The Arizona Cardinals have hired Steve Wilks to be their new head coach.
We talked about Wilks at the beginning of January and the reviews of him as a coach were phenomenal:
Wilks thrived as the defensive backs coach for the Chicago Bears from 2006-2008, then the San Diego Chargers from 2009-2011, before following Rivera to Carolina to be the Panthers defensive backs coach in 2012. In 2015, because of Wilks dynamic personality and what he brought to the defense, he was elevated to assistant head coach. He still holds the title, but in 2017, after Sean McDermott was hired by the Buffalo Bills, Wilks was elevated to defensive coordinator.
Whether Will will move the Cardinals to a 4-3 or remain a 3-4 is really irrelevant. The Cardinals played most of their snaps running a hybrid version of a 4-2 or having only two “down” lineman.
One way or another, Wilks will be aggressive:
From ESPN’S Adam Schefter
Wilks ran a 4-3 defense in Carolina that was blitz-happy. The Panthers had the second-highest blitz rate in the NFL this season at 44.0 percent.
There are obvious questions.
Wilks runs a heavy zone scheme, the Cardinals struggled with that to begin the season.
Where do players like Tyrann Mathieu and Budda Baker fit in, will their versatility be lost?
One thing we will see, without a doubt, is an improvement from Haason Reddick and Deone Bucanonn, or whoever the linebackers are for the Cardinals.
The Panthers with Luke Kuechly, Shaq Thompson and the savvy veteran Thomas Davis consistently boast some of the best numbers from the position in the NFL.
Will knows how to coach up that unit and he’ll go to work early.
The other exciting element is the way he handles the defensive line. Robert Nkemdiche and Olsen Pierre may be better served playing in Wilks aggressive, single gap defense, that allows them to use their athleticism and penetration to win.
Offensively, well hopefully we’ll find out more about that soon.