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Ejiro Evero expected to stay on as Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator

Carolina Panthers Ejiro Evero, center, watches the team battle the Dallas Cowboys during second half action at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC on Sunday, November 19, 2023. The Cowboys defeated the Panthers 33-10.

It appears that Ejiro Evero’s future in Carolina has been determined.

A league source told The Observer on Monday the Panthers are operating as if Evero, the team’s defensive coordinator in 2023, will remain in Carolina in 2024. Evero supervised one of the top defenses in the NFL last season, even as its offensive counterpart struggled.

Evero’s retention indicates a commitment to much of the team’s defensive staff in an effort to maintain some continuity as the Dave Canales era dawns.

ESPN and The Athletic reported Evero would return.

Evero, 43, was in the mix on several head coaching interviews, including with the Seattle Seahawks, the Atlanta Falcons and the Panthers. He was blocked by Carolina’s ownership when teams requested to interview him for their defensive coordinator positions, a show of a desire to keep Evero early on. Canales then made it clear he wanted Evero to return in his introductory press conference — calling him a “huge piece of what we’re doing” — but his future wasn’t confirmed until Monday.

Evero’s season with the Panthers was a good one. Despite being dealt a rough hand with injuries — particularly in the secondary — Carolina only allowed 293.9 total yards a game, which was fourth-fewest in the NFL. Most of that success flowed through a formidable pass defense. The unit averaged a 171.5 passing yards against all season — third-best in the league — and only allowed four quarterbacks to throw for more than 200 yards on the year, per Stat Muse.

And that’s without mentioning how Evero’s 3-4 scheme seemed to get the most out of Derrick Brown, the Panthers’ lone Pro Bowl representative in 2023 who was dubbed internally as the “best run defender in the NFL.”

By the end of the season, leaders on the Panthers defense made it clear that they wanted their whole unit to stay intact. That included the defensive staff, but it also included a slew of young, talented players — including linebackers and unrestricted agents Brian Burns and Frankie Luvu.

Canales always appeared to be high on Evero. After the Panthers held the Tampa Bay Bucanneers to nine points and no touchdowns in the regular-season finale, Canales told local media in Tampa Bay: “Let’s first give credit where credit is due: EJ Evero, he’s done a fantastic job against us, and just in general this year, if you look at some of their numbers.”

The Canales coaching staff is being put together quickly. The Panthers are expected to have Brad Idzik join the Panthers as offensive coordinator, and the team has locked in a few other offensive assistant coaches. Among them: Harold Goodwin as assistant head coach/run game coordinator, Rob Moore as wide receivers coach, Bernie Parmalee as running backs coach and Joe Gilbert as offensive line coach.