Carolina Panthers 2022-2023 season in review

Anna D'Abruzzo, Sports Writer

Panther’s owner, David Tepper, has a big role to fill as he looks to hire a new head coach for the team. The pressure has been on the interim head coach, Steve Wilks, to get the job done this season in order to be considered for the full-time position.

For many around the NFL, Wilks did just that throughout the last 12 games, winning 6 of them. This was more than former coach Matt Rhule did in each of his two-plus seasons.

The search is already underway, as former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell was scheduled to interview on Monday, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation, and Wilks is set to interview on Tuesday. While the job is sure to be inviting and attractive, the Panthers are not expecting a large candidate pool.

“We’ve had agents [of candidates] that have reached out to us,” said Fitterer. “This is a very attractive job on the outside where people are looking at it as, ‘Hey, this is a young team, this division is up for grabs the next few years, there’s not a dominant quarterback going forward in the division,’’’ shared General Manager Scott Fitterer with ESPN.

There still are unanswered questions beyond who the next coach will be, the biggest being, who will be the long-term solution at quarterback in what has been a revolving door the past three seasons.

The Panthers will have the No. 9 pick in the 2023 draft. “We have to decide who the head coach is first,” Fitterer said. “That’ll play a lot into that.”

The pressure is on Tepper with the hiring of the new head coach, as his track record for both this role and quarterback has been less than stellar. 

Wilks has been Tepper’s most successful decision, and there are no guarantees he’ll get the full-time job despite the wins. “He deserves an opportunity because he’s proven what he can do, how the players fight for him,’’ said defensive end Brian Burns. “Yeah, I think he’s qualified, and he’s proven that in many ways.’’

Tepper will undergo an extensive search with his wife, Nicole Tepper, chief administrative officer of Tepper Sports Entertainment, as a part of the process. The team’s future depends on this hire, so he is under a great deal of pressure. 

As for this season, the Panthers have been eliminated from the playoffs.