The Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule earlier today, but he wasn’t the only member of the team’s staff to receive his walking papers. Defensive coordinator Phil Snow has also been let go, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link).
The 66-year-old has been a longtime lieutenant of Rhule’s. The pair worked together at Temple and Baylor from 2013-19, making it little surprise that they were both hired by the Panthers in 2020. That move marked only the second NFL gig for Snow, who spent four years on the Lions’ sidelines from 2005-08.
During his two full seasons in Carolina, Snow was tasked with overseeing a defense which added a plethora of young pieces. In the 2020 draft, the Panthers notably used each of their selections on defense, a class led by defensive tackle Derrick Brown. That year, the team ranked 18th in the league in both points and yards allowed. Significant improvement was seen last season, as Carolina climbed to second in terms of yardage.
That shifted attention to the offensive side of the ball with respect to improvements in 2022. The Panthers’ inability to find sustained success in the passing game in particular stressed Snow’s unit even more than usual, leading to below-averaging rankings across the board. As a result, Snow will join Rhule in seeking new employment. The same is also true of special teams assistant Ed Foley, who likewise has ties to Rhule (Twitter link via Joe Person of The Athletic).
In the aftermath of Rhule’s dismissal, some wondered if interim HC Steve Wilks would assume defensive play-calling duties. Instead, it appears that responsibility will be given to Al Holcomb, Rapoport tweets. The 51-year-old spent five seasons as the Panther’s linebackers coach before following Wilks to Arizona in 2018. That tandem lasted just one season in the desert, as the team finished with a 3-13 record. Now, though, they will have the opportunity to resume their respective roles as they look to right the ship in Charlotte.