Phil Snow

Coaching Notes: Titans, Lions, Browns, Panthers

The Titans have fired linebackers coach Tyrone McKenzie, according to veteran reporter Paul Kuharsky (via Twitter). The 2009 third-rounder will be moving on to a role on the Lions staff (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com).

Following an underwhelming playing career, McKenzie joined the Rams as an assistant special teams coach during the 2017 season. He joined the Tennessee coaching staff prior to the 2018 campaign, and he’s been in the role for the past two seasons.

The 45-year-old has plenty of familiarity with Lions head coach Matt Patricia, as Patricia served as the Patriots linebackers coach during McKenzie’s stint as a player in New England. He’ll presumably take on a role with the linebackers in Detroit.

Let’s check out some more coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • The Browns are hiring Jeff Howard as their passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach, reports NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (via Twitter). Howard, who spent the previous seven seasons with the Vikings organization, has worked with head coach Kevin Stefanski. He’ll be joining a defensive coaching staff that’s expected to be helmed by 49ers defensive backs coach Joe Woods, who’s expected to be named defensive coordinator.
  • After spending the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Baylor, Phil Snow recently joined the Panthers in the same position. The veteran coach spoke with media members yesterday, and he discussed the role that new Panthers head coach (and former Baylor head coach) Matt Rhule played in his hiring. “Well, I’ve known Coach Rhule since 2001, and our roles have completely changed,” Snow said (via the team’s website). “He was my graduate assistant when I was a defensive coordinator at UCLA, and now I’m working for him. We’ve got great respect for each other, he’s really a good football man, really a good head football coach. Players like him, he gets to know them, but we’ve just had a great relationship. When he took the Carolina job, he asked me if I’d come as a coordinator and I said yes, so here we are.”
  • We learned yesterday that veteran Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia had decided to retire.

Panthers Hire Phil Snow As DC

The Panthers announced that they have hired Phil Snow as their new defensive coordinator. Snow has spent the last seven years as Rhule’s DC and they’ll continue their partnership in Charlotte.

[RELATED: Panthers Eyeing No. 1 Pick?]

Snow spent four years as Rhule’s DC at Temple before following him to Baylor, where they’ve spent the last three years together. Rhule, meanwhile, has always made it known that he wanted to put together his own staff at the pro level. Last year, he rejected the Jets’ offer when the club insisted on picking out his assistants for him given his lack of previous NFL experience. He held firm, stayed at Baylor for another year, and wound up with full autonomy (and a deal that could pay up to $70MM) with the Panthers.

Snow comes with some NFL experience, having served as the Lions’ linebackers coach from 2005 to 2008. At the collegiate level, he’s delivered impressive results. In 2019, Baylor ranked 41st in the nation in total defense, and finished second in takeaways (30), third in interceptions (17), eighth in sacks per game (3.31), and fifth in turnover margin (1.08). During Snow’s final year with the Bears, Baylor defensive tackle James Lynch finished fifth in the nation in sacks (13.5) while cornerback Grayland Arnold ranked fifth in interceptions (6).

Panthers Eyeing Phil Snow For DC Role

Matt Rhule‘s move from Waco, Texas, to Charlotte will likely result in another coach making the same trip. Rhule has identified Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow for the same role with the Panthers, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets.

This prospect surfaced earlier this week, when it looked like the Giants were the better bet to hire Rhule. But now, it will be the Panthers who will be expected to bring the 64-year-old Baylor DC to head up their defense.

Snow has served as defensive coordinator for eight college programs dating back to the early 1980s. He’s been DC at UCLA, Washington, Arizona State and worked with Rhule as the Temple and Baylor defensive boss. Baylor’s defense ranked 19th nationally this past season. In Rhule’s final season at Temple, in 2016, the Owls’ defense ranked third nationally.

Snow first became a Division I-FBS defensive coordinator with Boise State in 1983. His NFL experience came on Steve Mariucci and Rod Marinelli‘s Lions staffs from 2005-08. He served as Marinelli’s linebackers coach from 2006-08.

In addition to Snow, Rhule has been linked to Lions quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan as his offensive coordinator. That move also is not yet official. Baylor linebackers coach Mike Siravo is also a candidate to join Rhule’s defensive staff in Charlotte, per Person.