The Chicago Bears have a head coach opening after firing John Fox, and while most signs point to someone who can emphasize and innovate the offense, those aren’t the only candidates who’ll be considered.
In fact, Brad Biggs (Chicago Tribune) reports that the Bears have already requested permission to interview Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.
Wilks started his NFL coaching career with the Bears back in 2006 as a defensive backs coach under Lovie Smith. After Smith pushed Ron Rivera out the door in 2009, Wilks followed him to San Diego as the defensive backs coach (2009-11) and then to Carolina as a defensive backs coach (2012-14). In 2015, Wilks added the title of assistant head coach before becoming the team’s defensive coordinator in 2017, when Sean McDermott left to become the Buffalo Bills head coach.
Of course, Chicago isn’t the only team that wants to talk to the defensive coordinator of a team that finished in the seventh in yards allowed and 11th in scoring defense. The Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions (NFL Network’s Peter Schrager), and New York Giants (Art Stapleton) have all reportedly asked to talk to Wilks, who comes highly recommended and was on the Fritz-Pollard Alliance list of suggested head coach candidates.
An interview with Wilks will have to wait until next week (i.e. after the Panthers play the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round of the playoffs), but we’ll be sure to keep an eye on his and any other interviews that may occur. The Obsessive Head Coach watch is in full-swing, so stay tuned.