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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Passing Defense Coordinator?

This blog, for the last number (I don't want to look back - 2007?  Geez) of years has been a lot more front office driven than anything else.  It's what interests me most, it's what I write most.  Coaching, salary cap, strategy are as interesting as the games themselves to me, to a point (I once mocked my own expansion team, in 1997, though the idea came from a 1996 Sports Illustrated article by Dr. Z).  More or less, at that point I wanted somewhere to start discussing the Julius Peppers extension that never happened.

At any rate, I've followed coaching and staff for a long time, always wondeirng where I'd want to fit in and coach if I ever had.  I enjoy coaching hierarchies. I've never seen "Passing Defense Coordinator", to my knowledge, in college, pro, or high school.

New DBs coach Steve Wilks, who was an Assistant Head Coach in San Diego last year, apparently comes with that title.

It's interesting that Ron Rivera never named an Assistant Head Coach.    I talked about that here last season, and I don't have a good answer yet. Rob Chudzinski, who was AHC before Wilks  - wasn't here, before or after his interviews and success, a bit of a surprise.

But, I find this move equally fascinating, and I honestly consider the two to be somewhat equal. It's definitely power, and the straight-talking Rivera doesn't add titles for no reason.  It could be seen as a bit of reclamation of part of the defense from Sean McDermott, who didn't do a great job last year, circumstances or not.  It could be seen as a matter of power of oversight that they expected Ron Meeks to have, and failed at.  It's hard to say.

But it does more or less suggest that there's more to the Wilks' anticipated move to Carolina than before, and there was already plenty (he wanted to go, was under contract, so they gave him a title even though he was obligated to stay).  And, we know that Andy Reid (who hired Rivera and McDermott as assistants in '99) was shopping McDermott to Rivera (and John Fox).

What I can't put together is the timeline of it all.  Which happened first?  Was Wilks on board for DBs coach, or coordinator?  Was McDermott waiting out  Rivera and talking to Fox, because McDermott was going to be a position coach (he did have experience at both LB and DBs).

There isn't really evidence to know the intent.  I'd love to find out.  Nothing was known about Wilks last year coming to Carolina, until he had signed this year. McDermott was hired here within what felt like hours of his firing, apparently a coordinated move.

What we do know is that McDermott and Meeks were announced more or less simultaneously.  In my (possibly far fetched) ideal, Wilks may have simply been the DBs coach, but very well could've been the coordinator, with the hopes of stashing McDermott and/or Meeks under him.

So titles are just titles for some.  If much of the above is true, or even regardless of it - with McDermott struggling last year and Rivera himself pledging more time to that side of the ball, is Wilks next in line?  Would he be the heir apparent if McDermott doesn't improve the defense himself?
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