NFC Notes: 49ers, Packers, Panthers


49ers DC Steve Wilks is joining San Francisco with hopes for continued success and wants to embrace the accomplishments that some members of the defensive roster have already made. 

“I think you have to embrace the success that they’ve had here. I think there’s a foundation that we all agree we wanted to keep,” Wilks said during his press conference. “And I think there’s an opportunity, as we go through the process, which we already have, is to try to tweak things a little bit. I still think there’s room for improvement. If you talk to the players, they would tell you the same. So, when it’s not broken, you don’t really want to try to fix it. And once again, we’ve had a lot of success around here and we just want to continue to build on that.”

“I think — and my philosophy is the same, I’ve always had this — everything we do starts up front. And when you look at how dominant we’ve been over the years, it’s because of our defensive line,” Wilks concluded. “We’ve done a great job building that through the draft. As I just alluded to, we did some great things in free agency this past year. So, [defensive line coach Kris] Kocurek does a tremendous job. He’s one of the best in the business at what he does. And he’s had a major impact on this defense. So, that was really the biggest thing that stood out to me was just how great we were up front consistently over the years.”


Packers DC Joe Barry knows that most of the focus for the team has been their quarterback transition, yet is hoping that they are able to make improvements on the defensive side of the ball to help them get back to the playoffs in 2023.

“You mentioned [Rodgers] and his honors. It really doesn’t matter on our side of the ball, the defensive side of the ball. That’s the thing that we’ve got to do week in and week out,” Barry said, via Jason Wilde of “We’ve got to show up and play our best version of football, our best version of defense. We can’t be up one week and down the next. We’ve got to find that consistency and show up every single week. The last five or six weeks of the season, we found that. We don’t have time to waste 10 weeks. We’re in May. That’s what OTAs are for. That’s what the offseason is for. That’s what training camp is for. But we’ve got to be much more consistent than we were a year ago, week in and week out.”


Panthers WR Shawn Jefferson characterized their receivers group as “under construction” given their players are still learning the system. 

“We are a group that’s under construction right now. That means everybody. We’re under construction,” Jefferson said, via Schuyler Callahan of FanNation. “We’re trying to get the offense implemented, so we’re in the building process — the land-clearing process phase here. Everybody right now is in learning mode and trying to get used to what we want them to do. We’re finding out what guys can do. It’s part of our job as coaches to put it out there and see what these guys can do, then we can start building the blocks of how we want them, plug them in where we want them to be, and where they fit best according to their talent skillset.”

Jefferson mentioned Carolina wants to move their receivers around in different formations in order to keep defenses off balance. 

“We want to be different. We don’t want to be just stagnant with people where people can just say, okay, they’re going to play here or there. I want to move these guys around because it’s an advantage to us. We’re all about putting stress on the defense. If we got these guys in multiple positions, they don’t know who’s getting this ball. What defenses typically do is they say he’s the ‘X’, he’s the ‘Z’, they see these types of formations then they’re doing that. But we don’t want to do that. We want to be multiple. We want to cause some stress to the defense.”

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