The Carolina Panthers are officially on the clock. On the clock for the NFL Draft in April, with the first pick in that draft, and on the clock for a new HC. John Fox was bid farewell after yesterday’s thumping by the Atlanta Falcons. It ended his 9 year run in with owner Jerry Richardson.
The head coaching search for the Panthers should start today while Fox cleans out his office. As of today, only two other teams, the San Francisco 49′ers and the Denver Broncos are looking for a HC. So the competition for names like Gruden and Cowher are low.
San Fran is reportedly making a push for Sanford HC Jim Harbaugh and frankly, Carolina has no draw there. Harbaugh will be in demand both from possible NFL franchises as well as his Alma Mater, Michigan.
So while other fans wait to see if the hammer will drop on their teams HC’s, the Panthers have a head start. Will they take it?
The NFL was expecting four other vacancies today when the season ended. Dallas and Minnesota decided to keep their interim HC’s, Jason Garrett and Leslie Frasiert repectively. Houston and the New York Giants opted to keep their incumbents. Gary Kubiak and Tom Coughlin.
So that leaves Carolina, Denver, and San Francisco.
Across the NFL a couple more heads could roll. Oakland may part with Tom Cable and Miami may part with Tony Sparano. Neither are options for the Panthers, but one coach that has yet to learn of his future may be.
Fisher has been sparring with Bud Adams the owner of the Tennessee Titans for a few years now and this years debacle may be enough to push the owner into releasing Fisher from his contract.
If this happens, the longest tenured coach in the NFL could very well be the coach for the Carolina Panthers and may be the best option.
Cowher would be the first choice but he want’s control. Gruden doesn’t seem to fit the Jerry Richardson profile as he much more vocal and there is something about him that can rub some the wrong way.
Fisher however is a players coach. He is disciplined and tough and fair. He won’t seek power and he will be content to do what he enjoys doing, coaching. Still young enough to make another long tenure, Fisher may be the best option to turn around a reeling franchise.
Still, it all comes down to Jerry Richardson and what he views as important to his team. What the fans want, may be a little bit different.