FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Atlanta Falcons have concluded a virtual interview with Steve Wilks for the position of head coach, as announced by the team on Saturday.

Previously, the Falcons have already conducted interviews with Mike Macdonald and Brian Callahan. In accordance with NFL protocols, virtual interviews with personnel from other clubs must be completed before the conclusion of Divisional Playoff games on Sunday, Jan. 21. If the employer club has a Wild Card bye, virtual interviews must be conducted before the conclusion of Wild Card games. For Wild Card participants, virtual interviews can commence three days after their Wild Card game and must be concluded before the end of Divisional Playoff games.

Starting Monday, Jan. 22, teams are permitted to hold in-person or virtual interviews with candidates employed by other NFL clubs whose seasons have ended. Initial interviews with candidates from clubs participating in the Conference Championship Games are prohibited until the conclusion of the employer club’s season.

Steve Wilks, currently the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator, was interviewed by the Falcons on Saturday, Jan. 13. His coaching background includes significant roles with the Carolina Panthers from 2012 to 2017, where he served as defensive backs coach, assistant head coach and defensive backs coach, and assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. In 2018, Wilks had a brief stint as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. In 2022, he rejoined the Panthers as the defensive pass game coordinator and secondary coach, eventually taking over as the interim head coach for the final six games of the season.

Wilks, with over 15 years of NFL coaching experience, is recognized as a respected defensive-oriented coach. He has been considered for head coaching positions during coaching carousel peaks, especially after his successful interim coaching stint with the Panthers in Oct. 2022. While leading the Panthers as interim head coach, the team went 6-6 in the final 12 games, finishing tied for second in the NFC South after a 1-4 start to the 2022 season.

Currently with the 49ers, Wilks has contributed to a highly successful defense ranking third in scoring defense and top-10 in yards allowed and defensive takeaways per game. However, a potential drawback in his candidacy is his brief tenure as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, where the team finished with a 3-13 record, marking the worst performance for the Cardinals since 2000, leading to Wilks’ departure on Dec. 31, 2018.

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