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#31 Frash Brastard

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 04:19 AM

Here's my take on who needs to go, and who doesn't.

Most of these thoughts were formed before tonight's game. Only a few are new, with the very first being the most obvious of the "new" batch :(


DEPARTURES

JAKE DELHOMME: I'm as big a fan of Delhomme as you'll find, but I'm not sure his teammates can follow him into battle in the future as confidently as they did before. If they can, then he stays, and it'll be a testament to just how much respect he command in the locker room. Much as I hate it though, i just don't see that happening.

My best hope: the team keeps him on-board in some sort of coaching capacity. Delhomme has shown himself to be the kind of guy you want as a mentor to the younger QBs. Mike McCoy critics would likely love to see Delhomme replace his QB coach. I doubt we'll see that (at least not next year) but he's good for the team, and I'd love to see his influence remain even if it isn't in an on-field role. Delhomme is a conundrum. So is QB. One area of the game that every year you hope and pray something gets worked on, an area gets improved, or a competent guy gets brought in to back him up but it never does happen
MIKE TRGOVAC: To be clear, I'm not new to the anti-Trgo movement, but I think tonight was definitive. yes, the defense didn't give up as much in the second half, but I think you'd have to say the Cardinals took their foot off the gas (and why not? we were posing no threat) :( This is just the latest of many Trgovac blunders. What looked like a top ten defense fell apart after the bye and never got back together. Maybe teams got wise to the ultra-conservative scheme. I, personally, want an Eagles defensive assistant, maybe Sean McDermott, somebody who's going to teach these players to ATTACK THE BALL and wreak havoc. Then again, like mentioned above, this is just another phase of the game you hope gets worked on every year and never does.
KEN LUCAS: That he's miscast as a physical corner on a defense that prefers zone coverage is valid, and not his fault. With that said, his combination of age, salary and overall quality make it pretty unlikely he'll still be a Panther next season. Shame because I like him. The downside though? I'm not dead certain that his heir apparent, Richard Marshall, is the answer as a starting corner. maybe he is, but I'm not convinced of that at this point. Lucas is not a bad player, and he wouldn't be an issue if he didn't cost so much money against the cap. We might need that cash to improve other areas (i.e. interior Dline needs some serious help) so he might actually be a cap casualty.

JEREMY BRIDGES: This one's iffy, because both Jordan Gross and Geoff Hangartner are free agents this offseason. What happens with them could have a big impact on whether Bridges sticks around, especially Hangarter. If the team hangs on to Hangartner, it could be bad news for his CPI security partner. Hurts me a lot to say it because I've always liked Bridges, but with the line depth overall better and the notion that at least a few tweaks happen every offseason, his time as a Panther could be at an end. My overall sense is that it will be, but I could easily be wrong. Bridges, is, at best, a backup you can rely on to play a game or two in place of a banged up starter. To fill-in the entire rest of the season? Not so much. Bridges made a name for himself because at the time we signed him, people like Evan Mathis were starting on the line, and the competition at RT was nowhere to be found when Gross had to move over to the other side. If he wants to continue backing up, keep him, if he wants to start, sayonara.
NICK GOINGS: The Panthers longtime Mr. Reliable largely disappeared this past season. the emergence - and durabilty - of Jonathan Stewart, made him redundant. It's honestly hard to imagine a Panther roster without Nick Goings, but come next year I have a feeling you won't need an imagination to see it.


DEMOTIONS

DAMIONE LEWIS: I like Lewis, but I like him a lot better as a situational rusher than I do as an every down lineman. Likewise I prefer Ma'ake Kemoeatu as a two down player geared toward running downs. To be clear, I believe the team made the right decision when it ousted Kris Jenkins. With that said, I also think the team needs to find an every down DT to take his spot next year, allowing them to go back to using Kemo and Lewis situationally as they did when Jenkins was here. Lewis is just not conditioned to be an every down lineman. He gets tired and he can't penetrate the line as good the further and further the game progresses. That's why he never made noise in St Louis. We need to bring in some role players and really create a nice rotation here. Rocky Bernard's due out of Seattle and he's had success working in their rotation. I think a little rest here and there would be good for everybody.
JEFF KING: Yeah, I know I'm reaching here, but I'm holding out hope that this will be the offseason the team finally decides to ditch the "one blocker, one receiver" model at tight end and goes after a Jason Witten / Todd Heap / Dallas Clark type TE that can do both things well. Being brutally honest, nobody has to respect Jeff king as a receiver. We need someone starting at tight end that teams do have to account for while also being someone who can contribute in the run game as well. Good as the offense was this year, that one thing could have made it all that much better. Here's the deal. King is not a weapon on offense. He's not the best blocker either. Nobody's afraid if he goes and runs a route because he might not even catch the ball anyway. And here it is again. TE, it's another area we all hope gets improved upon, though not as much as other areas, but never does. He'll probably get dropped and we will cycle everybody up a notch to Rosario, Barnidge, 2nd day draft pick.

