last season under Jim O’Neil.
Fangio looks to be headed out of Chicago, with his contract set to expire, and the new San Francisco regime wanted to bring him back to the Bay Area in January. The Bears blocked that move, leading to the Saleh hire. Instead, Saleh switched the 49ers to a 4-3 scheme. And a younger defense has shown signs of improvement. Saleh appears to have ensured the 49ers won’t pursue Fangio again this offseason.