Matt Maiocco discusses how worried 49ers should be about defensive performance

© Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

After two straight surprise losses, there are major questions to be asked of the San Francisco 49ers.

Murph and Mac directed some of those questions towards Matt Maiocco, asking him where the greatest area of concern on this team is.

Maiocco was pretty clear. Despite their historically dominant presence under Kyle Shanahan, it’s on the defensive side of the ball.

While he thought the Browns just snuck out a win by the skin of their teeth, the Vikings game felt completely different.

“The bigger things are on the defensive side,” Maiocco said. “Monday night watching that, I just felt like almost from the beginning, other than the interception of Charvarius Ward on the first drive and then the next series it’s 3rd-and-12 and T.J. Hockenson has nobody within 15 yards of him as he gets the easiest first down of his career.

“It just felt like the 49ers were completely flummoxed and they were just completely outmatched. Not even not outmatched, they weren’t out-manned or anything, but they just had zero answers. You watch that game, and there was never a point where I thought like, ‘Oh my gosh, the 49ers’ defense is so much better than than the Vikings’ offense, they should be just steamrolling these guys.’

It was kind of the opposite.”

He pointed to the fact that defensive coordinator Steve Wilks has to start dialing things up a bit better, highlighting the horrible 0 blitz call at the end of the first half that resulted in the Jordan Addison tochdown.

“Steve Wilks has to start pushing the right buttons,” Maiocco said. “It was very clear that that was a complete breakdown, mess up, bad call for that all-out blitz late in the first half. So to me the bigger issue with 49ers are on the defensive side, the side of the ball that, by and large, has carried this team from the point that they started being good in 2019.”

Wilks will speak to the media later Thursday, after Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday that Wilks was aware he “messed up” on that play call. It’s the first time in recent memory that Shanahan has openly criticized his defensive coordinator in that way.


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