NA'IL DIGGS: You might read this and think "Diggs did nothing glaringly wrong this season" and you'd be right. With that said, I think his best contribution on the defense has been veteran presence and leadership. At this point, I believe Jon Beason has enough seasoning to fill that role, and for that reason i can see Diggs being demoted so that a younger, faster guy can take over, solidifying what could be one of the best linebacking corps in the league (if they get the right guy). I honestly believe if Landon Johnson performed better this season, or at least up to the par i thought he would, Diggs would have been a backup long before the season was over. It obviously wouldn't hurt to get someone in here with speed and youth on their side.


UNDERSTUDYS

BRAD HOOVER: In one or two cases, I'm not so much looking for a replacement as I am a successor. At the top of that list, longtime fullback and one time pie-in-the-face victim Brad Hoover. I think it's long past time we had an "heir apparent" waiting behind Hoover. As I've stated before, no disrespect to Hoover but I'd like for the next fullback to be more of a Howard Griffith / Lorenzo Neal type sledgehammer back.

MUHSIN MUHAMMAD: Moose was great this year, and I do believe he's got one more year like that in him. With that said though, the team needs someone of similar pedigree waiting in the wings. Sadly, I don't think either DJ Hackett or Dwayne Jarrett is "that guy". If the team finds someone who is ready to go, then by the middle of next season I think it's conceivable that Moose moves into the "Ricky Proehl" position as the savvy veteran number three. Mind you, this can only truly work if his replacement is at least somewhere close to Moose in the blocking skill department. Otherwise the run game may suffer. This WR coaching hasn't churned out any real talent since Smith. I mean man we used to pump em out easy. Mark Carrier, the aforementioned Moose, hell, even Rae Carruth had a decent 97 campaign, before, well, you know. Now nobody's growing as a WR on this team. It's one thing that might only be remedied by grabbing a FA, but that might not even happen
RETURNS

Without much comment, here are the people whose ouster and or replacement I think some folks will be calling for undeservedly:

Charles Godfrey (hit the rookie wall, but still good for the future) he's young, but I'm not all that comfortable with not at least bringing a guy in to compete.
Tyler Brayton/Charles Johnson (an able enough rotation on the other side if Peppers stays) I actually like the combo here. It's a good rotation that if we build upon and fine-tune, we could have a rotation similar to what the Giants have.
Mark Jones (unspectacular perhaps, but solid and improving) Jones is the best returner we've had in a while. Definitely a keeper, which means other fan favorites might get pushed out (Ryne Robinson)

John Kasay (still has a year two in him, Rhys Lloyd looks like a decent understudy) Kasay can boot field goals till his foot falls off for all I care, as long as he's good at it, and he's shown no sign of deteriorating.
Julius Peppers / Jordan Gross (not a doubt in my mind now that both need to be re-signed)
Jeff Davidson (still learning, and was outmatched tonight, but is steadily getting better)
John Fox (still the best coach the Panthers have had; any calls to get rid of him now are unfounded) Because of the health our owner is in, yea, not going to happen this year, so all speculation on that is moot anyway.
.


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#32 Mr. Scot

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 04:45 AM

I think he'd be great as an emotional and supportive leader, but Jake has never displayed a real understanding of disciplined and fundimental QB play. So I'm not sure I'd want him to be the one developing my young QB, or even mentoring a vet.

If you ever hear Delhomme talk about plays, you get that he probably has a lot better understanding of the ins and outs than he gets credit for. that said, I wouldn't hand the QB coach reins to him, just a support role.


I'll disagree here. I think Diggs has been one of the more consistent defenders this year. No, he's not spectacular, but he is staedy and reliable and doesn't make many mistakes. And I believe his successor is already on the roster (Connor), but since he was on IR, will need another year before he brings more than Diggs.

