Panthers Interview Vic Fangio For DC Position

The Panthers are in the midst of a head coaching search, but they are spending time meeting with potential defensive coordinators as well. Their most recent action on that front involved a prominent name.

Carolina conducted an interview with Vic Fangio for their DC position, per Joe Person of The Athletic (Twitter link). That news comes not long after the team was granted permission by the Saints to interview Sean Payton for their head coaching vacancy, an interesting development given the fact that a trade sending him to Charlotte would represent a rare intra-divisional swap.

Payton and Fangio were linked in the build-up to this year’s cycle, so it comes as little surprise that the Panthers are showing interest in both. The latter served as Carolina’s first ever defensive coordinator, holding the role for four seasons in the 1990s. He went on to serve in the same capacity for the Colts, Texans, 49ers and Bears in the following years, during which time he established himself as a highly successful defensive mind.

The 64-year-old followed that up with a three-year stint as head coach of the Broncos, his only time as a bench boss at any coaching level. His 19-30 record in Denver left him unemployed in 2022, and he has made it clear any return to the sidelines in the NFL would likely come in the form of another DC post. His success in that role would be welcomed by a Panthers team which relied on its performance on that side of the ball to stay in contention in the NFC South late into the campaign.

Carolina is expected to target an offensive-minded bench boss as their full-time Matt Rhule replacement, something which is generally reflected by their list of candidates generated so far. While Payton would constitute a significant add on that side of the ball, a number of younger options could be available; should one of them ultimately become the team’s hire, Fangio would bring a wealth of experience to their new-look staff.

Of course, interim HC Steve Wilks has already interviewed for the permanent position, one for which he has the backing of the team’s players. Carolina sticking with the ex-Cardinals HC could allow Al Holcomb to remain in place at the helm of the team’s defense. The Panthers are also interested in meeting with Jets safeties coach Marquand Manuel for the DC role, so their response to Fangio’s interview (especially relative to their level of desire in acquiring Payton) will be worth watching in the coming days.

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