Ex-Panthers linebacker promoted to special teams coordinator in latest coaching move

Ex-Panthers linebacker promoted to special teams coordinator in latest coaching move

CHARLOTTE, NC (Joseph Person/The Charlotte Observer) - The Carolina Panthers' staff shakeup continued this week when the team did not renew the contract of special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey, according to team sources.

The Panthers will promote Chase Blackburn, the former Giants and Panthers linebacker who assisted McGaughey the past two seasons.

The moves follow last week's announcement that the Panthers had fired offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey.

Head coach Ron Rivera moved quickly to hire Norv Turner as Shula's replacement. Scott Turner, Norv's son, is rejoining Rivera's staff as quarterbacks coach.

McGaughey, who oversaw a productive special teams unit in 2017, opted not to sign a contract rollover last offseason and had begun exploring other opportunities, sources said. McGaughey has interviewed for a position with Cleveland and is expected to meet with Giants general manager Dave Gettleman about joining New York's staff, according to one of the sources.

McGaughey was hired in 2016 to assist Bruce DeHaven with the Panthers' special teams.

McGaughey took over for DeHaven during training camp that year when DeHaven's health forced him into an advisory role. DeHaven died after a lengthy battle with cancer in December 2016.

The Panthers led the league and tied a team record with three blocked field goals in McGaughey's first season. Carolina also was first in kickoff coverage, thanks in large part to Graham Gano's touchbacks.

Gano and punter Michael Palardy both had productive seasons under McGaughey in 2017.

Gano, who's headed to his first Pro Bowl, led the NFL in field goal accuracy during the regular season by converting 29 of 30 attempts. His 96.7 accuracy rate also broke a team record.

Palardy finished the regular season ranked sixth in the NFL in net punting (42.4 yards) after beating out veteran Andy Lee for the job during the preseason.

Blackburn followed Gettleman from the Giants to Carolina in 2013. He was a linebacker and special teams regular for the Panthers for the final two seasons of his 10-year career.