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Panthers Rumors: Frank Reich, Steve Wilks Get 2nd Interviews for Head Coaching Job

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 25, 2023

Steve Wilks
Steve WilksGrant Halverson/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers are holding second interviews with Steve Wilks and Frank Reich as they look to fill their head coaching vacancy, per Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Rapoport added Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has "impressed" in interviews as well.

Wilks served as the team's interim coach starting in Week 6, leading the team to a 6-6 record after it went 1-4 under Matt Rhule. The 53-year-old also spent one season coaching the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, finishing with a 3-13 record.

Reich spent five seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, producing a 40-33-1 regular-season record with two playoff appearances. He was fired after a 3-5-1 start to the 2022 campaign.

The Panthers cast a wide net during the first round of interviews, including Moore, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and former Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell.

According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, Panthers owner David Tepper would also give Sean Payton "just about anything he wants" to become head coach.

Wilks could still be a favorite to keep the job after getting a lot of support from players in the second half of the season.

"We ride behind Wilks," linebacker Shaq Thompson said in December. "He came in here, he's a true alpha, he's a true leader, and guys follow behind him. He's done amazing. Look what we've been going through."

"For us to be able to have Coach Wilks again next year and finally have some stability around here, I mean, that's what it's all about," defensive tackle Derrick Brown added this month.

Wilks' few chances as a head coach have been plagued by quarterback issues, with the Cardinals struggling behind Josh Rosen during his lone full season. Last year, the Panthers rotated Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and PJ Walker.

Reich had also been searching for a long-term answer at the position, with the Colts starting five different Week 1 quarterbacks in five seasons.

If Carolina can find an upgrade under center this offseason, the squad could be a team to beat in the NFC South.