Browns Rumors: Cleveland Working to Hire Steve Wilks as Defensive Coordinator

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2019

Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks speaks after an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. The Rams won 31-9. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

The Cleveland Browns are reportedly working to hire former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks as their defensive coordinator, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported earlier on Friday that the team would interview Wilks.

Wilks went 3-13 in his only season as the Cards' head coach in 2018 before getting fired.

Cleveland is in search of a new defensive coordinator after naming Freddie Kitchens its new head coach and parting ways with former defensive coordinator and interim head coach Gregg Williams on Wednesday.

Prior to serving as Arizona's head coach, the 49-year-old Wilks was a defensive backs coach for multiple college and NFL teams, and he became the Carolina Panthers' defensive coordinator in 2017.

During his one season as Carolina's defensive coordinator, the Panthers ranked seventh in the NFL in total defense and 11th in points allowed.

The Arizona defense was pedestrian under Wilks in 2018, as the Cardinals were 20th in total yardage allowed and 26th in scoring defense.

If the Browns hire Wilks, they will look for him to improve a defense that was 30th in yards allowed and 21st in points allowed last season.

Wilks would have plenty of talent to work with, including defensive end Myles Garrett, linebacker Jamie Collins, cornerback Denzel Ward and safety Jabrill Peppers.

After going 7-8-1 in 2018, the Browns will look to take another step forward and enter playoff contention next season.

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