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So whose fault is the Harris trade?


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#1 Mr. Scot

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:01 AM

The automatic answer would be John Fox, Marty Hurney, and maybe Jerry Richardson.

Look deeper than that, though. There are a number of people who, in one way or another, nudged this toward its ultimate conclusion.

Names that come to mind...


Sherrod Martin

In Martin, you have the person that probably bears (pardon the wording) the brunt of the responsibility, though not intentionally.

Slated to play corner, Sherrod Martin was forced into free safety duty due to injuries. And while he hadn't set the world on fire practicing as a corner, put back at his natural position, he showed a spark of ability to play well at the pro level. That spark, applied to the gun powder of a change-filled offseason, helped fire Chris Harris off to another location.

The Panthers want to find a way to get Sherrod Martin on the field. Frankly that's a wise strategy. One of the sad realities of professional football is that one man's opportunity is all too often another man's turning point. Thus, the team decided that getting Martin more playing time was important; so much so that it was even worth losing a good teammate like Chris Harris.


Charles Godfrey

If Sherrod Martin was the powder, Charles Godfrey was the striker. The natural assumption for most after watching Sherrod Martin step in and show more in a few games than Godfrey had in two years was that Godfrey would be the odd man out.

Ah, but in the NFL, it's not that simple.

Godfrey got the chance to play again, and he took advantage of it. he looked better in coverage, and even delivered a blistering hit or two (witness the lick he laid on Wes Welker). All in all, he showed enough in his post-injury playing time to get the coaching staff's attention. They decided that Godfrey's potential trumped Harris' production.

Truthfully, they're not the first team to make such a decision. Sometimes it works. Other times, it doesn't. This time? We'll see.

Is Godfrey the intimidating hitter that Harris is? No, but he's younger, faster, cheaper, and still has potential while Harris - to borrow a Foxism - is what he is. In the league of today, equations like that generally add up to moving day for someone.


Jordan Pugh and Aaron Francisco

Okay, so you start Godfrey and Martin? You can still keep Harris for depth, right?

Well, you could, except you just drafted a couple of prospects that you'd like to stick. Carry five safeties? It's been done, but the team also signed a load of special teamers that you're hoping to keep around as well.

Pugh, Francisco and guys like the Marcus brothers (Hudson and Walker) play overall a pretty small role in this event. Still, they do factor in because rosters have limits and draft picks - even lower round ones - have value. If you doubt just how much the Panthers value draft picks, check out the depth chart breakdown here.


Ron Meeks

It's no coincidence that Chris Harris' arrival came with Mike Trgovac in charge while his departure was from a defense run by Ron Meeks.

Does Meeks dislike Harris? No, but his system emphasizes speed in the secondary more than power. The Colts' Super Bowl year showed us that Meeks' system works best with a Bob Sanders type safety. Is Harris that? yes and no. He's certainly the same kind of hitter as Sanders, but Sanders is better in coverage.

The team now believes that either Godfrey or Martin (probably Godfrey) can play the Sanders role, and that makes Harris expendable.


Drew Brees (among others)

Sitting home for the offseason, the Panther braintrust had plenty of time to watch the Saints run to the Super Bowl, and Drew Brees' ascension from a guy with nice stats to an actual winner. They also had time to look around at the developing passing attacks of other division and conference opponents. At some point, it likely became clear that the team needed to evolve.

Rule changes over the years have served to make the NFL a more pass friendly league than it was in olden days. And while no one should expect the Panthers to come out with a run-and-shoot type attack this year, it does seem that the Panthers have come to understand the need for change on both sides of the ball.

Unfortunately, that meant Harris was no longer as good a fit as before.


And the rest...

Things being what they are, I know some will want to put Harris himself on this list. Specifically, it's thought that his being what team officials might have considered a tad "loose-lipped" when discussing the team's offseason moves might have hastened his getting a ticket out of town.

Me? I'm not buying that these things played a significant role, if they even mattered at all :nonod:

The only blame Harris truly shoulders in this drama is for being who he is: a hard hitting intimidator on a team that, right or wrong, has come to value a different type of player more than his sort. Harris has certainly been the best player of his kind that he could be, but even the highest quality square peg still won't fit in a round hole. The roles changed. Harris became miscast. That's not his fault, but it's a lot more compelling reason than anything posted on Twitter.

And yes, of course there's John Fox.

It's worth noting that this is a bit of a departure from the coach we've known since 2002. John Fox has always valued physicality and intimidation in defensive backs more so than speed and coverage ability. The Panthers went to the Super Bowl with Terry Cousin, Ricky Manning and Reggie Howard as corners and Mike Minter at strong safety . With Chris Harris now gone, there's pretty much no one left in the secondary that resembles any of those guys. When he was first brought in, people talked about Harris as Minter's worthy successor. After today's trade, it would seem Mike Minter is now truly gone for good.

