Titans interview Steve Wilks for head coaching position

FILE - This is a 2016, file photo showing Steve Wilks of the Carolina Panthers NFL football team. Ron Rivera announced he has promoted Steve Wilks as the Panthers new defensive coordinator. Wilks has served as the Panthers defensive backs coach since 2012 and was given the additional title of assistant head coach by Rivera in 2015. He replaces Sean McDermott, who was hired as the Buffalo Bills head coach earlier this week (AP Photo/File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – After first interviewing Mike Vrabel Thursday, the Titans added another candidate to their list after interviewing Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

At 48 years old, Wilks is coming off his first season as the Panthers defensive coordinator leading Carolina to seventh in total defense and third against the run, while finishing 11th in points per game.

Wilks has been coaching in the NFL since 2006 where he started as a defensive backs coach for the Chicago Bears and has been in Carolina since 2012 where he started coaching at the same position.

FILE – In this Aug. 3, 2015, file photo, Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, left, talks with assistant head coach Steve Wilks, right, as players warm up during the NFL football team’s training camp in Spartanburg, S.C. The New York Giants have Wilks for their vacant head coaching job on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File)

Wilks does have a connection to the Titans after spending time with director of player personal Ryan Cowden when Cowden worked as a scout in Carolina.

In terms of why Wilks is a good candidate, the Titans say he is a “no-nonsense, highly respected coach and leader.”

“As a defensive coordinator, he’s proven to be aggressive. Wilks attracted some attention in previous head coaching searches,” a press release states.

“He has a big presence about him, even the way he speaks, and everyone gravitates toward him,” veteran Panthers safety Mike Adams said of Wilks recently in an interview with ESPN.

The Tennessee Titans also shared the below details on Wilks:

  • The Panthers defense has finished in the top 10 in yards allowed in five of Wilks’ six seasons with the team.
  • Wilks worked under Ron Rivera during his days as defensive coordinator in San Diego and Chicago, and he joined Rivera on his staff in Carolina.
  • In San Diego, Wilks oversaw the secondary from 2009-11. Prior to Wilks’ arrival in San Diego, the Chargers ranked 31st in the NFL against the pass but finished 11th in 2009, first in 2010 and 13th in 2011 under his tutelage.
  • Wilks played defensive back at Appalachian State from 1987-91 and finished his career with 103 tackles, four interceptions and four blocked kicks.
  • Wilks attended training camp with the Seattle Seahawks in 1992 and played defensive back and wide receiver for the Charlotte Rage of the Arena Football League in 1993.
  • Wilks graduated from Appalachian State with a degree in communications.
  • Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden spent time with Wilks in Carolina when he worked in the team’s scouting department.