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January 07, 2008

Everyone standing pat, except Pat

Folks, you probably saw Pat Yasinskas’ goodbye column in Sunday’s Observer, and if you didn’t I’ll tell you that he got a job covering the NFC South for ESPN.com and he’ll relocate to sunny (and warmer) Tampa. Pat is a very good friend and was a pleasure to work with for six years, and I’ll miss him. I know a lot of you will, too. Just wanted y’all to be aware of what’s going on when his picture comes off the blog.

His replacement hasn’t been named yet. I’ll fill you in when it happens, or maybe Sports Editor Mike Persinger will, since it’s his call. If it was up to me, I’d just keep Pat, but it’s not, so wish him luck. If the Panthers are any good in 2008, he’ll be here to watch them in his new job. If not, we might find him at the Old (or is that Olde?) Absinthe House in New Orleans ...

While one huge change occurs. Two others don’t. Carolina general manager Marty Hurney confirmed today that he and coach John Fox are staying put. I think he also understands that results are needed this year, but I believe owner Jerry Richardson made the right call. There are a few things to fix, but after reaching two NFC title games in their first six years together, these two should have at least another year to fix them.


Posted by Observer Sports on January 7, 2008 at 09:25 PM | Permalink


Good luck at ESPN Pat!

Now that Richardson has decided to keep Fox, the Panthers HAVE to have a big off season. None of this sitting on our players and not being active. I mean the only real move last off season was to sign David Carr, and that certainly did not turn out well.

Hurney better make some good moves, and Fox has to be much more aggressive. If neither of them do, then this will be the last season for both of them (and no one will complain.)

Posted by: Matt West | Jan 7, 2008 9:53:13 PM

Hurney named the #1 problem,POWER RUNNING BACK,The rest will follow.

Posted by: #1 Fan | Jan 7, 2008 10:32:42 PM

Thanks Pat for doing such a good job over the years. It was nice to read your unique take on things, and the views you presented in this blog especially were always interesting. I hope you enjoy Florida and that your replacement is able to replicate your success in Charlotte. All the best.

Posted by: Ben | Jan 7, 2008 11:08:13 PM

Can we get someone who will develop some alternate sources for information, rather than just whine about how Fox and Richardson won't tell the press anything? Actually, now that Pat's with ESPN, he'll learn how to do that, I suppose.

Posted by: Authority on Everything | Jan 7, 2008 11:14:52 PM

The team does need a true power running back but that is not the #1 problem. An offensive line that can actually run block is really the biggest need. It's a shame that they obviously cannot see DeAngelo Williams potential.

Posted by: Jerad h. | Jan 8, 2008 3:22:45 AM

49ers had injuries, poor season -- made staff changes.

Rams had injuries, poor season -- made staff changes.

Ravens had...you get it.

If the Panthers do NOTHING on the staff front -- and it sure looks like they are leaning that way -- that tells me that the Richardsons really think 8-8, 9-7 is a GREAT season.

Nuther thing to watch: Ticket prices. Do they go up in the offseason?

I agree the OL is the first priority, the DL the second. But Hurney has so few guys under contract that I have no idea how we upgrade overall.

Posted by: JAT | Jan 8, 2008 5:13:20 AM

Hmm...seems you've listed three teams, all of which finished with records at least two games worse than the Panthers, none of whom were alive in the playoffs as of week 16. Pretty big difference, but nice try.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 8, 2008 5:48:05 AM

The idea of 'going back' to what they did in 2003 shows exactly why they will continue to fail. Fox does not get it that he needs to keep moving forward - reacting and adjusting to the current challenges. I'm not saying that a power running approach may or may not be a help, but the best team ever (this year's Patriots) doesn't seem to be hurting without one. Fox's extreme resistance to change, and in this case, desire to go backwards, rather than adapt and innovate, are the main reasons I think this is a bad move. They are just delaying the inevitable, and subjecting the fans to one more year of mediocrity and failure.

Posted by: Wayne | Jan 8, 2008 6:41:53 AM

Good luck with the new job Pat.

Fox is definitely conservative in his approach, often going with what he knows.
Richardson is trying to give Fox/Hurney a fair chance and the worse we've finished under them is 7-9. They've made the Panthers into a solid but not spectacular NFL franchise which is better than Capers and Seifert did.

However as stated - its probably playoffs or bust. I could see us going 8-8 missing out and Fox then packing in. We really need to:

1. Get a power back or upgrade the starting RB
2. Get a decent 2nd WR
3. Upgrade the OL in at least one position

All these are not that difficult to work out surely!!! If so how come those who are paid the big bucks haven't worked it out? My money is the philosohpy of giving players a chance to prove themselves, unfortunately some tough choices have to be made, especially in the NFL

Do those 3 and we have half a chance of a playoff spot, and as Scott says we are in the inconsistent NFC South so there is a chance. Good job we're not in the NFC East - if we were we'd be stuffed!

Posted by: CS | Jan 8, 2008 7:00:10 AM

• For Jenkins: A medal for being the most genuine guy in the locker room. That might get you in trouble sometimes, and you can be more than a little rough around the edges. But you say what's in your heart and that sets you apart from the rest of the robots. Don't change."

What a hack!!!! Yeah, I'd say steve smith is a robot. Dont blame the coach for wanting to have an environment where players aren't saying too much to the media about the inner workings of the team.

Posted by: mattdaddy | Jan 8, 2008 7:46:31 AM

Nice of Richardson to make the announcement through Hurney. I guess it would take too much time from planning to join the NFL network to announce this himself.

Posted by: Willy | Jan 8, 2008 8:12:48 AM

Good luck Pat! You will be missed.

Posted by: MC | Jan 8, 2008 9:23:06 AM

I don't understand how this team can keep Hurney. Here are many of the reasons:

1.Drafting, teams can not miss on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks like this team has.
Colbert, Shelton, LaFors, Mathis, Ellison, Butler, Anderson, Jarrett?, Kalil?, Johnson?

2.Bringing back players while past their prime, Minter and Rucker.

3.We are in second to worst position in terms of the cap. See S.I.

4.Who is the free safety?

5.Why is he so against taking a safety in the draft?

6.Moving Thomas Davis from safety to Strong side linebacker. Clearly, he is a weakside linebacker (this is more on Fox)

7.Bringing back Diggs is an omission that Anderson was a wasted 3rd round pick.

8.This team went the whole season without a swing tackle

9.Depth? Who is the swing tackle? Back-up Linebackers?

10.5-8 DeAngelo Williams over 6' 230 Addai, who has less mileage on the legs and played against better college competition

11.Special teams and not having a return man. Why can't Carter return a kick?

Posted by: Phillip | Jan 8, 2008 10:31:46 AM

Congrats on landing a sweet gig with ESPN, Pat!

Give 'em hell.

Posted by: hillbilly | Jan 8, 2008 10:47:15 AM

Phillip, you hit the nail on the head on basically everything said. Also, why has David Carr not been cut yet? The season has been over for more than a week now, cmon hurney wake up.
Basically fox is a players coach that is too loyal for too long to old players and he and hurney together are HORRIBLE in the draft.

Fans need to start looking towards 09 or 2010 before all the problems can be fixed. Also JRichardson, how about some stadium upgrades. Quit spending all your money on hair gel and put some jumbotrons in the stadium that weren't made in 1994.

Posted by: fans4change | Jan 8, 2008 11:10:51 AM

Best of luck in the new job, Pat. It's been great having you in Charlotte.

Posted by: jdb1972 | Jan 8, 2008 11:16:33 AM

How can we keep Hurney who found Beason who can play inside or out; who found Richard Marshall who is good enough to be a starter after just 2 years. Drafting DeAngelo Williams who is a good back, but he cannot put up the numbers of Addai b/c Addai is playing most downs and plays for a great offense; signing Matt Moore who is a great backup to Jake; extending Smitty's contract to ensure he doesnt leave in his prime; Trading for Chris Harris for a measley 5th round pick. Picking up Jeremy Bridges who can play guard or tackle.

Look, I'm not saying Hurney is a great general manager, he and fox have messed up greatly in the 2006 draft as well moves in free agency that haven't panned out but dont act like the guy hasnt done some positive things for this org.

Posted by: mattdaddy | Jan 8, 2008 11:27:04 AM

Phillip is reading my mind

Posted by: Steven | Jan 8, 2008 11:56:47 AM

For Phillip:

1. How can you make a judgement on what kidn of impact Jarrett, Kalil, or Johnson will have, they definately have not had the playing time to label them as a bust. But yes, teams can miss on 2nd,3rd, and 4th round picks and succeed. Here are some names of guys the Patriots have chosen in those rounds in recent years:
Kareem Brown, Chad Jackson, David Thomas, Garrett Mills, James Sanders, Guss Scott, Dexter Reid. Dont get me wrong, they have made some good picks in those rounds, but point being you can still miss consistantly but all you have to do is get lucky with one or two good ones.

2. Minter and Rucker are the only guys with experience and leadership on the defense. Each of them took paycuts to stay and they were each worth keeping.

3. SI's salary cap report may not be the best representation of the teams financial situation, but I cant prove it and neither can it be proven that it is entirely accurate.

4. The free safety issue is a concern

5. After Landrey was taken off the board, the Panthers felt the drop-off was too large to use the 14th pick on the remaining one's. At least in this draft it turned out to be the right decision. Beason definately made a larger impact than any safety we could have drafted.

6. That is right, the move of Davis to safety was Fox and it was a great decision considering how Davis did playing safety.

7. So if they felt Anderson was not ready to start, then signing a veteran who knows the defense to start over him appears to be a decent move.

10. Addai is a starter on one of the best offensive teams in the NFL, DeAngelo doesnt quite have that opportunity.

11. Ryne Robinson starter off very slow and appeared to be a bust, but he did show improvement over the course of the season. Averaging over 30 yds a return for the last 4 games.

Posted by: mattdaddy | Jan 8, 2008 1:15:38 PM

I'm with Authority.... Pat the hack sucks! Good riddance!! And now that it's been made official that Fox is staying and that this upcoming season is a due or die one for him, I hope all you haters can put a cork in it for a while. It would be nice to read comments that have a little class for once. :)

Posted by: SYRPIS | Jan 8, 2008 2:51:06 PM

limited resources calls for adjustment in
thinking.(cap problems) the best defensive
adjustment would be to change to a 3-4 or
stop depending only on the aging front 4 to pressure the QB and let
those young,fast linebackers go. in a 3-4 move peppers to OLB, ILB beason, ILB shaw/steward and OLB davis. throw diggs and morgan in to compete. let kemo in
the middle, with jenkins and let
morrehead, lewis etc fight for that last spot or draft/trade for that spot. Their job
to keep the o-line occupied as the linebackers handle the rush and RB.
Use the first and second rounds for safety
and huge ot. one side of the o-line has to
be able to push the pile. In free agency
sign a back that can get the tough yards.
ie. Turner with San Diego. get a vet WR
to keep the dee-honest. let the young TE's and WR's learn under vet leadership.
also bring in prohel or jerry rice to tutor
dwayne in the off season to guarentee next year we see him on the field.

Posted by: socalfan | Jan 8, 2008 3:32:35 PM

You're right, Phillip. It's too bad we're the only team in the NFL who has ever had a draft pick not turn into an All Pro.
Instead of Keary Colbert, we could have had a stud like Derrick Hamilton or Devard Darling. If not them, we could have looked to the next round and gotten Carlos Francis or Ernest Wilford!
Instead of Shelton, we could have gotten Vernand Morency, or even...RYAN MOATS! Hell, if we had REALLY done our homework, we could have gotten MAURICE CLARETT! He would have had to have exploded in the Panthers' offensive system.
Stephan LeFors...he always looked good in the preseason, but we would have certainly been better served getting an Adrian McPherson (I hear he's tearing it up in the AFL) or Dan Orlovsky. You know, James Killian and Ryan Fitzpatrick were available, too.
And what a disaster, Evan Mathis. Only 15 games started in his first three years. If we could have just gotten a hold of a stud like Trai Essex or Elton Brown, who even Julius Peppers managed to look good against this year.
Instead of Ellison, we obviously should have gone with Ronald Fields or Antajj Hawthorne.
And you have to be proud of Rashad Butler. Instead of ever telling anybody that he was sick all the time and could never gain weight because he had a disease, he just fought on, collecting his paycheck week after week. Surely the Panthers knew, though, that Guy Whimper and Joe Toledo were availible!
And I love how you've declared four different guys misses, none of whom have played in their third professional season, yet three have already started games.

Do tell me what studly safety was available that could have come in and improved our defense this year in the draft.

Furthermore, NFL draft expert, I'd love to see you show how each one of these players were picked HUNDREDS of spots before they were projected to go. It was obviously a universal consensus that Addai was a better player than Williams, and it's doubtful that his superior career thus far has anything to do with being a member of an offense with Dallas Clark, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and PEYTON MANNING, along with one of the best-coached lines in football.

As for our return game, a pick was spent this year on one of the best kick returners in college football history. Perhaps it has something to do with the blocking? Furthermore, if Drew Carter was our best option, he'd probably be back there. Some guys, however, just can't catch kicks. Have you ever caught a ball kicked from 60 yards away by one of the best kickers in the world? Didn't think so.

As for some more of Hurney and Fox's terrible moves: they acquired a pair of standout punters in Sauerbrun and Baker, acquired Stephen Davis (the best back in team history), drafted Jordan Gross (who has been an All-Pro), acquired Mark Fields, Jake Delhomme, and Mike Wahle (all Pro Bowl), drafted Chris Gamble (All-Rookie), acquired Ken Lucas (All-Pro), and drafted Richard Marshall (all-Rookie.) I don't have anybody else to compare that too, but that seems like a pretty solid job to me.

What difference does it make whether Carr is on the roster right now or not? He does not cost the team a dime until his roster bonus in March.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 8, 2008 5:22:35 PM

Try that on your Madden franchise, socalfan. It won't actually work, especially the idea of getting Rice to tutor our receivers. He doesn't need that.

I do like the idea of getting Turner, if the price is fair, but seriously, he gets his yards after the Defense is already tired of trying to catch LT. Look closer when they play the Colts.

And switching to a 3-4? Julius can't play LB, and even if he could, none of our current LBs, save maybe Diggs, has the ability to shed blocks that LBs need in a 3-4. Look at the size of the LBs on the Pats' and Steelers'. Big boys, former DEs; NOT safeties.

Posted by: David | Jan 8, 2008 5:39:42 PM

Michael you are my hero. Please come see me more often.

Britney Spears

Posted by: britney | Jan 8, 2008 5:52:14 PM


After reading all of the comments I have come to the realization that you are a complete idiot. Jordan Gross has never been an all-pro, never been on the Pro Bowl roster. Nice try.

Wilford has been a starter on a Jacksonville team that has taken 2 WR's in the first round.

James Anderson will be entering his 3rd year, if he can't beat out Diggs, a career journeyman he's a bust.

Any NFL personal director will tell you that a team is built in rounds 2-6. The Patriots must be doing something different compared to the Panthers, maybe? 3 rings.

Are you talking about the same Chris Gamble who cost the Panthers the Vikings game, or the one who can't tackle?

I will call Kalil and Jarrett a bust from this stand point what does either one give you on special teams?

Ryne Robinson may have been a great return man in what ever junior varsity conference he played, but this is the NFL. The Panthers were 2nd to last in the NFL in return yards.

Did you really try to defend the Lafors pick? Nice try Marty, I mean Michael.

Posted by: Kevin | Jan 8, 2008 5:59:33 PM

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