Former Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks brings to the Desert with him a bright mind and a head on, business as usual attitude that should help an already solid Arizona Cardinals team get back to Super Bowl contention again.
After finishing 2017 at 8-8, The Arizona Cardinals named Steve Wilks their new head coach on Monday, Jaunary 22nd after long time coach Bruce Arians announced his retirement. Wilks, 48, signed a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth season.
He will have one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in Patrick Peterson, who was named to his seventh Pro Bowl this season. Not to mention, he absolutely LOVES the hire.
Wilks has been coaching since 1995 and has been an NFL assistant since 2006. The Panthers hired Wilks in 2012 as defensive backs coach, adding assistant head coach to his title in 2014. Wilks was promoted to defensive coordinator last season.
He has also coached with the Bears and Chargers. He has coached in two Super Bowls, one each with the Bears and Panthers.
Wilks ran a 4-3 defense in Carolina that was very blitz orientated. The Panthers had the second-highest blitz rate in the NFL this season at 44%. Carolina finished in the top 10 in total defense in five of Wilks’ six seasons with the Panthers. Last season, the Panthers finished third in the NFL in both sacks with 50 and rush defense, allowing 88.1 yards per game.
The Panthers were the only team in the NFL in 2017 that didn’t allow a 100-yard rusher, and haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 20 consecutive games. It is the longest active streak in the NFL.
With the Arizona Cardinals, there is still a glaring need at quarterback with the retirement of Carson Palmer last month. The only QB’s on the depth chart are Drew Stanton, a 33-year old journeyman from Michigan State, Blaine Gabbert, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft out of Missouri, and former USC standout Matt Barkley.
New offensive coordinator Mike McCoy will have his hands full this offseason coming up with a gameplan that is suitable for either quarterback. He has done it before (i.e. Tim Tebow in Denver) so it shouldn’t be TOO difficult.
Nonetheless, the biggest thing that made Steve Wilks an attractive hire was the fact that he not only has been regarded as a players coach, but he is a huge disciplinarian and holds guys accountable for everything they do. On and off the field.
He is definitely a solid replacement for a guy who took no prisoners or crap from anybody in Bruce Arians. The Cardinals should benefit heavily from his addition. Guys on the defensive side, especially. The team out in the Desert will be very competitive again. Soon.