For those who don't know, I am a Carolina Panthers fan. For the longest time, even coming into this season with Jake Delhomme, I have been a supporter of John Fox. Fox is a guy who came to Carolina after a 1-15 season and has made the franchise respectable all the time and downright dangerous about, say, half the time.
I thought it was absolutely insane that there was talk about Fox and GM Marty Hurney both losing their jobs coming into the season. Yes, Jake Delhomme got an inexplicable 42 million buck extension (20 guaranteed) after throwing 35 interceptions in a playoff game. Yes, the Panthers continue to be viewed as a second tier team. Yes, it seems like every other year the Panthers embrace mediocrity. However, having seen where this franchise was before Fox and where it is now, I was of the opinion that the front office/coaching staff, as constructed, was the way to go.
Man, I was wrong. Dead wrong. And my wrongness has nothing to do with the Panthers' 2-4 record this year.
I am not of the opinion that one can really judge coaches on simple wins and losses. Players have to perform and execute. The best laid plans can fail without the talent to execute. Here's the thing...the Panthers brought back essentially the same team from last year that went 12-4 in the regular season. Watching them now, they look more like the Detroit Lions than a division winner.
The straw that breaks the camel's back has to be the game against the Buffalo Bills. The true sign of a bad team is when your team strength aligns perfectly with the opposition's weakness and you don't hold the lead for one single second.
The Buffalo Bills were allowing the opposition to rush for an awful 5.2 yards a carry. Carolina has two of the best backs in the league. And yet, the Panthers elect to run the ball 25 times against 45 throws. 45! With Jake Delhomme, who leads the world in interceptions.
For an offensive staff to allow Jake Delhomme to lose a game against the Buffalo Bills and only hand the ball to DeAngelo Williams 18 times and Jonathan Stewart 7 times is inexplicable, inexcusable, and feels like a fire-able offense.
Anyways, this is my rant. I think there's no surer sign of a bad team than one that doesn't realize its strengths or, more importantly, its weaknesses and allows its weakness to lose games.
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