CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Ron Rivera announced he has promoted Steve Wilks as the Panthers new defensive coordinator.
Wilks has served as the Panthers defensive backs coach since 2012 and was given the additional title of assistant head coach by Rivera in 2015. He replaces Sean McDermott, who was hired as the Buffalo Bills head coach earlier this week.
Wilks previously worked as a defensive coordinator for East Tennessee State in 2002, but has worked exclusively as a defensive backs coach since joining the NFL with the Chicago Bears in 2006.
Under McDermott the Panthers finished in the top 10 in defense from 2012-15, but slipped this past year to 21st in overall following the departure of All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman. Still, Carolina finished second in the league in sacks with 47 and was sixth against the run.
For more NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL