clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Steve Wilks defense runs zone scheme more than any other in NFL

The new Arizona Cardinals head coach was zone heavy in 2017.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals-OTA Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With a change in head coach, a change in scheme is inevitable.

While it may seem strange for a defense that was top five in defensive DVOA in 2017 to make changes, it comes with the territory.

That is why when Pro Football Focus released their signature stats on coverage schemes in 2017, it was fun to see where the Carolina Panthers fell.

Per Pro Football Focus:

Wilks defense ran zone on more plays than any other team in the NFL, but what was even more interesting about this nugget from PFF was, they didn’t run a specific zone most of the time.

No, as PFF brokedown, the Panthers lead the NFL in zone coverage, but did not lead the NFL in Cover-2, Cover-3, Cover-4 or Cover-6.

Instead, Wilks deploys a number of different zone schemes throughout the game in order to gain advantages and keep offenses guessing.

That’s why you don’t see a Wilks cornerback travel, that’s why you see players like Mike Adams and Kurt Coleman change sides and dedths.

That is why Wilks defense asks his linebackers to drop into coverage so often.

More than anything, it shows the complexity of what Wilks and new defensive coordinator Al Holcomb will be asking their defense to do.

It is going to be a vast change from the James Bettcher days and should be fun to watch unfold.