Panthers dismiss 3 coaches, including special teams coordinator

CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) – The Carolina Panthers fired three assistant coaches on Tuesday, including offensive special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn …

CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) – The Carolina Panthers fired three assistant coaches on Tuesday, including special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn, offensive line coach Pat Meyer and defensive line coach Frank Okam.

Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer said on Monday that the team’s main goal during the offseason was to improve their offensive and defensive lines, saying success “starts from the front.”

The Carolina offensive line has struggled all season, and quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Cam Newton have spent most of the season under duress. The Panthers have allowed 52 sacks, the fifth-most in the NFL, and the team finished 5-12 and lost their last seven games.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule said ahead of the team’s season finale that the organization needs to make a “real investment” on the offensive line. The Panthers have the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft.

Defensive end Brian Burns made the Pro Bowl, but the Panthers want more production from the defensive line, which led to Okam leaving. Overall, the Carolina defense did well with 39 sacks in the 2021 season, which placed 15th in the league and the defense finished second overall. Okam was on Rhule’s staff at Baylor and was promoted to assistant defensive line coach last season.

Blackburn was a holdover from former head coach Ron Rivera’s staff.

The Panthers used four different kickers and three different bettors.

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