For a second straight year, Ejiro Evero has been denied permission to interview for a defensive coordinator job. The Panthers’ intention to overhaul their operation does not yet mean Evero is gone, and they are keeping him in place for the time being.
Carolina blocked a Jacksonville effort to interview Evero for its newly vacant DC post, ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweets. The Panthers have been linked to viewing Evero as a potential HC, and Fowler adds the team will indeed interview its defensive play-caller for the top job.
This is similar to the start of Evero’s 2023 offseason, when the Broncos had hoped to retain him after their 2022 defense fared well. Evero still interviewed for every HC position last year, including Carolina’s, with teams unable to block coordinators from HC meetings. Before the Broncos hired Sean Payton, the team blocked the assistant from interviewing for the Falcons’ DC job.
The Jaguars dismissed Mike Caldwell after two seasons as DC, firing most of their defensive staff as well. While the Jags are set to have a fourth defensive coordinator in five years, they have not previously been connected to Evero, who had spent five years as a Rams assistant under Sean McVay. Four of those Los Angeles seasons featured Evero as a safeties coach, but after McVay elevated him to DBs coach for the team’s 2021 Super Bowl-winning season, the assistant’s stock has skyrocketed.
Evero’s defense kept the Broncos in many games during an otherwise miserable 2022 season. He became the rare assistant from a 5-12 team to be coveted across the board by HC-needy teams. Evero did not land one of the five available jobs last year, but after a meeting with Payton did not produce a partnership, the Broncos let Evero out of his contract. That led to the Panthers hiring him to run their defense under Frank Reich. Despite Evero not being Carolina’s interim HC following Reich’s firing, rumors emerged indicating the team’s defensive play-caller could stay. This would mean either Evero makes an unlikely climb into the HC chair or stays in his DC role under the next Carolina leader.
The Panthers ranked 29th in scoring defense but fourth in yards allowed. This marked Evero’s second straight season with a top-10 total defense; the Broncos ranked seventh in yardage last season. DVOA tells a different story, ranking Carolina’s defense 25th. Still, the Panthers are not letting Evero leave just yet. While it would surprise if the team promoted from within after a 2-15 season, assistant GM Dan Morgan is a candidate to succeed Scott Fitterer.