Niners fire defensive line coach
The 49ers have fired defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina, a league source said.
Zgonina, 48, who had spent the past two seasons on staff, shared responsibilities in 2018 with pass-rush specialist Chris Kiffin. Head coach Kyle Shanahan had said after the season that he didn’t expect to make changes on his staff.
Zgonina was an interior defensive lineman during his 17-year NFL career, and run-stopping was his specialty. In May, shortly after Kiffin was hired, Shanahan explained how they would work together.
“I wanted to get someone else in that could help” Zgonina, Shanahan said, “and also bring another taste to the pass game.”
In 2016, the 49ers ranked 32nd in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (2,654) and yards per attempt and set an NFL record by allowing a 100-yard rusher in seven straight games. This season, the 49ers ranked 14th in rushing yards allowed (1,814), seventh in yards per attempt and allowed two 100-yard rushers.
However, they have struggled to generate pass-rush pressure the past two seasons. In 2018, without a proven edge rusher, the 49ers tied for 22nd in the NFL in sacks.