Steve Wilks is a new NFL head coach, but he has been around the league long enough to fully appreciate how vital it is to find the right quarterback.
He told Alex Marvez and Rick Neuheisel on The Opening Drive from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that the Arizona Cardinals will keep an open mind when it comes to finding a replacement for Carson Palmer.
‘We understand the importance of that position’
“Steve Keim and I have been on the same page from Day One and we’ve been talking about a plan moving forward, trying to come up with several options, whether it’s through trade, free agency or the draft. Maybe all three,” Wilks said. “So we understand the importance of that position. You really don’t have a chance to win and be successful in the National Football League without a quarterback, so we feel like we have other pieces in place, but that is a major component that we’re looking for.”
Another major component for the Cardinals is their dynamic wide receiver, Larry Fitzgerald.
‘Larry did his research around the league’
Wilks, who joined the Cardinals after spending 12 seasons as an NFL assistant coach (including a stint as defensive coordinator with his previous employer, the Carolina Panthers), couldn’t have been happier with Fitzgerald’s recent decision to return for another season, especially with speculation that he might follow Palmer and the previous Arizona coach, Bruce Arians, into retirement. As Wilks revealed, Fitzgerald did his due diligence before making the announcement.
“Larry and I spoke going back even before that, just introducing myself and really just talking about my philosophy and the things that I believe in,” Wilks said. “And Larry did his research around the league. There are only 32 teams, the players know each other, so he called around and talked to (Panthers linebackers) Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, trying to get a feel for myself and we just started building a little relationship. And I knew he was in the process.
‘He called and said, ‘Hey, I’m all excited about the 2018 season”
“I really didn’t try to pressure or talk to him at all and, really, about a week-and-a-half, two weeks later, he called and said, ‘Hey, I’m all excited about the 2018 season. I’m all in, I’m ready to come back.’ Of course, I was excited.”