Nin­ers fire de­fen­sive line coach

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - SPORTS - — Eric Branch

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.

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