Sept. 11, 2011; Glendale, AZ, USA; Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Panthers 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Panthers' hiring Wilks could affect McDermott's job.

Bringing in Steve Wilks on the defensive staff may make McDermott’s seat real hot.

It was as if the Panthers organization didn’t want anyone to know about it but they did hire a new Defensive Backs coach. In fact he was hired about a month ago if some haven’t heard.

Steve Wilks comes over from San Diego, where it seems like half of the staff and team is now from. He returns home to Charlotte where he attended West Charlotte High School. Out is Ron Meeks who was one of only two coaches who remained from the John Fox staff.

The most intriguing part to me is his obvious past ties with Head Coach Ron Rivera. A past that was very successful on defense. In 2006, while Rivera was Defensive Coordinator and Wilks the Secondary Coach with the Chicago Bears, they headed to the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman starting at QB.

They later would team up again in San Diego with the same roles and coaching positions. Their last season together with the Chargers in 2010 the D finished ranked 1st overall in total defense. Wilks can be credited with the development of recent Pro Bowler Eric Weddle.

This is all great. Makes the Defensive staff look like an All-Star cast. I have to think one guy now feels like he has someone breathing down his neck to take his job potentially. Even though this would never be said or acknowledged by any party, I have to believe if a guy is hired below you who could end up replacing you in that job, you may sweat a little once learning of the new hire!

Inevitably I think current D Coordinator Sean McDermott will be the odd man out even though he and Rivera have history of their own.

Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera and Sean McDermott spent five years together in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Defensive mastermind, longtime Eagles D Coordinator Jim Johnson. Upon Johnson’s death after battling cancer in 2009 McDermott would get the promotion, after Rivera had moved on to greener pastures earlier in 2004 to coordinate the defense in Chicago.

Rivera would go on to be the Bears and Chargers Defensive Coordinator before landing his first Head Coaching  job.

Fast forward to now and we are entering season two of Rivera and McDermott together again. This time in Carolina, with high expectations for a defense coming off an underachieving season.

Let me expand now on the possibilities of McDermott being on his way out. Though I don’t think he will be fired anytime soon he may be offered some head coaching positions following a “should be” successful defensive season in 2012. Whether it may be the call he receives a year from now after Andy Reid is fired or a University from that same area calls to offer him the top job. He has been mentioned in recent years as a possible Head Coaching candidate with a few NFL teams and several Division 1 College teams.

Either way those two scenarios he leaves with the blessing of both Ron Rivera and Jerry Richardson. I think. That is if he isn’t fired before these opportunities arise.

Then again, if there are a few more seasons of not so solid defense with a team that looks the part with that Defensive staff, someone will have to go. Let’s hope that is not the case. That defense is just as much Rivera’s as it is McDermott’s.

Bring back Steve Wilks. Wasn’t this column about him?

Yes. Well, not entirely but a good part is about Wilks.

Or, more so about the idea that he could go from Secondary Coach to Defensive Coordinator sooner than later. At least that’s what it looks like could very well happen. This to me is the obvious reason of Rivera wanting to bring him in. Wilks is an insurance policy as well as a great defensive coach to have added to the staff.

To keep an ace in the hole when his D Coordinator Sean McDermott becomes a head coaching candidate elsewhere (through the Panthers having an explosive year or two on defense), or his current assistant coaching seat starts becoming a fire hazard (then he becomes the scapegoat on his way out).





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Tags: Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Ron Rivera Sean McDermott Steve Wilks

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