Cardinals hoping patience in coaching search pays off with Steve Wilks hire

Riddick: 'Wilks needs to address the quarterback first' (1:43)

Louis Riddick says that there will be a lot to deal with in Arizona for new head coach Steve Wilks, but the quarterback situation should be at the top of the list. (1:43)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Science has proved that lightning can, in fact, strike the same place twice.

The Arizona Cardinals just hope that electricity can find its way to their headquarters in Tempe, Arizona, for the second time in five years. On Monday, the Cardinals named Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks as their head coach. Wilks replaces Bruce Arians, who retired on Jan. 1. For their second straight coaching search, it took time before the Cardinals were linked to their new head coach.

There are similarities between the Cardinals' searches in 2013 and 2018.

Both times, the franchise was coming off a forgettable season. Both times, seven teams were looking for new head coaches. Both times, Arizona was among the last teams to be linked to a new head coach.

Cardinals president Michael Bidwill hopes those similarities lead to his franchise capturing lightning in a bottle again.

With Arians, whom the Cardinals gave his first head-coaching job at age 60 (he was interim head coach for the Colts during the 2012 season), Arizona struck coaching gold. In five seasons, he set the franchise record with 50 wins and led the Cardinals to the playoffs twice -- including a run to the NFC Championship Game in the 2015 season.

In the 48-year-old Wilks, the Cardinals get a younger coach who, like Arians when he was hired, had yet to be an NFL head coach. However, Wilks doesn't have the extensive résumé that Arians had.

But obviously that didn't dissuade Bidwill.

He went into the coaching search willing to take his time. This was his plan all along.

During a news conference on Jan. 1, Bidwill said he was glad the Cardinals didn't get "caught up like it's a race or something, because I think we made the right decision by being patient, following our process, which is going to be thorough."

Then Bidwill said: "We're going to do the same thing again."

And now, Bidwill, the Cardinals and their fans wait.

They wait to see how Wilks will fare. They wait to see what kind of course his tenure will run. They wait to see if Bidwill was right by waiting.

As other teams created a clamor in their search for coaches such as Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur or New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia (both of whom Arizona interviewed) or even Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the Cardinals stayed at the back of the room and watched how it all unfolded in front of them.

After Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak publicly declined a second interview with Arizona, the Cardinals were left with a group of six coaches: current defensive coordinator James Bettcher, Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores, Atlanta Falcons special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, and Wilks.

To Bidwill and the Cardinals, Wilks was the best of the bunch. But whether that'll hold up to be true will take time to determine.

There are plenty of questions still to be answered.

Who will be Wilks' offensive coordinator? This is especially important since the Cardinals don't have a quarterback under contract for 2018.

What kind of scheme will Wilks, a former defensive back at Appalachian State, run in Arizona? He ran a 4-3 last season as the Panthers' defensive coordinator. The players he's inheriting have run a 3-4 -- and with much success -- over the past five seasons. Wilks' new defense finished in the top 10 in yards allowed the past three seasons -- one of two teams to accomplish the feat.

Which leads to this question: Who will be his defensive coordinator? Will he have one in title only, like Arians did with Harold Goodwin, and call plays on his own or will he surrender the defense to someone else?

As with everything, with Wilks becoming an NFL coach for the first time, Bidwill, the Cardinals and their fans wait and see.