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Steve Wilks Stays Calm As Cardinals Head Into Final Week

With a trip to Seattle left, head coach trying to control what he can

Cardinals coach Steve Wilks talks with defensive end Chandler Jones before Sunday's loss against the Rams at State Farm Stadium.
Cardinals coach Steve Wilks talks with defensive end Chandler Jones before Sunday's loss against the Rams at State Farm Stadium.

The players were gone, given Christmas Eve off to be with family, with Christmas falling on their normal Tuesday day off.

The Cardinals coaches were in the building Monday, though, prepping for a weekend finale in Seattle. And Steve Wilks was there, calmly speaking to the media the day after another rough loss, absorbing questions about his mindset less than 24 hours after answering questions about his job status.

"I always tell the coaches this: There is always a (thought) bubble over a player's head as you're sitting there trying to talk to him, if you really understood what that bubble was saying back, you'd be amazed," Wilks said. "There is a bubble over my head, and if you really knew exactly how I felt inside and what it was saying, you would question my faith at times."

Wilks chuckled as he finished the comment. He also didn't want to get too details. "My mom's in town so I don't want to say those words," he added.

But as a difficult season winds down, Wilks understands why the speculation exists. He reiterated Sunday night he blocks out the inevitable "noise," and said as a man of faith, he has approached these problems – and uncertainty – like anything else.

"It's just clarity," Wilks said of his approach. "Controlling what you can control, putting your best foot forward, working hard, and trying to stay the course."

He has received words of encouragement this season from a handful of NFL coaches – former Panthers bosses Ron Rivera and Sean McDermott, Marvin Lewis, Todd Bowles.

Former Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman, who played under Wilks, tweeted out a statement to Cardinals fans Monday morning, insisting that "the NFL isn't known for having patience, but I've never been more sure that if you stay the course with Steve Wilks, he will do great things for the Arizona Cardinals."

Defensive tackle Corey Peters gave his endorsement of Wilks after the Rams game, and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald did the same.

"You grow to really love and appreciate somebody when you able to (connect) and see all the sacrifices he's making," Fitzgerald said. "It's never easy. We all know this is a results business. But it still doesn't change the human element for me and the guys on this team."

Wilks came into the season looking to develop one-on-one relationships with players. He said he's learned patience too – which is what he is hoping the Cardinals have with him in getting to a second season.

In the meantime, Wilks will remain calm amid the chaos.

"That's just who I am," Wilks said. "It's not just this season. It's throughout my whole life."

EXTRA POINTS

Wilks said he had no updates on the injuries of tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (shoulder) and tackle Korey Cunningham (foot). …

Cunningham has the "potential" to be a starter in this league, Wilks said, but he did not want to go as far as saying he will be one this early in Cunningham's development. …

For all the issues quarterback Josh Rosen has had, Wilks said, the coach has not changed his view of Rosen's potential. "I think he can be great," Wilks said.

Some of the top images from the Week 16 matchup at State Farm Stadium

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