Most of the discussion involving the Panthers this week has centered on their offensive coordinator position.
But there’s still a chance their defensive coordinator post could be in flux, too.
Steve Wilks, who ran the Panthers’ defense this past season, interviewed this week for the head-coaching vacancies with the Giants and Cardinals.
The New York Post reported that Wilks did not make the cut after the first round of interviews.
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Wilks’ future seems to be linked to Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. The former Browns head coach interviewed with four teams this week, including the Giants and Cardinals. Some reports have called him the favorite for the Arizona job.
Shurmur is among three finalists for the Giants’ opening, according to the Post. The Patriots’ two coordinators — Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia — are the others.
If Shurmur gets the Giants job with former Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman, it could put Wilks in play in Arizona.
Or it could be that Wilks has to go through another hiring cycle, which was the case with his predecessor Sean McDermott. The former Panthers defensive coordinator became Buffalo’s head coach last year after interviewing for several jobs in previous years.
This is the second year in a row Wilks has drawn head-coaching interest. He met with the Rams last year before they hired Sean McVay.
The Panthers finished in the top 10 in the NFL in total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense in Wilks’ first season as coordinator. They were third in the league with 50 sacks.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera has two in-house candidates to replace Wilks in defensive line coach Eric Washington and linebackers coach Al Holcomb, although one of them could leave with Wilks if he’s hired elsewhere.