Panther Paw Prints: Fox Job Security Edition

For me its a little early to start the annual John Fox job security talk but I can help but address the 'rumors'.

Fox on His Way Out in Carolina? " Panthers Gab
The rumors are starting to swirl on if John Fox has done enough to keep his job past the final two games this season. The Bill Cowher factor remains out there, and there are a number of other good coaches that will be available.

I would say 'rumors' would only come from within the organization or some other credible source, which these are not. This is only 'speculation' that Fox could be on his way out, but I doubt it. Even if the Panthers finish 6-10 I think Fox will stay. You can't blame the poor decisions to franchise Peppers and re-sign Delhomme (if you think they are poor) solely on Fox. Certainly Hurney and Richardson signed off on those as well. I think the only way JR fires Fox is if he should lose the confidence of the team, which he has not. Fox will stay and he and Hurney will go about preparing for a successful 2010 season with an easier schedule.

Let's revisit that Vikings game one last time. We have an answer from Vikings LT Bryant McKinnie on what happened against Peppers:

The Canadian Press: Vikings OT Bryant McKinnie vows to bounce back this week after benching
"He played a good game. He made a good play on me," McKinnie said, referring to the one sack Peppers was credited with. "But when you go back and really watch the film, he didn't have that many plays on me." Two penalties, for a false start in the first quarter and for holding in the third quarter, threw McKinnie's mind out of whack. He also said he was focusing too much on his footwork, worried his stance might be tipping off the defence to what type of play was coming - as one report suggested earlier this month. "It was entirely too much thinking going on," said McKinnie, who joined the starting lineup midway through his rookie season in 2002. He has missed only four games since then - at the beginning of last year because of a league suspension for off-the-field behaviour. try to rationalize that whopping all you want BM, but it is what it is...Even Tom Coughlin had a hard time not calling it like it was:

American Chronicle | Pressure on for Stadium Sendoff - Stopping Onrushing Peppers is Big Diehl
"He had a power move that kind of put McKinnie in the lap of the quarterback a couple of times," coach Tom Coughlin said.

Peppers big game has the Giants on edge....or should we say protecting the edges:

Pep Talk: Giants concerned about Panthers' DE - The Trentonian Sports: Serving Trenton and surrounding communities. (
"We always chip, help and do whatever is necessary to give Eli (Manning) a chance to throw," explained Gilbride this week." Sometimes it’s a back, sometimes it is a lineman sliding out, sometimes it’s a tight end. "We will always do what is necessary. If that means we sacrifice some of the routes to get that done, that has always been our approach," Gilbride added. Peppers has 9.5 sacks to rank 11th in the NFL in that defensive category.

The Panther LBs should be ready for a bevy of quick outlet passes or simple edge runs to start the game... I just love WR Dwayne Jarrett's confusing comparison of the two Steve Smiths. He's no better at interviews that he is getting open:

Steve vs. Steve: Same name, different styles, personalities | The Herald - Rock Hill, SC
"I think they're two different people," Jarrett said. "It's hard to compare the two because our Steve Smith is much older and he has a family and the other Steve is single so there's two different lifestyles They are great guys. They have their similarities. "They play the same position, but other than that, I wouldn't compare the two."

Want another huge reason the Panthers have been more competitive with Matt Moore in the game? Turnover margin:

Panthers' defense has endured many trials in its road to improvement | The Herald - Rock Hill, SC
They're also continuing their trend of taking the ball away. Two more against the Vikings gave them 13 in the last four games and 30 for the year. That's tied for fourth in the league after a dry spell in midseason. "That starts up front," said Godfrey, who forced a Sidney Rice fumble last week against Minnesota, continuing a stretch of improved play after a midseason injury. "Those guys, it goes back to the D-linemen. They have pressure, quarterbacks are running around, and we're disguising coverages they can't read what we're in, and wanting the ball. Being hungry for the ball and making plays."

Maybe Moore hasn't been spectacular but he has protected the ball and it has more behind it than luck...Less lucky has the Panther defense been at keeping its starting lineup intact:

Williams, Sutton listed as doubtful vs. Giants | The Herald - Rock Hill, SC
We'll be watching Marshall's status carefully, since he could be the key to continuing an amazing streak. The Panthers have started 14 different defensive combinations in as many games. Marshall's one of just four Panthers defensive starters to play all 14 games, along with cornerback Chris Gamble, defensive tackle Damione Lewis and linebacker Jon Beason.

Its confirmed the J-Stew show will continue again this week:

Panthers may be without Williams on Sunday | sunday, bodycopy, williams - Sports - The Star Online : The Newspaper of Cleveland County
With Tyrell Sutton also listed as doubtful with a calf injury, expect rookie Mike Goodson to see some carries as the No. 2 back. After a stellar preseason, Goodson has carried the ball just four times this season gaining 3 yards with one turnover.

Does anyone else here smile at the thought of ending the Giants season with another big upset? How about ending their run at Giants stadium in an 'L'?

Giants see end of stadium era | Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/26/2009
"These fans come out in sunshine, rain, wind, and they are always there rooting us on," Tuck said. "I am excited about being able to play the last game in Giants Stadium, and, hopefully, we can go out there and put on a show and let them know how much we appreciate them and the stadium and all the memories and all the players that have played here before. We want to send Giants Stadium out on a W."

He said "hopefully". Not exactly exuding confidence is he? Maybe he is a soft-spoken sort of guy...


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