Steve Wilks interviewed for the New York Giants defensive coordinator vacancy, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.
Giants are looking at multiple defensive coordinator candidates
The Giants are looking for a replacement for defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, the Las Vegas Raiders’ new defensive coordinator. This comes just days after Brian Daboll was named the new head coach of the Giants. However, sources had told us that Daboll had preferred to keep Graham. Now, with Graham leaving, New York is looking for another defensive coordinator.
They have interviewed former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, one of the strongest contenders for the job. They also met with Pittsburgh Steelers senior defensive assistant and secondary coach Teryl Austin, whom sources emphasized for weeks is being promoted by Mike Tomlin as the replacement for retired defensive coordinator Keith Butler. Additionally, the Giants interviewed former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai and Tennessee Titans defensive consultant Jim Schwartz, according to sources.
Wilks is also under consideration for other NFL jobs, per sources.
Background on Steve Wilks’ coaching career
Wilks is a former Arizona Cardinals head coach who was fired after posting a 3-13 campaign in 2018. He was previously a defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns.
He has coached defensive backs for the Bears, Chargers, and Panthers. Carolina went 15-1 in 2015 and lost the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos. Wilks previously interviewed for the Giants’ head coaching job in 2017.
A two-time NFC champion with the Bears and Panthers, the 52-year-old Wilks is a Charlotte, N.C. native who went 5-6 in 1999 as the head football coach at Savannah State.
Wilks has historically worked with 4-3 defenses, so a move to New York might involve some level of change. The Giants have run 3-4 fronts for the past several years, but they likely have the pieces in place to switch looks or play multiple schemes.
The Giants defense is a talented unit
By most metrics, New York’s defense didn’t perform well in 2021. That was especially true in the run game, where the Giants ranked dead last in both DVOA (Football Outsiders’ efficiency metric) and expected points added (EPA) per play.
Yet, the Giants do have a number of talented players on their defense. That’s especially true up front, where the likes of Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, and Azeez Ojulari reside. At defensive back, New York boasts veterans like James Bradberry and Logan Ryan, plus former early-round NFL Draft picks in Adoree’ Jackson and Xavier McKinney.