Lame Duck Coach (def) A coach at the end of his contract where it is known the coach is leaving thereby making them less effective as a coach; weakened, unable to make decisions
John Fox current status with the Panthers may fit the definition of a lame duck coach but you wouldn't know it with some of his recent decisions. Fox has long been painted a pragmatic, old school coach who is short in answers to the media but long in keeping his players respect. Fox remains a players coach regardless of his contract status. Part of that respect comes from the consistent manner in which Fox meets out player punishment. No player is above getting benched for poor performance, as we found out last week when CB Chris Gamble was benched for 'performance reasons' per Fox.
He just told me I was going to come in at nickel and that was about it," Gamble said. "I kind of struggled in the Baltimore game. So I kind of figured that’s where it came from. But I’ve got to just keep praying and play football and have fun like I know how to do."
What we have since learned is that Gamble didn't handle the critique in the film room well and subsequently left/skipped practice:
So Fox took Gamble's walkout as a sign he didn't want to start, since he makes these decisions every week based on what he sees in practice. I loved this quote about what criteria he doesn't use to make starting decisions:
"It's easy to come in and come to work and be chipper every day when you're winning. But when things aren't going your way, sometimes those things happen where you act out of character," Brown added. "But being the team that we are and having the character that we have on the team, we all hold each other accountable. (Gamble) was disciplined for his actions and that was the end of it. "It's not anything we hold a grudge against a guy or say, 'Aw man, he's a quitter. He backed out on the team.' He was back at practice the next day working hard. So you've got to commend him for that and for the team holding together."
Gamble is the fourth-longest-tenured player (behind John Kasay, Steve Smith and Jordan Gross) on the roster, and the third-highest-paid (behind Smith and Gross). Fox said that didn't matter to him in making the decision. "Again, I don't get into tenure and expense when I evaluate players," Fox said. "So I don't really understand that part of the question.... Never have, never will."
So my point is that Fox is hardly any less effective than he's been in the past. I stated it that way because we might have different definitions of what 'effective' is within OC Jeff Davidson's offense. That's another argument!
Even if Fox should finish with a .500 record in Carolina I still think he's the best coach in our franchises short history. I think the way the players continue to support him this late in a doomed season is respectable. Here's something I consider additional evidence of player respect: