After ten years as general manager for the Carolina Panthers, Marty Hurney is out. After a disappointing 1-5 start to the year it should come as no surprise that changes had to be made. Hurney was fired Monday morning by owner Jerry Richardson and he was quick to say that it was not a mutual decision, although he knew it was coming after another poor performance against Dallas. In his mind, a lack of leadership from the players and the ability to create a winning environment in the locker room led to many of the Panthers’ problems. But when the team is 9-29 since the start of the 2010 season (worst in the NFL) you have to start wondering what’s going on, and look beyond coaching and players.
Hurney helped guide the Panthers to two NFC Championship games and their only Super Bowl appearance in 2003 just a year after taking over as GM, but that could have happened because the pieces were already in place for him to succeed. Sadly, the Panthers have failed to record two winning seasons in a row since then, and has led to many coaching and player changes.
This year the Panthers had the sixth highest payroll in the league, but the majority of that money was tied up in the backfield. As a result, other areas have faltered with no big splashes in free agency to add to a mediocre defense, or another offensive threat, or to strengthen a deteriorating offensive line. Hurney was known as the type of GM to re-sign players who had performed well with extensions, instead of looking to go after a big name in free agency. This may have worked well with the players (Charles Johnson took to Twitter after the firing to show support for Hurney) but it doesn’t always build a winning team. Not that I, or Panthers fans have any problems with our backfield, but you have to wonder if it was in the team’s best interests to lock up so much money in the backfield, when the league is clearly pass-heavy. Now that the deed is done, it’s time to continue this rebuild that began before last season, and work on creating a better future for this team.