Connor slipped my mind here (but it's late, I'm tired and pissed) :(

Godfrey actually had a much better year than many want to give him credit for. Like all rookies, he has had his ups and downs, but overall he's done fine. It's easy for some to blame the rookie when a mistake in the defensive backfield occurs, but I think as the season went on, it was obvious that Marshall and Lucas were not the shining stars many thought them to be before the season. Yet, initial impressions seem to last...rightly or wrongly.

Godfrey had his share of mental errors, but I expect that of a rookie. I do think he's a keeper and will be loads better with another camp under his belt.

I do think Robinson will be a better and more explosive returner with experience, but Jones is a solid returner that doesn't make mistakes and has earned the right to at least compete for the job.

I'm not as confident on Robinson returning to form, but I'd be very haooy to be wrong.

I agree that fox is the best coach this team has ever had. And in no way do I see him being let go. There is also no doubt that he is a good coach that would find a job almost immediately if we fired him. However, I do worry that he may be one of those coaches that can have his teams competative year in and year out but not really be a true SB coach. In other words, I fear there may be a limit to how good his teams will consistently be.

IMO, Fox has a conservative and stubborn streak that can get in the way of his teams success on occasion. For example, his tendency to let off the gas once we get a lead, or his sticking with certain players past the point that it's obvious they are not the best option. If he can learn to loosen up on those two traits, then I think he can be one of the truly elite coaches in the league.

Tony Dungy, Bill Cowher and others were long knocked as being great regular season coaches who couldn't seal the deal (Marty Schottenheimer still has that rep). Sad to say that Fox will likely be viewed the same way unless he wins a Super Bowl.

#33 Fox007

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 05:03 AM

Tony Dungy, Bill Cowher and others were long knocked as being great regular season coaches who couldn't seal the deal (Marty Schottenheimer still has that rep). Sad to say that Fox will likely be viewed the same way unless he wins a Super Bowl.




Hes nothing close to being a "great" regular season coach, 68-52 is slightly above average.
At the MOST you could say he is a good regular season head coach, but that is a huge reach.

#34 Mesmer

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 05:18 AM

It's really rather unfortunate how this season ended up playing out. I mean, obviously...but way back before the season, before camp, we were under the impression that if Fox could get this team to the playoffs this season, that his job would be safe.

I guess with all our recent trends, getting to the playoffs means we have a tremendous season with a deep run, and failing to make the playoffs means we're 7-9.

I don't think anyone could have predicted that we would look so good at times, finish 12-4 in the regular season, and be one gust of wind away from having the #1 seed in the NFC. Even in our last two playoff trips, we didn't have as high of a seed as we had this season. Who could have predicted that we would be one and done to the Arizona Cardinals? That's seriously the epitome of shocking disappointment.

We had a good season. Fox and Co. promised us the return of a dominant running game that could control the clock, and a stout defense that would stop the run. We certainly were much improved over last year.

I know it's terrible, and it sucks to wait through another off-season, but this next season is really going to be the test. Will we build off of what we accomplished this season and take it to the next level? Or will we simply simmer away, get a mid round pick, miss the playoffs, and receive a bunch of excuses?

If this same result is repeated next year, Fox is probably done. It's not that we lost. It's how we lost. I'm not so sure even the most patient of owners would be able to forgive a HC for another immensely embarrassing and disappointing playoff exit.

Fox deserves to have another go, IMO. He got this team back to the playoffs, and now it's time to build on that and move on. We need to come back next year even stronger, and next year when/if we make the playoffs that sting of defeat should hopefully be enough to get us over the hump and make a run.

#35 carpanfan96

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 05:28 AM

I've been think about it, after some of the games this season and last nights game. I don't think fox deserves another chance, he's had plenty of chances already and isn't a good enough game manager for some reason. In the least we need to make major changes on defense to be a more consistent team on both sides of the ball. I doubt all this happens though, because at the moment it looks like pep doesn't want to be a panther.

#36 chbright

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 05:47 AM

jake coming off the books would open up alot of possibilities, same wih lucus.

i say we do for broke on defense. get an agressive DE as mentioned and go for haynesworth. if jake goes it opens cap room with the expanding cap. lucus and jake going mite open the money up so he can be signed with pep and gross. love to get a stud in the middle. after seeing what allen and williams netted in draft value, i dangle gross out there and see if i get a bite for a probowl LT.


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