Steve Wilks Image Credit: Carolina Panthers

Carolina Must Not Do Steve Wilks Dirty Like Arizona Did

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Steve Wilks has the opportunity to lead the Carolina Panthers to an NFC South title and a spot in the playoffs.

Considering how the season started for the team, that would be shocking. Yet it would be an even bigger testament to Wilks’ coaching talents.

On October 10th, the team fired head coach Matt Rhule after an embarrassing and listless 37-15 loss to the 49ers, which left them sitting at 1-4.

The reins were handed to defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. The same Steve Wilks hired and fired by the Arizona Cardinals in 2018 after a single season where he inherited a talent-deprived offense, a defense ravaged by poor roster decisions and rookie QB Josh Rosen, who wasn’t worthy of his first-round selection.

The situation exemplified the “clean up man” and “bridge coaching” dilemmas experienced by Black coaches where they want, and deserve, head coaching positions yet are oftentimes faced with taking one-and-done jobs.

But Wilks deserved better and almost everyone knew it.

So when the Panthers gave him the headset on October 10th, most feared he transitioned into the same position he once faced in Arizona.

The NFL hiring process for Black coaches is a scripted reality series that seldom surprises, so predicting another humiliating ending wouldn’t be far-fetched.

Carolina would suffer through a losing season, Wilks would be fired and a young, white offensive coordinator would step in after most of the suffering had been exerted. Then he would then have the opportunity to evaluate, draft and trade for real talent, management would extend their full support and the sun would shine in Carolina once again.

But Wilks faced even more challenges.

Continue reading over at First and Pen.

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