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Steve Wilks isn’t thinking about his next opportunity

Mike Florio and Chris Simms preview the San Francisco 49ers' 2023 NFL schedule and discuss if Sam Darnold could be under center when Kyle Shanahan's squad begins the new season.

Former Cardinals coach Steve Wilks did a great job as the interim coach of the Panthers, great enough to again be regarded as a viable head-coaching candidate. Throw in the fact that he now has a job that has become a mini-pipeline for head coaches, the 49ers defensive coordinator could end up getting another opportunity again, sooner than later.

Meeting with reporters on Friday, Wilks was asked whether any discussions were had regarding the possibility that he might not be in San Francisco for a very long time.

“I’m going to tell you,” Wilks said, “and this is not just an answer to throw you off or anything like that, but I believe in being where your feet are. Be where your feet are and take care of what’s in front of you. I started out at Johnson C. Smith University, a Division II school, small school right there in Charlotte, North Carolina. I didn’t think about where I would be. I had dreams of it, but I’ve always just tried to win the day. And that’s where I am right now, I’m not even looking beyond OTAs. I just want to make sure this defense is the best it can be and we’re going to continue to build this thing in layers.”

That’s the right approach. And it’s the approach that has carried Wilks this far, to where he’s now running one of the best defenses in the NFL and employed by one of the best teams.

He explained that he selected the 49ers for his next stop because he wanted to surround himself with good people.

“I think that’s the key to everything that you do,” Wilks said. “You can have the talent and the skillset, but you need players. You need an organization that’s committed. You need a head coach and a G.M. that’s aligned with one another and when the opportunity came when I got the phone call, this was a perfect fit for me.”

And it could end up being the perfect launching pad for whatever is next. Regardless of whether he won’t be thinking about that.