Fox is not any more in danger of losing his job than any NFL coach, espcially this year because 2010 a FLUKE year full of unknowns created by the absence of a salary cap.
1) Several teams are attempting to buy their way into the playoffs. Although these teams overpaid, and will face long term financial distress when the salary cap returns, they were instantly enriched with player talent for this year. Fox wasn't given the uncapped money to compete with the opponents who are this year's New York Yankees of football.
2) Some teams, like the Panthers, spent extra this year to eliminate veteran players with topheavy long term contracts. Jerry Richardson understands this creates a short term deficiency of talent, but it gives the Panthers lots of economic opportunity for strategic growth when the collective bargaining agreement and the salary cap returns. Richardson's biggest expectation of Fox this year is that he correctly identify and develop the best players from our previous years' drafts.
3) Neither the Falcons nor the Saints could cut talent this year, because both teams are handcuffed to winning now while their current rosters are at their playmaking height. The NFL uses rules on the draft and the salary cap to create parity, particularly over time. The winningest teams lose talented veterans to the salary cap in free agency, and they select too late to get the best draft picks, unless they have exceptionally gifted "war room" personnel. Neither the Falcons nor the Saints organizations match us in this category. While I am admittedly a homer, I feel strongly that neither the Falcon's nor the Saint's organizations match the Panther's ability to scout and sign great draft picks.
Long story made short, it is better for the Panthers to rebuild this year while the Falcons and Saints duke it out at their zenith. That way, the optimum mix of Panther's player talent and salary cap management will occur during a year when the Falcons and Saints are in a talent decline induced by the salary cap. For that reason, a year in the near future, and not this year, will be the judgement day for Fox.
Edited by Darth Bobo, 12 May 2010 - 04:53 PM.