Panthers fire coaches Brady Hoke, Jeff Imamura

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A disappointing Carolina Panthers defense is making changes.

The Panthers announced on Monday they have fired defensive line coach Brady Hoke and cornerbacks coach Jeff Imamura.

"In my judgment, I felt this was best for the team moving forward," coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. "These are always difficult decisions, and I thank Brady and Jeff for their hard work."

The team confirmed that defensive coordinator Eric Washington's job is safe and he will continue to oversee the defensive front seven. Rivera will continue to call plays and have a heavier influence on the secondary moving forward.

The moves come as the Panthers are mired in a four-game losing streak that put their playoff hopes in peril.

While the offense found new life under Norv Turner, Rivera's defense has capsized after years of keeping the operation afloat. After Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- a team the Panthers has walloped a month earlier -- Carolina has generated one takeaway since Week 10 after earning 15 in the first eight games.

The Panthers defense entered the week struggling to get pressure on the quarterback and failing to cover on the back end:

Weeks 1-9: 32.4 percent pressure rate (2nd in NFL)
Weeks 10-12: 20.2 percent pressure rate (26th in NFL)
Panthers CBs: 144.8 passer rating allowed in Weeks 10-12 -- 84.2 in Weeks 1-9.
Panthers safeties: 149.8 passer rating allowed in Weeks 10-12 -- 109.6 in Weeks 1-9.

After those stats didn't improve in another loss, Rivera felt a change was needed to try and save the season.

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