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Giants coaching search: Steve Wilks gets to show why players gravitate toward him

Steve Wilks worked with Giants GM Dave Gettleman in Carolina for four years. Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images

It is Steve Wilks’ turn on the New York Giants coaching carousel. He gets his shot to impress the team’s brass on Tuesday.

Since the day the Giants hired Dave Gettleman as general manager, this appeared destined to happen. Gettleman and Wilks have a pre-existing relationship. They worked together in Carolina for four years, with Gettleman as the general manager and Wilks as the secondary coach, assistant head coach and then defensive coordinator.

It’s well-known that Gettleman thinks highly of Wilks. He’s a respected coach and leader and might be among the favorites to land the Giants’ job, despite his not fitting the preferred criteria of owner John Mara, who said last week that after what happened with Ben McAdoo, he would prefer to hire someone who either had head-coaching experience or was a longtime coordinator.

Wilks doesn’t fall into either category. But there is a reason he has landed in the middle of the Giants’ search, and those close to him have little doubt that he’ll blow the interview out of the water. He’s a natural leader.

“He has a big presence about him, even the way he speaks, and everyone gravitates toward him,” veteran Panthers safety Mike Adams recently told ESPN.

The Wilks File

Name: Steve Wilks

Age: 48

Alma mater: Appalachian State

Most recent positions:

DBs coach, Panthers 2012-14

Asst. head coach/DBs coach, Panthers 2015-16

Asst. head coach/DC, Panthers 2017-present

Connection to Giants: Worked on the Panthers staff under Gettleman from 2013-17. Was promoted to assistant head coach while Gettleman was there. Also, the Panthers went 15-1 in 2014 and reached the Super Bowl.

Other known interviews: Cardinals

Other teams that expressed interest: Colts, Lions and Bears (since filled)

Coaching style: Aggressive. Likes to blitz. Doesn’t sit back and wait for things to come to him. Tries to make things happen. The Panthers were third in the NFL with 50 sacks this season. They were seventh in total defense. Wilks ran a 4-3 scheme in Carolina, the same scheme the Giants have run for years.

His staff: It is believed that Wilks would bring linebackers coach Al Holcomb with him as his defensive coordinator. Holcomb began his career as a Giants assistant. His offensive hires will be key.

What they’re saying about Wilks: "I knew he had it in him. He has a big presence about him. Even the way he speaks, and everyone gravitates toward him. He's not a normal coordinator where no one really talks to him. Everybody is always asking him things. He's a smart, smart man. I learned more from him this year than I did in a long time. One thing I learned about him real quick by sitting in his office the day they signed me was, he said, 'I'm holding everybody accountable. Everybody is going to be accountable. We're going to play fast. We're going to play aggressive. We're not going to play not to make any mistakes, but we're going to be accountable for everything we do on the field.' It was the truth. There was no lying in him. He calls guys out. It's not out of disrespect, but it's out of love because he wants to win." -- Current Carolina and former Colts safety Mike Adams

“He would be a great head coach. He wouldn't tolerate what they tolerated.” -- an NFL source who is familiar with Wilks' style as a coordinator in Carolina.