Carolina Panthers set to promote Eric Washington to defensive coordinator

The Carolina Panthers are moving quickly to fill their vacancy at defensive coordinator.

After losing defensive coordinator Steve Wilks to the Arizona Cardinals, the Panthers will reportedly name defensive line coach Eric Washington as their new coordinator, according to multiple reports Monday.

Wilks was officially named as the head coach of Arizona on Monday.

Washington spent the previous seven seasons as Carolina’s defensive line coach. According to the Charlotte Observer, management constructed a deal with him to keep him from leaving after his contract expired following the season.

During Washington’s tenure, the Panthers placed in the top 10 in sacks in five of the past six seasons. They were first in 2013, second in 2016 and third last season.

In 2016, Carolina’s defensive line was responsible for 35 of the Panthers’ 47 sacks, which was the second-most in the NFL. During the past two seasons, he helped undrafted defensive end Mario Addison record 20 sacks and Kawann Short get named to his first Pro Bowl following the 2016 campaign.

In the 2014 wild card win over Arizona, Carolina’s defense allowed 78 total net yards. In 2013, the Panthers led the league with 60 sacks, as the defensive line recorded 40 sacks.

Before joining Carolina, Washington worked with the Chicago Bears for three seasons. He was promoted to defensive line coach in 2010, when the Bears ranked ninth in total defense.

Washington, who was a tight end at Grambling State, also was Northwestern’s defensive line coach from 2004 to 2007. He also spent one season at Texas A&M and three at Ohio University.

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