ASHBURN, Va. (DC News Now) — Over the last few years, the Commanders defensive has been its biggest strength. On Tuesday, the team made an unusual move during training camp involving the defensive line.

The team announced the firing of defensive line coach Sam Mills III Tuesday, promoting assistant defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina to the position.

“I woke up this morning, had no idea. I came out to practice. I’m the same person,” Zgonina said. “Like I said earlier, I’m not changing. So I don’t look at it as anything. I look at it as an opportunity to get all these men a championship. That’s the goal and that’s not gonna change.”

Mills has worked with head coach Ron Rivera for more than 10 seasons in Carolina and Washington, so this can’t be an easy move for Rivera to make.

“Very difficult, very difficult. I’ve known Sam [Mills III] a long time and he’s a very good football coach and, and I really appreciate everything he’s done,” Rivera said. “He helped us win a division our first year and, you know, and just things got tough last year, but there’s some things that I felt I wanted to change.”

Last year, the Commanders defense had expectations to be one of the best in the league, but struggled, particularly in points and yards allowed, forcing turnovers and getting off the field on third downs.

“I just want to see them continue to grow and get better and get themselves ready for this season,” Rivera said.