“We Ride Behind Wilks” | Panthers Players Want To See Steve Wilks Have Interim Tag Removed

The Carolina Panthers were 1-4 when interim head coach Steve Wilks replaced head coach Matt Rhule. Since then, the Panthers have gone 5-6 and until last week’s loss at the Buccaneers had an opportunity to win the NFC South. That effort is a direct result of the job Wilks has done at the helm, and his players want him to have the interim tag removed.

Star defensive tackle Derrick Brown, spoke on behalf of Wilks. In speaking with local station Fox46 reporter Will Kunkel, Brown said, “If you ask anybody in this locker room, we want Steve Wilks to be our next head coach.”

Will Steve Wilks Be Full-Time Head Coach Of Panthers?

In a December interview with Panthers.com linebacker Shaq Thompson raved about Wilks’ leadership.

“We ride behind Wilks. He’s a true alpha, he’s a true leader, and guys follow behind him.”

Quarterback Sam Darnold, who’s played really well as of late, also hopes to see Wilks get the gig permanently.

That’s three prominent leaders of the Panthers team speaking up on behalf of Wilks in hopes of owner David Tepper sticking with him over a move-the-meter hire like Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

The Odds Are Against Wilks Getting Gig Permanently

Since 2013, there have been 17 interim head coaches and only two have been promoted to permanent head coach. In 2015, the Titans promoted Mike Mularkey and in 2016, the Jaguars did the same with Doug Marrone, with the latter leading the Jags within two minutes of the Super Bowl in 2017.

As for Wilks, he’s competing against the aforementioned Harbaugh who’s a proven winner as an NFL head coach. During his time in San Fran, Harbs led the Niners to three consecutive NFC championship games and a Super Bowl appearance, losing to his brother John and the Baltimore Ravens.

That’s the type of hire many believe Tepper is looking to make, in fact reports are the two parties have already been in contact.

Harbaugh tweeted on Thursday that he expects to be with Michigan in 2023, but never say never.

Wilks Was Fired After One Season In Arizona

Wilks was a highly-touted coaching prospect and was named head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. The team went 3-13, and he was fired at season’s end. The team then hired current coach Kliff Kingsbury and paired him with 2019 No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray. When Wilks was in command, he was stuck with Josh Rosen at quarterback. Rosen was terrible and was traded after his rookie season and has thrown exactly 120 NFL passes since. In essence, Wilks got screwed by an organization that didn’t give him much to work with, but then drafted a QB in Murray who was a huge upgrade over Rosen.

Wilks took the firing in stride, saying this to the Arizona Republic.

“This is a production-based league, and we didn’t win enough games,” Wilks told the Arizona Republic in 2019. “Would I have liked to have had more time? Of course. But again, I put that behind me. They’ve moved on. I’ve moved on.”

That he has, and hopefully he’ll get the opportunity to continue to lead in Carolina, because he’s earned a real shot at coaching. A situation where he has real resources and talent and isn’t set up for disaster. 

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