Panthers Request Permission To Interview Marquand Manuel For Coordinator Position

The Panthers have requested permission to interview Jets safeties coach Marquand Manuel for “a coordinator position,” per Jeremy Fowler of (via Twitter). Presumably, Carolina is interested in installing Manuel as its defensive coordinator.

Manuel, 43, enjoyed an eight-year playing career in the NFL from 2002-09 and joined the coaching ranks as an assistant special teams coach with the Seahawks in 2012. He worked as the Falcons’ defensive coordinator from 2017-18, but Atlanta finished in the bottom-five in total defense in 2018 after boasting a top-10 unit the year before, and the team parted ways with Manuel at the conclusion of the campaign.

After one year as a DBs coach with the Eagles in 2020, Manuel joined Robert Saleh‘s first Jets staff in 2021 and has served as Gang Green’s safeties coach over the past two seasons. The Jets allowed the fourth-fewest yards per game and the third-fewest passing yards per game in 2022, which is certainly a feather in Manuel’s cap (though this is the first time we have heard of outside interest in his services in the current coaching cycle).

Of particular interest here is what the interview request could mean for Steve Wilks‘ candidacy as the Panthers’ head coach. Wilks, who stepped in as interim HC upon Matt Rhule‘s ouster in October, guided the club to a surprising 6-6 finish to the season, and he nearly captured a division title in the process. He also appears to have the full support of his locker room.

Nonetheless, as David Newton of tweets, Al Holcomb is Wilks’ defensive coordinator. So if the team is going in a different direction at DC, it could mean that it is, by extension, planning on going in a different direction at head coach.

While two of Carolina’s HC candidates, Jerod Mayo and Jim Harbaugh, are no longer in the running, there are nine other options (including Wilks) as of the time of his writing. The full list is as follows, and the majority of the remaining candidates have an offensive background, which Wilks does not have but which may be a priority for team ownership:

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