After being named the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Freddie Kitchens is now tasked with filling out his coaching staff. The defensive coordinator position is available since the departure of Gregg Williams and the Browns may have found their guy. They have been working on a deal to make Steve Wilks our DC and it may be agreed upon as early as this weekend.
Wilks is a man who has been around football almost of half his life. He is 49 years old with 24 years of coaching experience plus the time spent as a player. He spent five years as a defensive back for Appalachian State and although he never made it to the NFL, he played one season for the Charlotte Rage of the AFL.
After a brief hiatus from football, Wilks joined the coaching ranks in 1995 when he took control over the defense at Johnson C. Smith University. He held the same position at Savannah State and he was promoted to head coach for a year. He finished with a 5-6 record in his line season as head honcho. Over the next six years, he bounced around to several colleges, holding titles from defensive coordinator to defensive backs coach.
Finally, in 2006, he found his way into the pros when he was hired by the Chicago Bears as a DB coach. Wilks had an amazing opportunity to learn from the knowledgeable Lovie Smith. In fact, the Bears went 13-3 that year and lost in the Super Bowl to the Indianapolis Colts. It may not be much, but it does prove that he has been in high-pressure situations like the playoffs.
Wilks accepted the same job for the San Diego Chargers in 2009. Ironically, the team finished with a 13-3 record but didn’t quite make the same playoff run as his former team. The Chargers were good, but couldn’t find consistency under coach Norv Turner. Besides that, I just wanted to acknowledge the fact that Wilks got to study under Turner and Smith before moving onto the next chapter in his coaching career.
In 2012, Wilks became the DB coach of the Carolina Panthers. This move not only brought him home but reunited him with a familiar face in first-time head coach Ron Rivera. Rivera was Wilks’ defensive coordinator in Chicago and San Diego so these two guys have a history. They know each other very well.
Wilks received a promotion to assistant head coach in 2015 and it just so happened to be the year of the Panthers Super Bowl run once again adding to his coaching experiences. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017 while remaining the assistant head coach.
The Charlotte native finally got his chance to be the man in charge when the Arizona Cardinals hired him to be the head coach. Unfortunately, they finished with a NFL-worst 3-13 record and was relieved of his duties when the season concluded.
Now, the Cleveland Browns are giving the coach a shot to command our defense. Wilks has been involved in some pretty good defenses over the years, but will it translate to Cleveland? I think so because of the players we already have in the locker room. Wilks should have no problem improving the Browns 30th ranked defense with
Nothing is finalized yet, but I believe it is only a matter of time before a deal gets done.