With Sean McDermott having departed Carolina to become Buffalo’s head coach on Wednesday, the Panthers are now without a defensive coordinator. That won’t the case for long, per the Charlotte Observer’s Joe Person, who reports that assistant head coach/secondary coach Steve Wilks could take over for McDermott as early as Thursday.
Wilks is also in the running for the Rams’ head coaching job, but he’s clearly a long shot for that position. Thus, it appears he’ll accept a promotion in Carolina, which would keep him and head coach Ron Rivera together for at least another year.
Before joining Rivera’s staff with the Panthers in 2012, Wilks worked with him in Chicago and San Diego. The two had a years-long understanding that Wilks would become the Panthers’ defensive coordinator in the event of a McDermott departure, sources told Person, and Rivera is now set to make good on that promise.
Handing the 47-year-old Wilks the defensive reins means the Panthers will essentially keep McDermott’s system in place, notes Person. The club’s defense had its fair share of success in six years under McDermott, and while the unit finished just 21st in yardage and 26th in scoring in 2016, it did post an impressive 10th-place DVOA ranking.
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