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Dick Butkus Jersey - _TueAMCESTECEST1OctE The New York Giants have interviewed Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks for their vacant head coaching job.

The 48-year-old Wilks met with co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch Adidas Ryan Johansen Jersey , new general manager Dave Gettleman and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams at the team’s headquarters on Tuesday, two days after the Panthers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by New Orleans.

Wilks has close ties to Gettleman, who was Carolina’s general manager until being fired before the start of this past season. This was his sixth year with the Panthers and first as defensive coordinator.

The Giants are nearing the end of their first round of coaching interviews. They plan to speak with recently fired Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville on Wednesday.

In the past week, they have interviewed interim coach Steve Spagnuolo, New England coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia and Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

This marked the first time Tisch took part in the interview process, which might indicate an added level of interest on the part of the Giants.

Wilks also plans to talk to the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday and the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday about their vacant head coaching jobs.

The Panthers’ defense ranked seventh in the NFL in 2017, allowing an average of 317.1 yards. Carolina was third against the run (88.1 yards) and third in sacks with 50.

Wilks also coached the San Diego Chargers secondary from 2009-11 and the Chicago Bears defensive backs from 2006-08. He coached 11 seasons on the collegiate level, working as a defensive backs coach, defensive coordinator and head coach.

”I think he gets guys to relate to him, get on the same page, get on the same scheme,” Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson said Monday as the Panthers cleaned out their lockers.

”He comes to work every day and guys respect that. Just his whole personality. His mentality of getting guys to play how you want to play. He’s a good coach for that.”

Carolina coach Ron Rivera said Wilks uses an aggressive style as a coach.

”Coach Wilks has earned that right (to be a head coach),” Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis said. ”He has done a tremendous job of coming in and taking over this defense and really giving us a chance to be successful.”



AP Sports Writer Steve Reed in Charlotte, North Carolina contributed to this report.



Experience could be the Atlanta Falcons’ big edge as the only team in the NFC playoffs for the second straight year.

Coach Dan Quinn says that advantage was a factor in Saturday night’s 26-13 wild-card win over the Los Angeles Rams.

One year after advancing to the Super Bowl, the Falcons are ”a battle-tested brotherhood,” according to Quinn, who added Sunday ”That kind of experience I thought certainly showed up last night.”

After showing impressive poise against the Rams, Atlanta will play next Saturday’s divisional round game at Philadelphia.

”We’re not here just to get here,” quarterback Matt Ryan said after the game. ”We want to make noise while we’re here Adidas Will Butcher Jersey , so this is what it’s all about. It’s about giving yourself the opportunity this time of the year to compete and play in games like this and win games like this.”

The Falcons are only the No. 6 seed, making the playoffs on the final weekend of the regular season with a home win over Carolina. Even so, Quinn senses his team, boosted by last year’s long postseason run, is peaking at the right time.

”It helps because the guys who were in (last year’s playoffs) have this experience and know how to separate your preparation and make sure the only battle you’re in is this one,” he said, adding that one-game focus ”doesn’t allow you to look too far back … and we’re certainly not thinking about anything past this week.”

Quinn said the win over the Rams, who lacked the Falcons’ playoff experience , may have been Atlanta’s most complete game of the season.

Atlanta’s improved defense held the NFL’s highest-scoring offense to one touchdown. Matt Bryant kicked four field goals – giving him nine without a miss in his last two weeks.

The Falcons’ only touchdowns came on a 4-yard run by Devonta Freeman and a late 8-yard pass from Ryan to Julio Jones. But holding the ball for more than 37 minutes kept the Rams’ offense off the field, and that dominance made up for a lack of big plays.

”We’re equipped to play however we need to win that game and I do love that about this group,” Quinn said. ”For this game, what was required was to have more run attempts. I thought it would be a difference in the second half and certainly it was.”

Quinn compared his current ”battle tested” team to a time early in last year’s playoffs when he stopped practice because he thought ”the guys were tight.”

”We kind of loosened up after that,” he said, adding he believes this year’s team ”started our push” following a loss to New Orleans on Dec. 7.

”There’s been a shift that’s taken place with our team, their readiness, their mindset, their belief, their support of one another is really at a strong point for this 2017 team and we’ll need that kind of mindset again this week.”

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