Steve Wilks and the Giants could be looking at a delayed partnership.
Wilks interviewed Sunday to be the Giants’ defensive coordinator, joining a candidates list that is rich in experience. He spent last season as the defensive coordinator at Missouri, marking his first time working in college football since 2005 and his fourth job in the last five seasons.
Four years ago, Wilks interviewed to be the Giants’ head coach and was cast as the early favorite because of his ties to then-general manager Dave Getttleman. But the job ultimately went to Pat Shurmur, and Wilks landed as the Cardinals’ head coach.
A pairing as defensive coordinator under new offensive-minded Giants head coach Brian Daboll makes sense because Wilks was the Panthers’ defensive backs coach for five seasons under Sean McDermott and later succeeded McDermott as defensive coordinator in 2017. McDermott is the Bills head coach who was Daboll’s boss for the last four seasons.
Wilks, 52, probably is best known for getting just one season (3-13) with rookie-quarterback bust Josh Rosen as Cardinals head coach. He was fired when the Cardinals decided to go for broke by luring Kliff Kingsbury out of the college ranks to coach No. 1-overall draft pick Kyler Murray.
Wilks’ most recent NFL job was defensive coordinator of the 2019 Browns, led by head coach Freddie Kitchens, who was the Giants’ interim play-caller last season under Joe Judge.
The Giants’ search thinned out Sunday when the Steelers promoted Teryl Austin to defensive coordinator one day after his interview with Daboll. Austin always was the favorite to replace retired mainstay Keith Butler, but the Steelers conducted a search that included interviewing former Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham before Graham landed with the Raiders. The Giants’ interest in Austin sped up the Steelers’ decision.
The Giants also have interviewed experienced coordinators Jim Schwartz, Sean DeSai and Wink Martindale.
One new staffer in place is tight ends coach Andy Bischoff, who previously held the position with the Bears (2013-14) and the Texans (2021). In between, Bischoff, 51, was a six-year offensive assistant for the Ravens. Bischoff has extensive coaching in high school and the Canadian Football League but came to the NFL with Marc Trestman in 2013.
Wilks’ interview was first reported by Pro Football Network, and Bischoff’s hire was first reported by Football Scoop.