I have commented here a few times when I have gotten the chance but wanted to focus on something that just really annoys me in regard to the Panthers and the media, while giving a few examples. I know the Panthers play in a small market and when you are 2-12 you don't get a lot of media attention. That's fine. What isn't fine is the complete lack of interest the national sports media has in telling the public about the goings-on in Charlotte accurately. I almost feel like they could not be more wrong on some of the issues they attempt to discuss.
First, this is article is one of many examples this happening, but why is John Fox on the list of coaches on the hot seat?
The article acknowledges he will not be back, but there are a few other lists that don't include mention of that. Fox is in the last year of his contract and five minutes of research would show there isn't any way he is coming back next year. So not only can he not be on the hot seat because he can't be fired after this year, but to be on the hot seat doesn't there have to be some question as to whether that coach will be with the team next year? There is no question Fox won't be back. I find it hard to believe a writer posting an article on December 7th couldn't figure this out. So Fox isn't on the hot seat because he is a lame duck coach. End of story.
The second thing that I wish the national media would pay attention to is the search for the next coach. This week's MMQB by Peter King is what motivated my screed here, but other than the sports media's need to frame a storyline in every situation, where does the idea the Panthers will not pay their next head coach come from?
Darin Gantt tackles this topic very well here...
I am sure many of you read it. So the question I then wonder is where Peter King gets his information to write what he wrote in his MMQB this week?
We all know John Fox and his $6 million salary will be gone from Carolina at the end of the season. And the Panthers will look elsewhere for a coach. But it'll be a much less expensive coach. So scratch Cowher, who now splits his time between Raleigh and New York, because he won't be involved.
It will not be a much less expensive coach because the Panthers don't want to pay for a less expensive coach, it is a less expensive coach because a more expensive coach doesn't definitely lead to team success. Scratch Cowher off the list because no matter how much the media would love to frame the storyline of Bill Cowher playing so "close" to where he lives part-time, he isn't coming to Carolina to coach and was never coming to Carolina to coach. This is a pure media creation because it "makes sense" to them. The media has even made mention of Marty Schottenheimer coaching here in Carolina...because he lives close to the area.
Jerry Richardson doesn't believe coaches are worth that much money.
Which is why he just got done paying a head coach $6 million per year and paid a lot of money to get George Seifert to come to Carolina. Darin Gantt covers it well in the above article I linked, but the bottom line is that John Fox hasn't ever made back-to-back playoffs. I know there are other factors that go into him not having ever achieved this but that's the bottom line. Coaches who can't make back-to-back playoffs aren't worth $6 million per year to Jerry Richardson. He isn't being cheap, it is not that he doesn't think coaches are worth this much money, and this isn't a direct indication of his future feelings (money-wise) about head coaches. It is simply he doesn't want to give John Fox a raise from $6 million per year. It is easy as that. Richardson feels he can do better than Fox at a lower price. So the idea the Panthers are a cheap team overall is just not true. Again, rather than actually find this out it is easier to paint the Panthers as cheap.
Richardson and GM Marty Hurney are likely to look at the models of Mike Smith (Atlanta), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh) and John Harbaugh (Baltimore) for their next man.
Those aren't bad models to follow...yet the Panthers are being framed by many members of the media, including Peter King, as being "cheap." I think a lot of teams wouldn't mind being seen as cheap if they could follow the model of the Ravens, Falcons and Steelers and be effective at it.
The last thing that annoys me isn't really seen much in the media, but it appeared in Peter King's MMQB and it was inaccurate. Peter King knows EVERYTHING about the Patriots, as many who read his MMQB every week know. He can chart out their draft picks and seems to always be interested in nearly every thing they do. He's from Massachusetts, so it makes sense when you know he is a fan of the Red Sox and Celtics as well. Because he follows the Patriots so closely, he notices the Panthers traded their 2nd round pick in 2011 to the Patriots for Armanti Edwards and feels the need to ignorantly comment.
i. Armenti Edwards, inactive. Good thing the Panthers traded the 33rd pick in the 2011 draft for that guy.
First off, it is ARMANTI Edwards, so this criticism is a huge fail in the very beginning. It is hard to find criticism of a player worthwhile when the writer doesn't find it worthwhile to spell the player's name correctly.
I know Peter King can't follow every single inactive list in the NFL and find out why those players were inactive for the day of the games. If he is going to criticize Edwards and the Panthers wouldn't you think he would check into this one just a little bit though? Putting criticism of a player/team in a national column would seem to require an actual knowledge of why that player was inactive. It has been well known among the Carolina beat writers that Edwards was sick this week. He seemed to have some sort of flu bug that was going around, so that's why he was inactive. It would have been simple for Peter King to find this out and not infer it is due to a lack of talent on Edwards' part.
Yes, Edwards has been inactive much of the year and right now it doesn't seem like the Panthers are getting much return from their investment in him. Yet, while passing judgment on the move to trade up and get Edwards in the 2010 NFL Draft, Peter King passes over three very important facts.
1. Edwards is learning to play wide receiver. The Panthers don't activate 4-5 receivers on gameday. Fox doesn't traditionally do this. So Edwards doesn't lose on account of lack of talent, but because it is a numbers game he is losing and he is the least experienced at the wide receiver position among those in the numbers game.
2. John Fox doesn't activate Edwards because it appears he was never in favor of drafting him and from all accounts he doesn't appear to be willing to give Edwards a shot. So what I am saying is the fact Edwards is on the bench may or may nor be an indication of his future talents. It may be more of a way for Fox to tell management this is still his team and if he doesn't want to play Edwards he doesn't have to. Of course that's a whole other battle the national media has completely skipped over and probably wouldn't know anything about.
3. His being inactive is not an indication of his talent or whether the move up to get him was worth it. That will be judged with the next coaching staff and how they choose to use and evaluate Edwards.
I enjoyed my first FanPost. I get tired of the mischaracterization of many of the Panthers issues. I feel like much of the media can recite other teams depth charts, but can't seem to get basic ideas and issues correct when it comes to other teams. I feel the Panthers are one of those "other" teams. Criticism of the Panthers is justified, but I wish the national media would at least pay attention enough to get the issues they are discussing right. It seems like this is too difficult for many to do though.