The Washington Commanders have fired defensive line coach Sam Mills III, coach Ron Rivera announced Tuesday.
Assistant defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina was promoted to lead the D-line.
Reports of angst between Mills and the defensive line surfaced this offseason after the group underperformed in 2021. But Rivera noted that the decision to fire Mills stemmed from more recent philosophical differences.
“It’s about this offseason and training camp,” Rivera said.
Mills has a long history with Rivera, dating back to their time together on the Carolina Panthers staff. Mills was hired as the Commanders’ D-line coach in 2020 when Rivera took over in Washington.
“Very difficult. I’ve known Sam a long time, and (he’s) a very good football coach,” Rivera said of their relationship. “And I really appreciate everything that he’s done. He helped us win the division the first year, and things got tough last year. There were some things I felt I wanted to change.”
Mills’ father, Sam Mills, was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past weekend.