The Panthers need to hire, and be willing to pay, a top flight defensive coordinator. We also need a head coach that is dedicated to the defensive side of the ball and a running game, but is not afraid to make "gutsy calls" when warranted. Noll, Cowher, and now Tomlin believe in a conservative brand of football (and probably rightly so), but will go on 4th down, call a surprise on-side kick, a flea flicker, or have an RB or WR pass every now and then. Of course, you can afford to be somewhat more dynamic when you have a great defense to smooth over things when things go astray offensively.
Isn't it funny how the Steelers did not have legitimate chances to reach the Super Bowl when they relied on second-rate, shaky QBs at the helm. The Cliff Stoudts, Mark Malones, Neil O'donnells and Kordell Stewarts of the world would make good plays, but they were just as likely to throw inopportune interceptions on some pretty big stages. In short, they were not the kind of QBs that you could consistently count on to get you over the top. Though some may not want to hear it, Jake Delhomme is of that same mold, and our defense no where good enough to cover the ills of his ineffeiciency, being highly suspect itself. Big Ben is not a QB with the most flare, but he is a star. Even despite running for his life because of a suspect O-line, he still finds ways to win. He's as tough as they come, and last season he had the highest efficiency rating of any QB in the NFL, and he's always somewhere near the top every year in efficiency. With Roethlisberger and their core defense and, the Steelers will be in the post season mix for the next decade. Moreover, with their organizational philosophy they will never have too many "off" years. The proof is in the pudding.
Lastly, the Steelers always seem to have at least one big play receiver, and can count on their number 2 (or possibly 3) to make the huge plays when their number is called as well. Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington are those guys (not to mention Heath Miller, technically a TE, but used very smartly in the passing game).
Now when using the Steelers as a gauge, the Panthers have it right in really only two areas: the running game, and possibly the passing game (though we need to use the TEs more intelligently in the flow of our offense). Also, IMHO, the coaches need to probably call a little more screen plays, draw plays, and other plays of misdirection more in their offensive play calling. Coach Fox may or may not be a Noll, Cowher or Tomlin. He could still be given the benefit of the doubt, but just as deservedly could be fired for someone who is better able to adjust to the flow of the game. Trgovac is not that guy, and some changes in defensive philosophy and/or personnel have to be made to sustain ourselves within the NFL's elite organizations. Jake Delhomme is not that guy.
Basically, what I am saying, is that we may luck ourselves into a championship with the coaches and personnel that we have now, but we need to make some real changes to become a top team in year in and year out. When the opposition comes to Charlotte, they have to know that the game is going to be tough because our owners, coaches and players (most importantly your QB) are tough, and they know what the hell they are doing at all times, and are not afraid to punch you in the mouth and the nose by any means necessary, every single time.
Edited by top dawg, 19 January 2009 - 04:04 PM.