Last year Panthers fans were stunned but not surprised with the swift response from Julius Peppers, when he said he wanted out of Carolina; even saying that if they put the franchise tag on him, he would demand a trade or hold out.
This offseason, drama of a different sort has unraveled. A lot of this could be blamed on media hype and wanting a story to report. Heck, I’m adding my own spin on the topic.
The hot topic in Carolina is actually overshadowing Julius Peppers’ future as a Panther! The latest on John Fox has gone from him being non-committal about his future as head coach after Sunday’s win over New Orleans, to predicting he’d be here (in Carolina) next year at this time; now he’s reported to be interested in the head coaching position with the Cleveland Browns.
So we’ve gone from one end of the spectrum, to some semblance of normalcy/security, and now we’re back to guessing on what Fox plans on doing in the upcoming days and weeks?
I want to see John Fox return to Carolina next year. I will be upfront with you. I know he’s not the popular coaching fixture among most fans of the Panthers right now, but he’s not the worst, either.
It’s not because I’m a John Fox sympathizer, rather it’s a level of comfort in his style of coaching. I know what to expect from him. Call it a blind faith of sorts.
Perhaps it’s a poor choice of words, but with the way this team finished late in the season, I really want to see if it can get back into the playoffs next year with the as much of the coaching staff and players it has, and hopefully some good free agent acquisitions, coupled with a decent draft, minus a first-round pick. More on that in another story.
Now that the laughter has subsided…
I don’t like coaches who make a scene about minor discrepancies on game day and then look catatonic (a-la the Giants’ Tom Coughlin) when they should be screaming and throwing a challenge flag.
I don’t like coaches who scream on the sideline about everything, either.
Everyone has their style of motivation, and everyone has their preference of coaching styles. My preference is in the following paragraph.
Last on my list of dislikes are coaches who stand steadfast showing little emotion. But it’s that style of coaching that I respect. Bill Belichick, John Fox, Jeff Fisher, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, or Andy Reid. These are guys (to name a few) who coach or have coached with a level of professionalism that put them ahead of coaches like Eric Mangini.
They don’t throw their players under the proverbial bus that is mainstream media. Everything is kept in house, unless an outspoken player feels it’s his place to voice his opinion to the media.
For John Fox to go to Cleveland, Eric Mangini will have to be fired first…which isn’t saying a whole lot. However, the fact remains. The latest in that situation isn’t a whole lot, other than Mangini quickly left the team facility Wednesday evening after meeting with new GM Mike Holmgren. Mangini’s minions (coaching staff) left the grounds, as well.
So it doesn’t take a degree in Quantum Physics to figure that things probably aren’t copacetic between Holmgren and Mangini right now.
In the event Fox decides to go to Cleveland, Jerry Richardson would be willing to agree to a contract settlement to get out of the roughly $6 million owed to Fox for 2010. It has also been said that the Browns would probably throw in an undisclosed amount of draft picks in the deal.
But now here’s the twist. Rather than hiring an expensive coach like Bill Cowher, I could see Richardson promoting from within the organization. The reason being a potential owners’ lockout in 2011, since a new Collective bargaining Agreement still has not been reached.
Why pay a coach roughly $10 million for a year when there’s no football being played?
It’s not that the Panthers are a penny-pinching organization, but they’re going to make good business decisions in a time of uncertainty. Decisions that save money.
So who gets the “promotion” from within the organization? Well to start, offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson should be the prime candidate. Defensive coordinator Ron Meeks would also likely be considered.
To me, either of these potential candidates proabably couldn’t do any worse than Fox.
Davidson is familiar with the system, and he would make sure there is a competition at the quarterback position in 2010, provided he doesn’t name Matt Moore the starter first.
At the end of the day, this is all hypothetical to an extent. The possibilities are very real, but no drastic changes worth noting have taken place so far. So until they do, stay tuned and keep checking back!
Also, if you haven’t already, go to www.catcraveradio.com and listen to John White’s latest Podcast (Episode 93) on our Carolina Panthers.