Now, admittedly, I'm a little inebriated while writing this post. And, it should also be noted that this post is being written fresh off the loss against the Cowboys on Monday night. However, I think that when you read the points that are made, you will either full heartedly agree with me, or you will be a blind, naive optimist towards the Carolina Panthers. During this post, I am going to go position by postion in every major position regarding the team (specifically coaches) and tell you why that person needs to be fired in order for us to EVER be good again and win a Super Bowl.
THE FOLLOWING DESERVES TO BE FIRED
I don't know if anyone realized when he was hired, but he has never, in his entire NFL career, coached a good defense. The defense he coached with the Indianapolis Colts was mediocre AT BEST even when they won the Super Bowl. The only reason, why people thought he was any good, is that his team just so happened to have the best quarterback on the planet playing for his team, keeping the ball for longer stretches of time and scoring, which meant his defense would automactically look better because they were on the sidelines for long stretches of time and were able to play against the pass more often than not because they were usally ahead on the scoreboard. And really, if he was actually awesome enough to be hired, why did he get let go from the Colts in the first place???!!!! Has anyone else noticed that the Cover 2 defense is being fazed out of the NFL because it SUCKS? There is a reason that Jason Whitten was able to light us up. It is because Cover 2 defenses are too soft and reactionary, and receivers that go over the middle (tight ends especially) are able to easily find open holes in the defense while the linebackers just sit there and do NOTHING.
There really isn't much I need to say on this subject because I know all of you are thinking it. But if a player in the NFL is getting paid nearly 1 MILLION DOLLARS PER GAME, than he should damn well show up and not be invisible on the football field, ESPECIALLY in games that matter to your team as much as the one against the Cowboys did. Perhaps the greatest thing to come from this is that when he does hit the free agent market next year, he may not get the money he thought he would deserve based on the absolute awful efforts he gives every other game each season. However, the counter to that argument, and the thing that makes me sick about the whole situation, is that next season looks like it won't be capped, which means that just based off of his name, he may still get paid big money from some franchise (like the Cowboys) willing to pay bunches in order to win a Super Bowl, despite the awful efforts he puts up.
Yes, you had a terrible game against the Cardinals during a season in which we had an even better chance of winning the Super Bowl than our 2003 season. Yes you had a terrible game against the Eagles in our first game this season to set the tone for the rest of the season and was promptly benched in said game (the game right after the calamity against the Cardinals). AND YES, you threw a PICK SIX against the Cowboys, in a game in which we were only SIX POINTS BEHIND and had a chance of winning a game that we NEEDED to win. You are a horrible decision maker and you STILL force passes to Steve Smith, whom unfortunately is the best WR in the league that has to play on a team with one of the WORST QB's in the league. By the way, if there are any Jake supporters still out there, why don't you just look at every deep ball he's TRIED to throw this year. His arm strength is GONE. They are ALL underthrown. He's done. Unfortunately, he still is our best option to win any game this entire season, so we're stuck with him...which leads us to...
You have traded away our first round draft pick 2 years in a row. I actually liked the move the first time. It brought in Jeff Otah who is a good run blocking tackle and was crucial to our run towards the playoffs last year. Even though he is the worst lineman on our entire team at FALSE STARTS and still needs improvement at pass blocking. Yet you traded our other first round draft pick for next year to get a SECOND ROUND draft pick in Everette Brown. I don't care how good he ends up to be, the only reason why you NEEDED to get Everette Brown was because you needed to replace the man you ended up spending SIXTEEN MILLION DOLLARS on for next year. Perhaps the worst part to come from this inevitable rebuilding phase is that the first round draft pick that we could desperately use on a DT is going to be used by San Fransisco next year. Great job Hurney. The man that locked up one of the most mediocre QB's in the NFL for 5 years in order to save a few extra bucks we needed in to sign our draft picks (due to the tremendous amount of money Hurney gave to ONE MAN who isn't even going to play for us next year). And all those injuries that we've suffered so far on defense? Yeah, NO EXCUSE. Every team gets injured and it's YOUR fault that we have NO DEPTH on defense because you decided to make an inconsistent defensive end the HIGHEST PAID PLAYER IN THE NFL!
You are perhaps the worst special teams coordinator in the league. I've said so since your first year with the team. Our special teams has declined each year since you've been with the team. We get gashed nearly every time the other team returns the ball. IN FACT, we had to devote an entire spot on the roster to Rhys Lloyd in order to kick the ball as hard as possible so our coverage team could avoid imploding all the time. And on the other side of the ball we haven't had a decent kick or punt return since STEVE SMITH returned kicks. You have no clue what you're doing. The only lee-way I can give you is that the absolute inept Marty Hurney paid 16 million dollars to one of the most overrated players in all of football and left you with NO DEPTH which means you are left with not very good players on special teams. Still...you shouldn't be coaching in the National Football League.
I really wanted to give you a chance. I did. Your first year on the job here in Carolina Jake was hurt for much of the season. Your second year on the job (with Jake healthy) you helped us have a 12-4 record. HOWEVER, when we did get to the playoffs, you decided to start winging the ball around the field like the Indianapolis Colts, DESPITE the fact that we have one of the worst QB's in the NFL and that our running game destroyed the Cardinals the very first drive of the game. And what happened? Jake had 6 turnovers. Great call Jeff. Who needs a running game right? And tonight, against the Cowboys? A Cowboys defense who has been exploited by nearly every offense that's played them over the last 2 years? We score only SEVEN POINTS. And can't even get a running game going. Jeff, you have perhaps two of the best offensive talents in the NFL in Deangelo Williams and Steve Smith. Yet you can't even get them into the game. Sure, it's tough when you have an awful QB playing for you. And actually, of all the people listed here, I think you're the least bad. But still, you're working with a GOOD O-LINE, a great running back tandem, and an ELITE wide receiver and you can only muster 7 points against the Cowboys defense??? There is a reason why you're a no name coach.
Yes, you brought us to the Super Bowl only two years removed from a 1-15 season. That's awesome. Your philosophy of run first and play awesome defense is actually really good, and allows you to have awful QB's like Jake and Rodney Peete to win games. However, you are perhaps one of the worst coaches in the league at picking assistant personnel. I think maybe Jack Del Rio is the only assistant coach you've ever had who's ever had any recognition, and he ended up being a horrible head coach. Every one else who's coached underneath you has been down right awful. I don't care how trivial you think the stat, but the fact that you've never had back to back winning season's is A PROBLEM. The Panthers organization has been MORE than patient and understanding with you. Sure, in 2007 Jake was hurt. And yes, 2 years from then, (your inevitable losing season this year) we have key injuries again. Kemo is out for the year, his replacement is out for the year, Chris Harris is missing valuable time, etc. But EVERY team experiences injuries. And instead of using those as excuses to suck, you should be able to prove your worth and make the Panthers into a good team DESPITE the injuries. I hate to see you leave, because you have given our organization more than any other head coach has. But it is not a lot to ask from a coach by his fan base to win only two years in a row.
It has become clear that with all of you on the team, there is NO WAY that we will ever be able to win a Super Bowl. Sure, we might be good enough to make the playoffs. But the truly great teams don't settle for merely making the playoffs. They want to win it all. And no one that I have mentioned has ever been a winner when it truly mattered. We have gone from a team that was 12-4 last year (while playing one of the easiest schedules in the league) to a team that is currently 0-3 (while admittedly playing one of the toughest schedules in the league). There is no excuse. Every year a team should improve from what it was last year. If it doesn't. than something has gone wrong and blame must be placed. And this is why we must clean house if we ever want to finally be on top.
So next year, we need to get rid of each of these people...clean house. New head coach (Cowher anyone?). New GM (Someone who actually thinks you should pick up a decent QB in the draft and not pass out your first round draft picks like candy). New DC and OC. New QB (and no, not someone currently on our roster. They're all awful. It's tough to address it in the draft because we don't have a first rounder and I don't know if anyone will be available in FA despite the fact that we will have all this money from getting rid of Peppers). Which leads me to getting rid of an inconsistent DE who's the highest paid player in the NFL.
I'm sorry Panthers fans. Call me all the names you want. Call me a non-dedicated fan even though I've been with the team since their inception. Call me unfaithful. I mean sure, there's a chance we could go to the playoffs despite an 0-3 start (even though only a couple of other teams have done it before ever). But if you have watched our games at all so far, you'll see that we have HUGE wholes in all phases of our team. A team that went 12-4 just last year. If that isn't a reason for changing things up, then you tell me how we're supposed to fix the problem.