49ers fire defensive coordinator Billy Davis

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- The San Francisco 49ers fired defensive coordinator Billy Davis on Wednesday after yielding an NFL-worst 412 points this season.
Coach Mike Nolan also dismissed defensive line coach Gary Emanuel in a shakeup to fix a defense that was largely the responsibility of Nolan, a longtime defensive coordinator for four NFL teams.
Davis, a Mahoning Valley native, joined Nolan's staff in 2005 after one season as New York Giants linebackers coach and three previous seasons in the same position with Atlanta.
With little talent or depth in San Francisco, his first defense allowed 428 points last season -- third worst in the NFL -- and finished dead last in several statistical categories.
"After an evaluation period, we felt this was the right time to make this move," Nolan said in a statement. "These were tough decisions, as they are both great individuals and have the potential to be very successful coaches in this league."
Though Nolan was heavily involved in defensive game-planning and meetings, Davis took much of the public heat as the 49ers' defense had several terrible games this season, most notably giving up 41 points by halftime in a blowout loss to the Chicago Bears. San Francisco also lost 41-0 at Kansas City.
The unit improved markedly in the second half of the season with strong performances from cornerback Walt Harris and linebacker Brandon Moore, yet still finished the season with unimpressive statistics.
Nolan refused to give a vote of confidence to Davis when he wrapped up the season Tuesday, saying only, "I think Billy did a good job."
A phone message left for Davis, a 15-year veteran assistant coach, wasn't immediately returned.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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