Say what you want about this years Carolina Panthers team and their record, it’s been disappointing at best. The vaunted running game was mostly non-existent, the QB play was worse. Defensively it wasn’t much better. Scroll the main site here on Cat Crave and you will see that Bill Cowher and Jim Harbaugh lead the polling to who should be hired as the next HC.
While John Fox coaches his last game as a Panther at home, the players on the field will be playing for a little more than “pride”. Consider this an audition tape for their next HC.
It can be said that players should have been playing for next years team for awhile now, but the last three weeks will tell you more about a teams make-up than the months prior to that. Especially when you know that a coach is not going to be retained.
When Bill Parcells took over the Miami Dolphins with two weeks left in the regular season, it was more than the coach that was auditioning for a job. The players on the field were as well.
In those final two weeks, Parcells saw enough of what he needed than at any time prior to that final stretch. He saw who quit, who was still firing off the line, and who was a leader. After the season the HC was gone, the GM was gone, both starting QB’s were gone, and the teams perennial Pro-Bowl DE Jason Taylor was gone. In all 25 players from that 1-15 team were gone the final year when the new GM and HC took the team.
While that is not to say that the next HC of the Carolina Panthers will follow suit, it is something that the players and some of the assistant coaches may want to realize. Playing hard the final three weeks of a horrid season may very well keep you around under a new HC and management team the following season. Players like WR Brandon Lafell who will be showcasing his resume in the off-season for a starting role. Or at the very least a more involved one.
A player like Mike Goodson can make a strong case for the team keeping him over DeAngelo Williams next season. Eliminating some salary and getting younger in the process. It literally is up and down the board. Players that stand out in one system don’t always pan out in another. So what ever coach Jerry Richardson plans to bring in during the off-season will pull the final three weeks of tape and see who played and who went through the motions. Today is the first day of that audition tape.