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January 23, 2009

Dissecting Panthers' coaching defections

Considering the fact that head coach John Fox is staying and the Panthers had a 12-4 regular season, it's surprising that the Panthers have lost five assistant coaches over the past week or so.

It looks like a mass exodus that could have a controversial root cause.

But perhaps it was simply a matter of five coaches whose contracts ran out bettering themselves. We've learned more about some of their situations today. Let's look at them individually, and you decide:

-- Quarterbacks coach/passing game corodinator Mike McCoy got a promotion to Denver's offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach. Though he's still not expected to call plays (new head coach Josh McDaniels was New England's offensive coordinator), it's a clear elevation.

-- Linebackers coach Ken Flajole became defensive coordinator in St. Louis, another obvious promotion.

-- Defensive line coach Sal Sunseri joined Nick Saban's staff at Alabama as assistant head coach/linebackers coach. While it may look unusual to become a college assistant, we're told Sunseri received a three-year contract. That's better job security for himself and his family than he would've had with a two-year deal with the Panthers. Plus, Sunseri would like to be a college head coach someday.

-- Defensive backs Tim Lewis made what appeared to be a lateral move to a similar position with the Seattle Seahawks. He'd love to be a coordinator again, but he also reportedly was looking to move closer to family. His brother Will is Seattle's pro personnel director.

-- Mike Trgovac turned down a chance to remain as defensive coordinator and instead returned to being a position coach with Green Bay (defensive line). It looks like a step back, but Trgovac said he deliberated for days about his decision and determined he needed a fresh start, and that it would be best for coach John Fox to get a fresh start with a new defensive coordinator. Trgovac said he and Fox remain close friends and that it wasn't easy to leave after seven years together.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on January 23, 2009 at 07:13 PM | Permalink


Two words: Herman Edwards

Posted by: Matthew | Jan 23, 2009 7:19:42 PM

doesn't matter the reasons given, or suggested, by each coach. five defections from a 12-4 team is odd given that Fox is staying, and deserves further explanation by the Panthers.

Posted by: hammertime | Jan 23, 2009 7:21:11 PM

I can't help but wonder of Trgovac got tired of taking the heat for having such a passive defense when that was actually Fox's doing. Whatever the case, it's clear that all is not well as it appears within the John Fox camp.

Posted by: Allen | Jan 23, 2009 7:31:11 PM

A few more words: Edwards has said he doesn't want to be a defensive coordinator, only a defensive backs coach. Of course, we're looking for one of those, too.

Posted by: jeff | Jan 23, 2009 7:32:45 PM

Jeff, I have no problem with Herm being our DB Coach. In fact, I love the idea, and I would like to see someone else take the DC job.

Posted by: Herm4DBCoach | Jan 23, 2009 7:57:36 PM

Hey Charles,

Don't say "Let's look at them individually, and you decide:" and then give your own interpretation of each situation!

If we're to decide, we don't need your commentary.

I do think that most of the coaches left for a better spot, and that Trgo left because he was intelligent enough to see that he had played out the string here (and that's a compliment to him).

I would defintely like to see some more imagination of the defensive side of the ball, but then again, I'd like to see more imagination on the offensive side too.

I fear that the lack of imagination comes from the top. We play so many close games because Fox is WAY too conservative with even a small lead.

Posted by: JT | Jan 23, 2009 8:14:11 PM

3-4 defense coming

Posted by: mike | Jan 23, 2009 8:30:15 PM

peppersmight reconsider

Posted by: mike | Jan 23, 2009 8:30:44 PM

Pat Y., formerly of the Observer and now with ESPN, is suggesting that the defensive coaches were ticked off that they weren't offered extensions prior to the play-offs.

Posted by: Will R | Jan 23, 2009 8:32:20 PM

There is no doubt in my mind that Turgo had the ability to run a smart defense. We went to the SuperBowl with him and he has shown signs of brilliance. YET, the fact is that what our defense has lost more of year after year is heart. Players aren't stepping up, those who need to be sat aren't, and some don't even care. A new coach will lay down new rules and a new focus. Turgo had just gotten soft after all those years. He needed a new start and so did the Panthers. It's a good thing...

Posted by: Brad Baker | Jan 23, 2009 8:33:06 PM

Lets see...Peppers AGENT said Julius wants: out and a week later---they FIRE the ENTIRE Defensive Coaching staff! Well too late, I wish they made adjustments that well during games. Peppers is heading to GB for Kampman--Sounds like Reggie White leaving Philly. But I can't blame him he's got Barney fife as a QB,Mr. Noodles as a coach and on top of all of that he plays in CHARLOTTE! and it's not UPTOWN is most definitly DOWNTOWN! and a big JOKE--GB here we come...See you loser Panther Fans at the SUPERBOWL!!!!!!!!

Posted by: PJ's College Fund | Jan 23, 2009 9:07:29 PM

hey PJ; eat a richard!

Posted by: Tom | Jan 23, 2009 9:13:55 PM

I'm with JT. Bring in the 3-4!

Posted by: 3-4 | Jan 23, 2009 9:28:56 PM

I can't wait until the truth finally does come out. Something is rotten here and it is beginning to stink.

I for one hope that we are not running off the entire defensive staff in an attempt to keep a player here who has already made it clear that he does not want to be here.

If we are cleaning house when does Fox get to announce that he is leaving?

Posted by: Kev | Jan 23, 2009 9:46:15 PM

I think "it is what it is". HAHA! Sorry. Seriously though, I think Trgo was being honest when he said that he needed a change. How many assistant coaches stick w/ the same team for 7 years without leaving for a promotion or getting fired? Not many. Although it could have been that word came down from the top that big Jerry was pissed and was gonna clean house on the defense so they got out saving the embarrassment. I know a lot of these reporters are saying that they aren't doing this because of Peppers...they might not be doing it just because of him but you can bet your arse that it has a little something to do w/ it. He's one of Jerry's boys and when Minter retired he all but came out and said in the press conf that Peppers needs to be the leader of our defense now.

Posted by: jwatbama | Jan 23, 2009 10:29:19 PM

Surprising? Dude we had a average 2nd half of the season. Games against teams we should have beat by a lot. Our defense was horrible. And we asked for simple changes that would fix a few problems. Our staff decided not to, and we was BLOWN OUT AT HOME IN THE PLAYOFFS. Team was held back from the Superbowl by our coaches. Blame Jake INT. But it was the coaching staff fault to not implement a better passing game. Inactivate this WR, dont use 3rd WR. All we did was pass to Moose and Smith. All those picks came from throwing to them Then we abandoned the run. Coaching staff didnt prepare this team. Fire Fox, he can go too. Mike runs Fox defense

Posted by: jake the snake | Jan 23, 2009 10:29:45 PM

All that is left to make this the best off season ever is for Fox to get fired and take his boy Jack Delfubloome with him.

Posted by: kim | Jan 23, 2009 10:32:49 PM

I think the Panthers did indeed need a change of leadership on defense; however, it is quite shocking that trogo (not worthy of a capital t) left the Panthers for a less significant coaching position. This move spells trouble for the Panther's organization.

Something must be seriously wrong with this team. If everything was okay, then why would multiple coaches be leaving the defense? I just don't understand why coaches would be jumping a 12-4 ship, even if it means a demotion for them. Perhaps the front office is shaking the system up for J Pepp, or perhaps the departing coaching staff is fed up with Fox.

I can't put my finger on what's up, but I'm glad that a change is coming to the defense. Maybe Fox can rebuild the defense like he rebuilt the offense this past season.

I have some suggestions for how the 09 defense should take shape. The Panthers must get a shut down defensive end out of the draft, hopefully a first rounder if Pepper's maket value is right. Next, the Panthers are going to have to bring in a fat bodied defensive tackle, one who can stuff the run. This type of tackle will be available via free agency or the draft. Replacing Ken Lucas is a must also. I would also get Romeo as D coordinator. The Panthers should be alright if they follow these steps.

Posted by: Ace | Jan 23, 2009 11:05:11 PM

When ESPN reported yesterday that Trgovac was leaving...I cried! Next to my children being born and my wedding day, it was the happiest of my life! Trgovac lived off of the talent of our players for too long. Our defensive scheme could have been figured out by a popwarner team. No blitzing, no halftime adjustments, DB's playing 10 yrds off the WR's, using DE's as DB's when they should be rushing the passer! Too many to list...he was horrible and I begged for two years for this day to come! The only one I will miss is McCoy, I thought he could be a special coach. Now bring in Crennel,Edwards, or any defensive coach from Baltimore, Philly, Bucs, or Tennessee. KEEP PEPPERS!!!!

Posted by: Charles | Jan 23, 2009 11:23:19 PM

The Panthers won't fire Fox or get rid of Jake because that would mean starting our 09' campaign with no leadership what so ever from a 12 – 4 season. So what next??? Well Defensive Coordinator signing. Herm Edwards was a horrible head coach but will make a great defensive coordinator for Carolina. He wouldn’t have to do much because the talent is already there. If we loose lucas… cool, I like Marshall playing the two better he plays better outside than in the nickel anyway. Line backers are straight… Johnson will start next season… he’s learned the system. Safeties are in place. Defensive line… Free agency will help us with our defensive tackle situation, hopefully we can keep peppers… there I said it.

I definitely wouldn’t want to pay him all of that money, but the right system for him and a spark from Edwards our defense could light up the league.

Offensively RB’s are straight and so is the offensive line. Wide-outs are playing catch up to Smith… but who isn’t. Tight ends are service able… so (drumroll… please) It’s time to Draft a QB to complete or to replace Jake. Picking one up in the second round wouldn’t cost us that much and will definitely give us something to look forward to. Everyone else in the draft should be defensive unless, there is an offensive player too good to pass up sitting there.

I was appalled the way the season ended for us… I believe that I watched the whole Arizona game with my mouth wide open. JAAAAKKKKKEEEE… it’s time to throw in the towel… you are a punched out fighter. I know that you’re enamored with Kurt and how he could still perform at a high level… You never could though, but now it’s just plain embarrassing… for everyone!!!

Posted by: Caro2daHeart | Jan 23, 2009 11:49:20 PM

Bring in a hunger DC that will have something to prove like Sean McDermott. We don't need a Edwards or a Crennel that will be with us until another team give them another crack at a head coaching job. We need a young DC that is starving and that is tring to make a name for himself.

Posted by: Rod | Jan 24, 2009 1:42:14 AM

I agree with Rod, we need a young DC that wants to prove something. I cannot believe that these blogs have gone from calling for a winning coaches head, asking a loser who got lucky one year to be head coach, and now quoting Pat Yasskiss. He does not like the Panthers because they fired his "friend" Bill Rostinkski. I am not impressed with the intellectual power of my teams fan base at the moment.

Posted by: purefan | Jan 24, 2009 5:46:00 AM

All that is left to make this the best off season ever is for Fox to get fired and take his boy Jack Delfubloome with him.

Posted by: kim | Jan 23, 2009 10:32:49 PM


Posted by: jimmy | Jan 24, 2009 6:31:27 AM

Maybe Trgo just went north to find some vowels.

Posted by: Sunnyhill | Jan 24, 2009 8:04:27 AM

Two other words: Scott Mcdermott

Posted by: Herm Sucks and so does Hassbeenlet | Jan 24, 2009 8:19:38 AM

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