The league has changed, and the Panthers are adapting to meet that change.

As with many of the other moves made this offseason, the team gains in athleticism but loses some of its leadership, at least on the field. Last season, when the team was looking for new defensive coaches, they emphasized finding guys that were good teachers. Now that veterans are taking up a lower percentage of the roster than before, those teaching skills are, to say the least, very important.

I doubt the team even realized this time last year just how important that aspect would become.

Here's hoping they're up to the task.

#2 pantherj

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:06 AM

Imo Meeks has a pass to do whatever he wants with our roster. If he doesn't like Harris, so long buddy.

#3 Dollar Store Dave

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:07 AM

Hm. How about possibly adding in injuries to Chris Harris on that list? I think that had a lot to do with it, watching him miss the first month of the season, and watching the team growing without him. I think the coaching staff may have made the right decision.

I would've just tried to get more for him. (Either a pick, or another player.)

#4 Mr. Scot

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:12 AM

Hm. How about possibly adding in injuries to Chris Harris on that list? I think that had a lot to do with it, watching him miss the first month of the season, and watching the team growing without him. I think the coaching staff may have made the right decision.

I would've just tried to get more for him. (Either a pick, or another player.)

Possible, but even healthy he still wasn't the fastest guy on the field.

My biggest worry with the linebacker moves right now is that they may foreshadow for Thomas Davis. Meaning either he and the the team are way apart on discussions of a long term deal or his recovery may not be going as well as hoped.

There's no actual evidence for either of those things, mind you, but both are unpleasant possibilities.

#5 Seamonk

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:15 AM

Mr. Scot is pretty cool, yo

#6 BlindSite

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:21 AM

The reasons why he's gone:

The team has two safety's who can each cover one half of the field, run, cover and hit hard when needed. i.e. They're both arguably already better in coverage and though, not as hard hitting, likely good enough to stop run plays as harris used to, albeit without the highlight reel fumbles.

They're a lot younger. See: Youth movement.

The team also drafted and signed players who can play ST which Harris was likely to start winding down on given his age and shoulder issues.

He's had issues with his shoulder the past few years.

He spent a good portion of the offseason publicly stating he was disappointed in the team's philosophy to release his friends who were declining and over 30 themselves.

Basically, for the team there's players who can produce the same, who're younger and who didn't bitch out the organisation to anyone who listened.

#7 PantherFan52

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:26 AM

Why can I not get that sequence of Godfrey trying to stop Felix Jones but instead was brutally anke broken out of my fuging head. I may need to go to psychotherapy in order to help me cope with Godfrey starting at SS.

Hopefully he comes out and plays this year like he did post injury last year. Pardon my poor phrasing of words. I'm in the process of writing an english paper but I cannot help but check these boards every two seconds. Multi-tasking isn't one of my strongpoints.



#8 rmoneyg35

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:41 AM

And to those who don't remember that hit on Welker here enjoy


but also remember for big hitters like Godfrey, there are big misses.

Heres what we have to hope that Godfrey doesn't do



#9 PantherFan52

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:46 AM

hey broski. Not trying to be a fug or anything. ... But i kind of just posted that link

#10 rmoneyg35

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:53 AM

Also has anyone thought that the Harris trade has actually been in the works for a while we just was waiting to pull the trigger till after the draft? We have signed and drafted too many Dbs in my opinion. We just got Francisco what a week or two ago? with the signings of Walker and Hudson and Witherspoon(Spoon is mainly a returnman) and drafting 3 more Dbs (one FA rookie O'Hanlon) I think we are adapting to the new NFL rules and getting fast backs that can cover well. Anyone notice how the saints signed so many Dbs throughout the year? Winning teams are always copied every year, maybe we are trying to do the same.

Edited by rmoneyg35, 28 April 2010 - 02:58 AM.


#11 rmoneyg35

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:56 AM

hey broski. Not trying to be a f**k or anything. ... But i kind of just posted that link


Lol sorry man I didn't see it. I typed in Godfrey hit and that was the first thing to pop up.

#12 PantherFan52

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 02:59 AM

Lol sorry man I didn't see it. I typed in Godfrey hit and that was the first thing to pop up.


No worries my man. Like they say great minds think alike. (that was a homo comment btw. I'm sorry I may have caused an uncomfortable moment for those who read this.)


Please forgive me

#13 Malachias

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:19 AM

i honestly believe that the whole twitter thing got him traded.

#14 Guest_silver82blade_*

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:47 AM

is attempted rationalization one of the five stages of loss? i don't think it is, but it should probably go after denial and somewhere before depression.

#15 Zod

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 05:43 AM

Probably Drew Brees more than anyone.


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