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Carolina Panthers now see Steve Wilks as ‘strong candidate’ to remain head coach in 2023

carolina panthers

The Carolina Panthers’ recent play, and winning three of their last four games has reportedly had a significant effect on the chances of Steve Wilks remaining the team’s head coach in 2023.

It was not long ago that the Panthers were 3-8 and a laughingstock in the league. They swung a big trade for established quarterback Baker Mayfield in the summer, but the move proved to be disastrous as the offense was ineffective despite Mayfield having talented skills players like Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore at his disposal.

The poor play for a third straight season led the team to make head coach Matt Rhule the first head coach fired this season, and they also made several moves at the NFL Trade Deadline. Including a deal that sent Pro Bowler McCaffrey to San Francisco.

Related: NFL offense rankings – Who are the best offenses in the league ahead of Week 17?

When Steve Wilks became interim-head coach, the expectation was he would just be a placeholder for a dumpster fire of a team until wholesale changes were made in the offseason. However, the 53-year-old has circled the wagons and made the Carolina Panthers respectable again with a 5-5 run heading into a big Week 17 game against the Buccaneers.

Steve Wilks has a very good chance of being the Carolina Panthers head coach in 2023

carolina panthers
Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers’ strong play over the last few weeks — including big wins over the Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions — has reportedly been huge for Wilks’ chances to retain his role next season.

On Sunday, NFL Network league insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero revealed the latest on the team’s coaching search and why Wilks is viewed as a top candidate with the team looking to pull out an NFC South division title in the final weeks of the season.

“The turnaround has positioned Wilks, 53, as a strong candidate for the full-time job. He’s well-regarded and liked within the building. However, Carolina still intends to go through a full search process that also includes other in-demand candidates.

“Owner David Tepper’s top priorities have been solidifying the quarterback position and the offense, so expect the Panthers to interview all of the rising offensive gurus. If Wilks is going to get the job, he’ll need to sell his plan for that side of the ball, too. Tepper also respects Wilks’ leadership traits, which is a huge part of the job.”

– Latest on Panthers HC situation

The Carolina Panthers have a massive game on Sunday against division rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The NFC South title is still up for grabs with the Panthers only a game out of first place. Two more victories, and a shocking division title, could likely guarantee Steve Wilks is the head coach for 2023 and beyond.