1. His father is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Sam Mills Jr. played linebacker for the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers 1986 to 1997. He made the Pro Bowl five times, earned second-team All-Pro twice and was named first-team All-Pro with Carolina in 1996. After his playing career ending, he coached with the Panthers from 1998-04.
In addition to making the College Football Hall of Fame, he was the first player inducted to the Panthers' Hall of Honor. He's also the only player in franchise history to have his number retired.
And if that's not enough, he was recently named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
His son never played in the NFL, but he has plenty of NFL coaching experience. After all, he joins the Redskins after spending the past 15 years assisting the Panthers' defense.
2. Since 2012, no group of defensive linemen produced more sacks (368) than Mills' group in Carolina.
Mills began his coaching career as a strength and conditioning coach and defensive assistant in 2005, then spent the next five seasons as a defensive quality control coach.
But ever since becoming the assistant defensive line coach in 2011, he's helped guide one of the best pass-rushing units in the NFL. He's coached nearly all of the franchise's all-time sack leaders, such as Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson, and worked closely with current Panthers Mario Addison, Kawann Short and Gerald McCoy. All the while, the defensive front tormented opposing quarterbacks.
These groups have also been able to stop the run. Since 2012, the Panthers rank sixth in the NFL with 104.2 rushing yards allowed per game. They've also had a top six rushing defense in three of the past six seasons.
3. He served as the Panthers' game management coach last season.
In addition to serving as the defensive line coach the past two seasons, Mills added the title of game management coach ahead of the 2019 campaign.
"Sam sees the game from a different perspective," Rivera said in a press release announcing the move. "He's very interested in how the league operates, how the game operates. By that I mean he's a guy that pays attention to the rules, he pays attention to replay and he understands time management and score management."
Mills assisted Rivera with "clock management, replay challenges and other situational football analysis," according to his bio on the team website. He was a trusted voice Rivera could count on when faced with difficult decisions.
With that in mind, it was not surprising that Rivera hired Mills once he became the Redskins' head coach. He's someone who's shown the ability to get the most out of his position group while assisting with crucial game-day responsibilities.
4. He was a head coach in the 2019 East-West Shrine Game.
Mills makes a living coaching NFL defensive linemen, but he also has experience working with college players.
He was a member of the coaching staff for the 2018 East-West Shrine Bowl, which is the longest running college all-star football game in the nation. A year later, he served as the head coach of the East squad.
"It's an honor just to be a part of the game in general, and now I'm really, really excited about being the head coach," Mills said in a release announcing the news. "I've had a lot of experience on offense, defense and special teams with this game. I've worked with some great coaches."
These events also allowed Mills to provide the Panthers with in-depth scouting reports on a host of draft prospects.
"It gives us an opportunity to have somebody hands-on evaluating all these players," Mills added. "It's great to have an inside guy."
5. He inherits a young and talented group in Washington.
Mills with have plenty to work with in his first season with the Redskins.
The defensive front includes four former first-round picks in Jonathan Allen, Ryan Kerrigan, Daron Payne and Montez Sweat. Add in Redskins sack leader Matt Ioannidis, nose tackle Tim Settle and edge rusher Ryan Anderson, and that makes a deep and youthful unit bursting with potential.
There's also a chance Washington selects Chase Young with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. If that's the case, Mills will spearhead perhaps the most talented group in the NFL.