CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones reported Sunday that Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson is in the lead to win the Carolina Panthers head coaching job. However, the franchise could be looking to pair the young offensive mind with an experienced defensive mind.
Per The Athletic, the Panthers interviewed former Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio for their defensive coordinator position. Fangio was fired by Denver following the 2021 season after he went 19-30 as head coach. The 64-year-old has spent this season as a defensive consultant for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Fangio was actually the first defensive coordinator the Panthers ever had, as he served the franchise from 1995-98. Carolina went 12-4 in its second season, and made it all the way to the NFC Championship game. Fangio has also served as the defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears.
Fangio led the No. 3 defense in the NFL in 2018 during his tenure with Chicago, a unit which allowed a league-leading 80 rushing yards per game. Fangio won AP NFL Assistant Coach of the Year, and earned the Broncos head coaching job in the offseason.
Former Panthers defensive coordinator Phil Snow was fired after Matt Rhule was let go in October. Al Holcomb was elevated to interim defensive coordinator, but he's received some interest on the coaching carousel, as the Atlanta Falcons reportedly requested permission from Carolina to interview him for their defensive coordinator position, per ESPN.