Interesting article from the Charlotte Observer
Hurney hit the nail on the head. The Panthers have absolutely cultured an environment that accepts losing. Of course, they never admit to it. If asked, they immediately say how much they want to win. Easy to say, more difficult to show every day in practice and on Sundays.
The example was set. Lose and everyone still gets a paycheck, sometimes a pay raise. If you had to pinpoint when this started, you may have to look at the Arizona playoff game where Delhomme threw 5 interceptions and was rewarded by a huge contract extension. The Panthers have not had a winning record since.
While Hurney was not on the field or making play calls, he was absolutely integral in creating this "losing environment" that needs to be made with his poor personnel decisions.
It took several seasons for the losing mentality to infect this team. Its something that won't go away this season, or maybe next. But players now realize the days of big paychecks for mediocre play are over. That in itself may start to turn this thing in the right direction.
i think fox played a huge part in this as well.
sure, he started off hard and tough enough, but soon after experiencing early success it got to where it was just about maintaining the status quo. fox wanted to do the same things with the same people thinking that it would bring about the same success. i mean you could tell it from interviews after that AZ playoff stomp. fox said that they used the same game plan from their game against the cards early in the season where they won. no adjustments...did the same thing with the same people expecting the same results, not taking into account that other teams might be making adjustments and might have changed some things in the 10 or so weeks between the first and second time they met.
he was too quick with "it is what it is" which i always viewed as an apathetic response of just accepting the way things were with no desire to change.
i said it many times before...that fox was a good guy, but he wasn't able to bring the most out of his players because he was more interested in being "just good enough". you don't have to be great...you just have to be better than average. it set the bar low for himself and the players and it was a goal that they just barely met on good years.
i really didn't like the culture of apathy that was being formed in the team. then hurney went and gave jake that contract after it was obvious that he was very much on the downside of his career. they gave him that contract because they wanted to show that they had his back...which is fine, but it also told the rest of the team that the organization is going to be loyal to them because we brought them here and they don't have to worry about what they do on the field or even if they haven't been able to stay healthy. it also told the fanbase that what is most important here is being loyal to your players and not ensuring that the team is able to win games. being nice and loyal >>> being winners.
i like that richardson wasn't satisfied with the direction the team was going and that they weren't creating a winning team and gave fox that ultimatum to have two winning seasons in a row doing it the fox way or richardson would tear it down and start all over. the mistake richardson made was keeping the two guys responsible for creating that mess around as long as he did. fox should have been gone after the '09 season and hurney with him....just to start with a truly clean slate.
by not doing that and letting 2010 become the clusterf*ck it became (which he should have anticipated) he found a way to tell the players that he's ok with keeping people with no real incentive to be here other than to collect a check and finish out their contract.
it's just been one bad message after another with everyone lowering the bar of expectation.
drafting cam was a great step in the right direction in trying to change the culture here. firing hurney is another step in letting the team know that they aren't interested in being loyal anymore to staff and players...they are interested in building a winning team and if you don't help make that happen, if you don't pull your own weight and if you don't make things better, you become expendable.