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Report: Steve Wilks’ firing “seems a foregone conclusion”

The Panthers need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive as they welcome the Saints to Carolina for a big NFC South showdown on MNF.

As the final Sunday of the regular season approaches, a team that saw its head coach retire a year ago could now have a vacancy arising in the more traditional way.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic characterizes the looming termination of first-year head coach Steve Wilks “seems a foregone conclusion.”

That’s a phrase Somers likely crafted carefully, choosing the right words to communicate the current sentiment, without putting a clear stake in the ground that Wilks is definitely out -- since it’s entirely possible that the final decision hasn’t been made, and that if there’s a current lean by the organization something could, in theory, change it.

The notion of a coach getting only one year on the job always sparks surprise, but the reality is that plenty of coaches have found themselves out after only one year on the job. Wilks would join the likes of Chip Kelly and Jim Tomsula, a pair of back-to-back one-and-done coaches with the 49ers in 2016 and 2015, respectively. Before that were Browns coach Rob Chudzinski (2013), Jags coach Mike Mularkey (2012), Raider coach Hue Jackson (2011), Seahawks coach Jim Mora (2009), and Dolphins coach Cam Cameron (2007).

Other coaches fired after one season since 1980 include Art Shell (Raiders, 2006), Marty Schottenhimer (Washington, 2001), Ray Rhodes (Packers, 1999), Joe Bugel (Raiders, 1997), Pete Carroll (Jets, 1994), Richie Petitbon (Washington, 1993), Rod Rust (Patriots, 1990), and Les Steckel (Vikings, 1984).

The broader question will be whether the Cardinals also will fire G.M. Steve Keim. He seemed to be on thin ice after an arrest for extreme DUI, the misguided decision to pay more than $15 million for one year to Sam Bradford, and whatever role Keim had in the hiring of Wilks. But Somers believes Keim’s history will get him at least one more year. (It also helps to have a strong relationship with owner Michael Bidwill.)

And so, as the season comes to an end, it appears that Wilks will be, and that Keim will be safe. Ultimately, however, nothing is done until it’s done. Or as the case may be not done.