There’s a decent chance that Carolina Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks will be retained full-time this coming offseason.
Carolina has posted a 4-5 record with Wilks manning the sidelines following the firing of former head coach Matt Rhule. It has the Panthers at 5-9 on the season and just a game back of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for first place in the NFC South despite their quarterback issues. Remember, Carolina went 1-4 under Rhule before moving off the current Nebraska head coach.
All of this has led to speculation that Panthers owner David Tepper could very well retain Wilks on a full-time basis regardless of how the final three weeks of the season plays out.
If that ends happening, Wilks will have to get with general manager Scott Fitterer as a way to figure out the team’s quarterback situation. Three different players have started games under center for the Panthers this season with Sam Darnold as their current QB1. To say that it has not gone swimmingly would be an understatement.
- Carolina Panthers QB stats (2022): 59% completion, 2,612 yards, 12 TD, 10 INT, 78.8 QB rating
Carolina has been able to stay alive in the disastrous NFC South primarily due to the play of its defense.
Wilks seems to acknowledge that. Following their Week 15 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the interim head coach made it clear that he’s going to be looking for some new blood at quarterback in the offseason should he be retained. According to this note from Mike Kaye of The Charlotte Observer, he’s seeking a “dynamic” quarterback to move forward with.
Despite handing Darnold the starting job for Week 16’s outing against the Detroit Lions, it’s clear that the Panthers don’t view the New York Jets’ former top pick in that manner. Current backup P.J. Walker has been nothing more than a journeyman throughout his career, either.
As of right now, Carolina would boast the No. 8 pick in next year’s NFL Draft if the season were to end today.
This would give the team an opportunity to add a potential franchise guy despite the high unlikelihood that Alabama’s Bryce Young would be available. Other options include Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Anthony Richardson from Florida.
Either way, it’s clear that Wilks and Co. are playing out the string with a quarterback under center who won’t be their starter come Week 1 of the 2023 season. Whether he’s around to help oversee the transition under center remains to be seen.