Carolina Panthers Rumors & News

Cardinals Complete Second Interviews With Keith Armstrong, Steve Wilks

With the Giants, Colts and Lions all having head coaches likely to accept job offers, the Cardinals continue to talk to different candidates about their vacant head coaching gig. Today, the team has just completed a second interview with Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, according to Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com (Twitter link) and Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com (Twitter link).

Keith Armstrong (vertical)

Armstrong originally spoke to the team on January 8, but received a second interview request after it was revealed that other potential candidates Matt Patricia and Pat Shurmur would likely accept other jobs after their respective teams are eliminated from the postseason.

The 54-year-old Armstrong has held his special teams post in Atlanta since 2008. The Cardinals have been the only team that has requested to interview him for a head coaching role. On the other hand, Wilks has been spoken to a number of teams about their vacant head coaching gigs, including the Titans, who still have their spot open.

Arizona is still considering multiple coaches, including current defensive coordinator James Bettcher, Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo, Patriots linebacker coach Brian Flores, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chase Blackburn New Panthers ST Boss

The Panthers will be making a change atop their special teams staff. Incumbent special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey is out, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer tweets, and the Sporting News’ Alex Marvez reports (on Twitter) Chase Blackburn will now run Carolina’s special teams units. A former linebacker who won two Super Bowls with the Giants and finished his career with the Panthers, Blackburn had been working as the Panthers’ assistant ST coach for the past two years.

NFL Workout Updates: 1/17/18

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Cardinals To Interview Steve Wilks Again

The Cardinals will interview Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks a second time in relation their head coaching vacancy, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com.Steve Wilks (vertical)

[RELATED: 2018 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker]

Arizona appears to be narrowing its head coaching search, as Wilks, Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, and Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong are all slated to receive second interviews. Two other candidates — Matt Patricia and Pat Shurmur — are expected to accept head coaching positions elsewhere, while Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak has withdrawn his name from consideration. There’s no word as of yet as to whether Brian Flores, James Bettcher, or Jim Schwartz will meet with the Cardinals again.

Wilks, meanwhile, was linked to every NFL coaching vacancy this offseason with the exception of the Raiders, who had Jon Gruden as their No. 1 choice all along. Along with the Cardinals, Wilks still appears to be in contention for the Titans’ head coaching role, as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers’ Thomas Davis To Retire After 2018

Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has one more year left in him. The veteran tells Brooke Cersosimo of NFL.com (on Twitter) that the 2018 campaign will be his last. Thomas Davis (vertical)

Davis inked a one-year, $6.75MM extension with the Panthers in August, granting him $2MM this past year plus $1MM guaranteed in the coming season. He is aware that he may be asked to take a reduced role in 2018, but he might not be okay with being relegated to a backup role.

The Panthers’ Super Bowl hopes were dashed last week when they fell to the rival Saints in the opening round of the playoffs. In his swan song, Davis is hoping to capture the Super Bowl ring that has eluded him thus far in his 12-year career.

Davis finished out the year with 76 total tackles and 2.5 sacks. He appeared in 15 regular season games with his lone missed contest coming as the result of a suspension.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Hire OC Norv Turner

The Panthers have hired longtime NFL coach Norv Turner their next offensive coordinator. The news was first reported by David Newton of ESPN.com.

Turner was in Carolina on Wednesday to formally interview for the position and it didn’t take long for the two sides to hammer out an agreement. On Friday, the team made it official.

Norv Turner (vertical)

Turner’s hiring should come as no surprise, especially given that he was the first — and only — candidate mentioned following the firing of Mike Shula on Tuesday. Reports indicated the Panthers preferred to hire a veteran coach, and Turner certainly fits that bill. He’s served as a coordinator for six clubs and been a head coach for three more teams. Turner, 65, was most recently the offensive play-caller for the Vikings before abruptly resigning midway through the 2016 campaign.

In addition to his wealth of experience, Turner is also close with Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. Turner hired Rivera as an assistant coach and later defensive coordinator when both worked for the Chargers, and Turner also recommended Rivera for the Carolina job when it became open in 2011.

With the Panthers, Turner will take over a unit that boasts pieces such as quarterback Cam Newton, running back Christian McCaffrey, wide receiver Devin Funchess, and tight end Greg Olsen. Despite those options, Carolina’s offense struggled in 2017, ranking 12th in scoring, 17th in DVOA, and 19th in yards.

Meanwhile, Scott Turner will join his father in heading to Carolina, as he’ll become the Panthers’ new quarterbacks coach. The younger Turner most recently served as QBs coach at the University of Michigan, and has worked with the Panthers, Browns, and Vikings at the NFL level.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Panthers DC Steve Wilks

Latest On Mike Shula Firing

  • While the final decision to fire former offensive coordinator Mike Shula was ultimately left to Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, Rivera “kept the lines of communication” open with interim general manager Marty Hurney during the process, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

Panthers To Interview Norv Turner For OC

The Panthers will interview longtime NFL coach Norv Turner for their offensive coordinator vacancy, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), who notes Turner is the club’s “top choice.”Norv Turner (Vertical)

Carolina’s interest in Turner comes as no surprise, as Rapoport indicated earlier today that the 65-year-old was Panthers head coach Ron Rivera‘s No. 1 contender for the OC position. Additionally, Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link) reported the Panthers would likely hire a “veteran” coach to replace the fired Mike Shula, and Turner would certainly fit that bill.

Turner offers a wealth of experience, as he’s coordinated offenses for six clubs while serving as head coach for three other teams. He also enjoys a working relationship with Rivera — not only did Rivera coach under Turner with the Chargers, but Turner recommended Rivera for the top job in Carolina.

If Turner is hired, he could potentially bring his son Scott along as the Panthers’ next quarterbacks coach to replace Ken Dorsey, per Rapoport (video link). However, Carolina could have competition for Turner, as Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks could hire Turner (or Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo) as his OC if he’s hired as a head coach, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/9/18

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2018 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

  • DL Collin Bevins

Kansas City Chiefs

New Orleans Saints

Oakland Raiders

  • DB Shaquille Richardson

Philadelphia Eagles

  • C Jon Toth

Washington Redskins