Since he took over as new Head Coach earlier this month, Ron Rivera has made some interesting hires over the past few weeks for several positions, but one man that many of us wish he would bring back from John Fox's staff may be left out in the cold. According to Darin Gantt, Jim Skipper may not return to his position as RB's Coach next season, even though the running backs -- most notably DeAngelo Williams -- have publicly lobbied for his return since Ron Rivera was named head coach earlier this month.
Skipper said Monday afternoon he thought the meeting with Rivera went well, as they spent "a good bit of time," going over the team's personnel and scheme. However, a league source said the Panthers have planned more interviews for the vacant position, and that the Panthers gave Skipper little indication he was a legitimate candidate for the job.
More thoughts on this after the jump...
Normally I don't see any problem with interviewing as many candidates as possible for any given job, to ensure that the right man is hired. But, in this case, I can't help but wonder if it is a mistake to allow Skipper to move on to another team, especially when he has seen positive results from his coaching during his tenure. Sure, 2010 was a down year for the most part due to injuries, but 2008 and 2009 were two very good years for our running game, and the emergence of Double Trouble can almost be directly attributed to Skipper. Add in the fact that he's been the running backs coach since 2002 for a team that has consistently been a solid running team, and it's almost a no-brainer that he should be retained.
I don't know who is on the list of potential candidates for the position should Rivera decide that he wants to go another direction, but I can't imagine that there is a better option out there than Jim Skipper. The players like him, they learn from him, they respect him, and he produces results. What more can we ask for in a position coach?
I'm curious as to how this situation will turn out over the next few days or weeks (depending on how long it takes for Rivera to make a decision), but the fan in me can't help but hope that Rivera will take a moment and consider the opinion of D-Will and J-Stew, and will decide that the best move for the 2011 Carolina Panthers is to have the tutelage of Jim Skipper available for the running backs once again. Change can be a good thing, and I think that we will learn that next season when we see a completely new look on offense and defense, but sometimes changing just for the sake of change is a bad way to handle business, and I fear that not retaining Skipper would be one of those situations where a change really doesn't need to be made.