4 crucial Carolina Panthers observations at the 2022 bye week
By Dean Jones
Carolina Panthers should seriously consider Steve Wilks
The task awaiting Steve Wilks when he agreed to become Carolina Panthers interim head coach was a steep one. Matt Rhule’s disastrous stint as head coach coupled with the team’s decision to trade Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson before the deadline led many to believe the respected figure was being set up to fail, but it’s a challenge he has relished, and more often than not, excelled in.
Wilks immediately set about restoring pride back into Carolina football. The old ways of The Brand and The Process were forgotten quickly, with a more professional approach led by legitimate NFL coaches something that completely shifted the mindset across the franchise.
More important than that is Wilks’ 3-4 record since taking the job. It hasn’t been perfect – not by any stretch of the imagination – but there is growth that wasn’t there previously and this is something that shouldn’t go unnoticed by team owner David Tepper when the time for a formal decision arrives.
According to Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports, the Panthers are giving serious thought to removing the interim tag from Wilks. This goes against what was originally revealed about Tepper wanting an offensive-minded figure to take charge long-term.
"“Sources have previously indicated to CBS Sports that Tepper would want an up-and-coming offensive mind as his next head coach, pulling from the professional ranks rather than college again. But Wilks is making a strong push, and what he and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo are able to accomplish to close this season before Carolina can land a franchise quarterback in the 2023 draft could make Wilks a hard candidate to turn down.”"
What comes after the bye week will be the deciding factor, one suspects. But there’s no doubt Wilks is in a relatively strong position with the full support of his players.