The Carolina Panthers named former Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks as the team’s interim head coach.
A former Cleveland Browns coach is getting his shot as the new interim leader of the Carolina Panthers. Steve Wilks, who was a defensive coordinator for the Browns in 2019 under Freddie Kitchens, will try to use his long-time run as a coach to get the Panthers back to viability.
The Panthers were a defensive force of sorts with former head coach Matt Rhule, but under his leadership, the offense was inept and incompetent. While some will blame quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Sam Darnold, and Baker Mayfield for the failures of the offense, the fact is the scheme was not good. Even ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky, a mid-tier analyst at best, saw flaws in the scheme that telegraphed what the plays would be.
Clearly, a change in Carolina was needed, especially with rumors now swirling about the intentions of the club going forward. Are names like Christian McCaffery and DJ Moore really on the trade block? Panther fans should hope not, as a more competent coach would have had this team at 3-2 currently. This isn’t a team that needs much, just better schemes and seemingly better leadership.
Wilks may be able to help provide that.
What was Steve Wilks’ time with the Cleveland Browns like?
Depending on who you ask, the Browns’ 2019 season as a defense was either not good or awful. That’s not on Wilks, as the Browns are still dealing with the same issues Wilks had; no defensive tackles, no reliable safeties, and no game-changing linebackers.
What was once old is new again, eh?
Wilks had a turn as the Panthers defensive coordinator before 2022, and that was in 2017. During his first stint, he led a Top 10 defense in Carolina and while they gave up a few more touchdowns in the passing game you’d like, they were the 10th-best team in the NFL when it came to points per game. The ultimate sign of your team’s defensive aptitude.
His stint as the Arizona Cardinals head coach the following year didn’t go nearly as well, but that squad was just not very good and at the beginning of a rebuild. So it’ll be quite interesting to see what Wilks can do as the Panthers’ new head coach.
This may not have been possible for Wilks, had Kevin Stefanski not bailed on him in favor of Joe Woods. I think most Browns fans would rather have Wilks now than Woods but who knows, really?
Just like with Mike Brown, Ty Lue, and other Cleveland coaches, we’re pulling for Wilks.