**sorry again for the total lack of attention to the blog. The new baby has officially taken its toll. Happy two months, baby!**
Carolina, going into the Miami game, was riding a high. Jake Delhomme had pulled out of a slump into a solid three game run; the offense was riding high and the defense had stopped a number of solid offenses.
So, being humiliated on Thursday Night Football (for those of us who spent hard at bars to watch it) turned the whole thing back around. It all but killed the hopes of playoffs (with the hardest part of the schedule coming up)
So: a few things to look forward to?
*Watching some youth break through (like Sherrod Martin, or if our DE problems persist, Everette Brown)
*our ever-present running game
*hoping for a QB change (mercilessly, even I'm hoping to see a little bit of Matt Moore)
*hope in any form, really.
And, even at its worst, mediocre football is still football. And while I don't want to see John Fox go, it will be interesting to see what happens one way or another.
It is, of course, too early to talk about coaching changes, but Buffalo's firing of Dick Jauron has sparked plenty of debate.
It's hard to say if Fox will be fired at the end of the year. Would he make a decisive move to change if it meant keeping his job? Possibly. There will need to be some level of change this upcoming year (it's not exactly the type year to try to push the 21-of-22 angle), and Jeff Davidson may get the brunt of the move. The rest of the offensive staff would likely have some tenure, aside from new QBs coach Rip Scherer. It's not actually that either are doing a terrible job, but they're not wowing us.
So that leaves us turning toward the Fighting Irish, having a similar year to our Panthers. Charlie Weis hasn't been fired, but pretty much everyone's expecting a thumping against Jim Harbaugh's Stanford Cardinal and a firing to follow. Weis has a long-standing relationship with John Fox; Weis almost left the Patriots for the Panthers in 2002. A Weis pairing would probably be enough to save John Fox.
Of course, if Bill Parcells comes away from Miami, there's always the "come be my OC, and then you'll be my heir apparent when I predictably quit four years in" move. And, then, what to do with Davidson? Weis' considered heir apparent in NE, Davidson worked closely with Weis, and the recommendation obviously helped Davidson get the job. Would there be room for both? Could Weis enter the situation for less than a coordinator job? The assistant head coach position is taken up by Jim Skipper.
Speaking of Harbaugh...
Harbaugh's Stanford team has only modest firepower, but upsetting USC, Oregon, and probably Notre Dame in one season would be a huge boon for the former Panther (and roughly 4,000 other teams) quarterback. Still a young head coach, Harbaugh has no pro coaching experience, unlike his brother John (the Ravens' head coach). Still, Harbaugh has the connections to make things happen in this league, and if John Fox is fired, Harbaugh's my ideal candidate.
He's young, he's able, he's not idealistically inclined toward a specific scheme. He has NFL staffers on his Stanford staff, ensuring we could get guys familiar with his programs (Greg Roman, his running game coordinator and line coach, was a Panther assistant from 95-01; Ron Lynn was a pro assistant for 20 years). Since he doesn't have pro experience, keeping defensive coordinator Ron Meeks, or getting an experienced DC like Mike Zimmer, would be appealing.