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Monday, November 30, 2009

Charlie Weis Fired

Weis was fired today, and notably Carolina's one of the top destinations per the media, including Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen.

Carolina's the most stable of the expected openings - only QB is really rocky, followed possibly by 2nd WR. Weis isn't worried about money - he gets the buyout after being let go from Notre Dame.

But one thing would halt the process - Weis' situation would want to include a few things Carolina might not be able to give.

Weis is an OC, and Carolina has an OC. That can be remedied, of course - but making Weis the OC means firing Weis protege Jeff Davidson.

You could make him assistant head coach and give him the job without firing Davidson as OC - essentially supplanting him but not firing him - but the assistant head coach is Jim Skipper, who is Fox's most trusted associate. He could be QBs coach and handle the running of the offense, but Rip Scherer is a trusted associate of Davidson.

So, those messes aside - how to get him on staff in an appropriate position - there's another thing. Weis' hiring shows a positive plan to help Fox get back on track, but even if Fox could use Weis to ensure his own survival, Fox only has one year left on his contract.

And I'm not sure anyone, even a trusted friend, would stake more change on a one year coach.

Jon Beason Arrested

I was tipped to a possible altercation including Dante Rosario and Jon Beason following the Falcons game, that including stomping some drunk bastard who tried to start a fight, and may have gotten more than he asked for.

Time passed and nothing happened, so I waved it off as unlikely.

Well, today, Beason was arrested, for assault based on an incident following the Falcons game at Uptown Cabaret, just south of the stadium. Rumors include that the assaultee, Greg Frye, consistently claims to be a Carolina Panther and has often gotten into fights at Uptown Cabaret before. Frye claims now to have brain and eye damage due to the altercation with Beason.

Rosario's name has been left out, and he's not been arrested. But other rumors have come out including the second player as well. So don't be surprised if his name does come out in some form.

Here's Beason's arrest info:

Here's the guy he allegedly assaulted, including an arrest for this guy's apparent assault of a female:

Frye's also apparently gotten a reputation for getting in fights at frat parties, though that's not a direct source or anything verifiable.

Jake's Finger Benches Him

John Fox announced today that there was swelling in Jake Delhomme's finger (and wouldn't specify which one), but noted it was at 2:24 left in the game.

Speculation suggests it's a bit of a mercy - benching; some go as far as to suggest he's not hurt. Look at the way balls come out late in the game - jump balls, high arcing. Different throws than his previous ones (even the bad balls that were picked).

So, he's done regardless. I'm okay with it - even if fake. Too many people that have called for the benching for months (I've been calling for it for hours) suddenly want to cry about it not coming exactly the way they want.

But, if this is some elaborate cover-up, do you blame Fox? It's not about just Jake. He coaches 53 men, not one. That other 52, they want to run for the playoffs, no matter how unlikely. And that's how we like them. They want to fight, we want them to fight. A benching suggests playoffs are unrealistic (they are), and that's not what they pay Fox for. He's paid for never-say-die, not "oh well."

Either way, Matt Moore starts this week it seems.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Postgame Jets - three tackles

Some quick and potentially angry thoughts after the Jets game -

  • I'm generally a forgiving guy, and I've stuck behind Jake Delhomme. After INT #3, I was ready to pull him for the season and feel a little sore we haven't by now. I can even understand to a point on any one of the INTs - a kicked shoe on what looked like a Smitty mistake, and two deep throws on blitzes where he was hit when he released. But three in a half is terrible.
  • Our starting pair of WR had a total of 13 targets (3 INT), 3 total receptions, 6 yards, and three tackles. Ugly.
  • Our current line of Wharton at LT and Bernadeau at LG was outmatched and outclassed. We might be able to hold water with this pair but not for terribly long. Both were better as they were- Wharton at guard and Bernadeau on the bench.
  • Defense deserves credit. Peppers with 4 tackles, .5 sack, FF; Brayton with 1.5 sacks, 2 pressures, and a TFL; Gamble with a solid INT and a PD; our DTs played well all game.
  • Jon Beason deserves separate mention - 17 tackles, TFL, and a fumble recovery.

Now, the next questions.

Should we continue continue with Jake Delhomme? Will we?

We will, but I'm about ready at 7 losses to see what someone else can do. This ship has sailed.

Same questions, John Fox?

We won't fire him until the end of the year, and we shouldn't. But after that? I'm losing confidence. Still, does he pass the requisite tests? We do look prepared. We do fight to the finish. We're not that good, especially on offense, and someone has to answer to that.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ups and Downs of 2009

**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.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fox's Future Dependent On Rookies
Sherrod Martin's breakout performance against Arizona bolstered the John Fox Era like few before had. Martin, a forgotten rookie who had lost to Captain Munnerlyn for the nickel job (CJ Wilson had honestly earned it, and played outstanding Sunday in his own first action this year), had dressed but hardly played until Sunday. His two interceptions were great, but his play overall was more valuable than just those two turnovers. Starting FS Charles Godfrey, who made tons of mistakes as a rookie in 2008, had been off to a similarly rocky 2009 - playing tenatively deep,and faltering in run support (on one play, Martin was faked so badly he actually jumped backwards out of the way of the ballcarrier, against Dallas). Safety play directly improved with Quenton Teal making way for Chris Harris after the bye, but things finally looked right with Martin in at the other safety. A natural safety from Troy, Martin didn't make the transition to corner that well. He fits well at safety, however, and took to it right away. With that move, the defense suddenly looked more up to it's #1 overall pass rating than it had in the past (yeah,that's right, the Panthers are STILL #1 after facing the Cardinals - who saw that coming?). With that move, it added major legitimacy to Fox and new coordinator Ron Meeks' approach to defense, which could sustain the staff throughout the year. A young defense and young team overall, Carolina had seen veterans drop because of the cap situation; a lot of that youth looked sluggish and unmotivated in a slow start. Clearly, a youthful resurgence would put John Fox back in better standing. Similarly, Mike Goodson or Tony Fiammetta could help significantly, though neither have. Everette Brown has to continue to show burst, to have made the first half of the 49ers trade worth it. That's not dependent only on Fox's job, but Marty Hurney's as well. Munnerlyn clearly has helped out. Corvey Irvin (IR), Duke Robinson are destined to not play this year at all. Next year's 5th (Tank Tyler) can make an impact, but 2010's 7th(Louis Leonard), who looked good in limited time, is out for the year as well. So far so good for 2011 conditional 7th rounder Jerry Jensen.