New Panthers coach John Fox didn't waste much time in starting to put his staff together, signing Baltimore linebackers coach Jack Del Rio as defensive coordinator. The former player is credited with developing one of the top linebacker units in the league, and was in line to be elevated to defensive coordinator in Baltimore if Marvin Lewis had left for another job. Detroit also made a run at Del Rio as defensive coordinator.
Del Rio spent 11 years in the NFL as a player...beginning with the Saints (1985-86) and and continuing with Kansas City (1987-88), Dallas (1989-91) and Minnesota (1992-1995). This past season, Lewis gave him more input in game-plan strategy.
The Panthers will retain four of their assistants under George Seifert: Richard Williamson, Sam Mills, Paul Boudreau and Scott O'Brien. Williamson has been with the club since its' inception, serving as receivers coach most of the time, but was also offensive coordinator the last year and a half. It's expected he'll return to his previous receivers role. Mills worked with the linebackers last year, and is a former Panthers player. He is well-liked in the organization. Boudreau (offensive line) and O'Brien (special teams) each just finished his first year with the club. Boudreau sparked a major turn-around in the offensive line play this year, and O'Brien was the man behind a special teams unit that is sending two players to the Pro Bowl.