Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers promote Steve Wilks to assistant

After three years of coaching mostly spare parts and young players, Steve Wilks gets a promotion.

Wilks, the Carolina Panthers’ secondary coach and passing defense coordinator since 2012, was named assistant head coach on Monday. A West Charlotte graduate, Wilks has been a key coach in helping Carolina rank in the top 10 in defense each of the past three seasons.

Carolina’s pass defense ranked 24th in the league in 2011, the year before Wilks joined Ron Rivera’s staff. It improved to 13th in 2012.

In 2013 with the defensive backfield known as the “Legion of Whom,” Wilks guided the secondary to be the sixth-best passing defense in the NFL.

And last season, despite a lack of speed in the secondary, injuries and youth, the Panthers finished 11th in the league in passing defense.

The promotion puts Wilks, a Charlotte native and Appalachian State graduate, in a better position to eventually get an interview for a defensive coordinator position or, later, a head coaching spot.

Wilks served as the de facto assistant coach in the postseason after Rivera’s house caught fire. Jonathan Jones

▪ Veteran offensive lineman Chris Scott signed a contract extension with the Panthers, according to his agent Chad Speck.

Scott, who was a restricted free agent, is on his second stint with the Panthers. He started eight games at guard in 2013. He was cut before the start of the 2014 season but signed again and played in 10 games, although he had no starts.

Terms of the deal were not immediately available. Scott played last year under a one-year, $750,000 contract.