‘I feel very confident’: Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks prepared to help turn team’s season around

Wilks will be taking over a 1-4 Panthers team that has lost 11 of their past 12 games dating back to last season
Steve Wilks
Steve Wilks(WBTV)
Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 12:37 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Just 24 hours after Matt Rhule was fired by the Carolina Panthers, Steve Wilks spoke with the media for the first time as the team’s new interim head coach.

Wilks, a Charlotte native, spent 2012-17 on Carolina’s coaching staff and was serving as the team’s defensive pass game coordinator/secondary coach before replacing Rhule on Monday.

“I stand here excited about this opportunity but disappointed about how it came about,” Wilks said Tuesday. “We didn’t do our job as coaches and players to keep him (Matt Rhule) around. One thing I do know for sure is they’re not canceling our season.”

Related: ‘It means the world’: Former teammates of Steve Wilks, West Charlotte HS react to news of being named Panthers interim HC

Wilks will be taking over a 1-4 Panthers team that has lost 11 of their past 12 games dating back to last season and is one of the league’s worst offensive teams. In addition to Rhule being fired, Wilks made the decision to move on from defensive coordinator Phil Snow.

“It was my call, my decision and I felt like I wanted a different approach moving forward,” Wilks said.

This isn’t the first time Wilks has led an NFL team. In 2018, he spent a season as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals before being let go. With 12 games to prove himself, Wilks isn’t worried about the future.

Also Read: ‘We have to get over the hump’: Tepper says now was right time to fire head coach Matt Rhule

“I know how to handle these situations so I feel very confident in that,” Wilks said. “The focus is not about me. The focus is about this organization and to everything to get back on track.”

Wilks added that there is still a long way to go this season.

“I feel very confident about the men that we have and knowing that we are going to turn the corner,” he said. “We haven’t really hit the stretch of the bulk of our division yet but we’re going to take it one game at a time and I feel like we have time to turn it around.”

The Panthers will face the Los Angeles Rams on the road Sunday as they look to get back on a winning track.

“We are at that point in the season where it’s about Keep Pounding and that’s the mindset we’ll have to have to turn it around,” Wilks said.