It's not as simple as "the players want him, so let's keep him". He'd have to want to stay too, and like anyone else who signs on here. he'd have to be on-board with the plans and ideas of Ron Rivera. Still, he's a good coach, has a solid reputation, does a job that the Panthers need right now, and is arguably the best name available at that spot right now. The other choices that are currently available aren't really anything to write home about.
So why isn't he signed? :confused:
Some of the possible reasons...
He really wants to work with John Fox: A distinct possibility. Skipper and Fox go way back, and it's been reported that Fox has a standing offer out to him. The problem? There's no open spot on the Denver staff. All position coaching roles are filled, and no team that I know of has a guy who's only the "assistant head coach". Would Denver brass sign off for that? Maybe, but they haven't yet.
Ron Rivera really wants someone else: Also quite possible. Rivera mentioned that they were having to wait to interview some coaching prospects because they were on playoff teams. A couple of guys that Rivera would know are still at work (Edgar Bennett) or just recently finished (Tim Spencer). So perhaps it's just a matter that in his mind, Skipper might be good, but someone else might be better.
The age factor: With the exception of John Matsko, the Panthers coaching hires have trended toward the younger side. Jim Skipper may not be ancient by coaching standards (62) but he is on the older side. "Age discrimination" you say? That's kind of a tricky topic to apply to sports. Is it age discrimination to drop a player whose skills are diminishing with age? No, coaching and playing aren't the same thing, but "old coach" often means "old school" and the new Panthers leader might be looking for something new.
The John Fox connection: It could also be that Jim Skipper's close connection to John Fox might be something that gives the team pause. Not in the sense that they fear Skipper may funnel info to Fox, mind you. And Ron Rivera has reached out to former members of John Fox's staff (retaining two) but not Skipper, who was far more tied to Fox than Ron Meeks or Sam Mills III (or pretty much anyone else, for that matter). Still, the team may not want someone with as strong a tie-in to the old way of doing things as Skipper would have.
Certainly, there are other possibilities, but looking over the things I've read and the factors that apply, these are the things that are uppermost in my mind.
In the end, I still don't believe that Jim Skipper will end up remaining on the Panthers staff. I know his prior students won't be happy about that, but I doubt the fallout will be huge. And who knows, his replacement might be just as good or better.
Bottom Line: I'll be happy if he stays, but I won't be devastated if he goes.
Edited by Mr Scot, 26 January 2011 - 09:16 PM.