Panthers’ Reich to retain special teams coordinator, offensive line coach from previous staff

Gary McCullough/AP

The Carolina Panthers will keep at least two members of Matt Rhule’s former coaching staff.

New Panthers head coach Frank Reich, who was hired last week, met with the existing staff members on Monday. Reich has decided to retain special teams coordinator Chris Tabor and offensive line coach James Campen, a source with knowledge of the situation confirmed.

The Athletic was the first to report the retention of Campen and Tabor.

Rhule hired Campen and Tabor last offseason and both coaches greatly improved their units.

Campen helped solidify the offensive line this past season after the team signed right guard Austin Corbett and center Bradley Bozeman in free agency and selected left tackle Ikem Ekwonu with the sixth overall pick in last year’s draft.

The Panthers allowed 52 sacks in 2021, but cut down that total to 36 this past season under Campen. The Panthers also finished 10th in the league with 2,210 rushing yards.

Tabor oversaw league-leading performances by his specialists. Punter Johnny Hekker set a franchise record with 39 punts downed within the opponent’s 20-yard line — a total that also led the league. Kicker Eddy Piñeiro led the league with a 94.2% conversion rate on field-goal attempts. Piñeiro also made his final 19 field-goal attempts to close out the season.

Earlier this month, Tabor’s group finished fourth on reporter Rich Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings. That mark was the Panthers’ best ranking on the list since 2003 when the unit finished in second. The Panthers ranked 28th on the list in 2021.

Interim head coach Steve Wilks offered a goodbye message of sorts on Friday. In the social media message, Wilks wrote that he wished Reich “all the best.” Interim defensive coordinator Al Holcomb will also leave Carolina following the hiring of Reich, a league source told The Observer on Monday.

The Panthers are set to introduce Reich to the media on Tuesday.