SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Steve Wilks was taking a short break between practice, lunch and meetings. His mind appeared to be spinning in a hundred different directions on what he had planned for the rest of the day. Luke Kuechly Jerseys Although he seemed relaxed, the energy churning inside the Carolina Panthers' defensive coordinator was like that of a waterfall supplying energy to a power plant. “I’ve always said the speed of the package is determined by the speed of the leader," Wilks said.

That perfectly sums up what Wilks has brought to the Panthers' defense since replacing Sean McDermott, who was hired during the offseason as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Star Lotulelei Jerseys As much intensity as McDermott brought the past six seasons -- four straight years leading the Panthers to a top-10 defensive unit before the 2016 season -- Wilks takes it to another level. “Coach Wilks, he brings a different kind of intensity to our defense," defensive tackle Star Lotulelei said. “Coach Wilks, he’s not in your face, but he’s not afraid to tell you how he feels. He’s going to tell you how it is and what he expects from you.

“It’s a different kind of atmosphere. More intense." The overall philosophy and scheme of the defense won’t change significantly from the way McDermott ran it. Pressuring the quarterback, stopping the run and causing turnovers still are priorities. Cam Newton Jerseys But the way the defense is called will change, whether that’s more press coverage from the corners, fewer or more blitzes. Greg Olsen Jerseys “Sean was a linebacker coach" prior to becoming a defensive coordinator, coach Ron Rivera said. “Steve was a defensive back coach. Because of that you’re going to notice vast differences in the way defenses will be called. “That’s just the nature of it." The nature of Wilks is to stay ahead of the curve. He is ridiculously detailed as far as being organized and scripting things out. “Trying to have the foresight to see things that may come up and having the answers," Wilks said.

And then there’s that energy that players can’t help but notice, particularly during the hot days of training camp when it’s hard to maintain intensity for a two-hour practice. Jonathan Stewart Jerseys “A lot of those guys, let’s be honest, they get sore and don’t want to be out there," Wilks said. “We as coaches have to pull it out of them, so I’m constantly right there trying to make sure I’m always bringing the energy." Defensive end Wes Horton called McDermott and Wilks “unbelievable coaches."

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