Phil Snow expecting growing pains for Panthers defense

Getty Images

Phil Snow’s first opportunity to coordinate a defense in the NFL isn’t exactly coming with the most ideal circumstances.

Snow, who has spent most of his career coaching in college, is having to implement his defense with the Carolina Panthers despite having no chance to work in person with the players he’ll be directing this fall.

Hey, there’s really no excuses in this game and nobody wants to hear them — and we don’t give them,” Snow said, via Steve Reed of the Associated Press. “It would have been a better situation if we had been on the field the last 2 1/2 months obviously, but it is what it is.”

Snow has spent the last seven years as the defensive coordinator for Matt Rhule at Temple and Baylor before following Rhule to Charlotte to take the same role with the Panthers. The defense he’s inheriting doesn’t have Luke Kuechly, Mario Addison or James Bradberry returning from last year’s team. Former stalwarts Thomas Davis, Star Lotulelei and Josh Norman have been gone for several seasons now from the defense that helped carry the team to a Super Bowl appearance in 2015.

Snow is having to reboot the unit in a division that should produce a load of points offensively.

“I haven’t seen these guys move in person, and you’d really like to see each guy move in person so you know what they can and can’t do,” Snow said.

Snow won’t get that chance until training camps open across the NFL. Video conferencing and installs can only go so far. Snow will have plenty of leeway and time to get the Panthers Defense eventually up to speed. Until that happens, he’s aware their could be some rocky stretches.

“There’s no substitute for experience,” Snow said. “The way we all learn is we get our butts kicked. In our business, that’s how you learn. There are going to be some growing pains.”