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Joe Ovies

Newton gets the heat, Hurney gets the boot

Posted October 22, 2012

What the Carolina Panthers lack in wins, they certainly make up for it in off-the-field drama.

Following another disappointing loss, Cam Newton gave another emotionally draining press conference. He aired out his frustration with the lack of balance, offered to leave a suggestion box for tips on turning the season around and gave the overall impression that he had lost confidence in the coaching.

"The past couple of games have been the same script, by the same director," Newton said. "It’s kind of getting boring. This taste, this vibe — I’m not buying it, man. And I don’t know what it is, but something’s going to have to change. Something’s going to have to change real fast."

Newton has a tendency to butcher metaphors and analogies to the point where it's difficult to understand the intended meaning. The NFL media is quick to make this about Newton and the coaches, but he never actually points a finger at the problem. Newton can't even identify the problem. All he knows is that the same dog and pony show of near misses followed by showing the world how much it bothers him is getting old.

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson ain't feeling the vibe either, that's why longtime general manager Marty Hurney got the boot Monday morning.

Sunday's loss to the Dallas Cowboys was a microcosm of what has plagued the Panthers throughout the season. Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams had a combined 15 rushing attempts, with Williams getting the football twice for 4 yards in the five offensive plays he participated in. So much for getting a return on that $43 million contract extension. The Panthers also desperately miss Jeremy Shockey, who would be a much more viable target on a crucial 4th down situation than Louis Murphy.

The offensive scheme doesn't click like it did last year, but it's not like Hurney is the one calling the plays. However, Hurney did purchase groceries and overpaid a few times. Go look up the last four years of drafts by Hurney and explain how the cooks were supposed to whip up a winning dish.

That's what the national criticism of Newton has failed to explore. Richardson didn't pull the plug on Hurney because Newton has cooled off since his rookie season, he did it because there is absolutely no cohesiveness around the center of the offense. Ron Rivera and Rob Chudzinski are not John Fox, so it never made any sense to saddle a new coaching staff and a dynamic quarterback with the remnants of a roster that was built for other purposes. 

And what was left of that roster? It didn't produce much prior to Rivera's hiring and Hurney still felt it would be worth it to throw a ton of money towards keeping it intact. 

Richardson didn't make the Panthers immediately better with the firing of Hurney, but he did accomplish a couple of things with the move. It corrects the mistake of not parting ways with Hurney at the same time as Fox and it signals to impatient base in Charlotte that further change is coming. Richardson had to do it, otherwise he'd be wasting his own time and the high ceiling of a player like Newton.

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  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Oct 27, 11:38 a.m.

    ^^^^^^

    I never thought of the coaches until reading your posts, korn. What you saw with your 49'ers is proof positive what an impact a coach can have on a player. It seems to me the Panthers coaches are almost afraid to coach Cam up, they're almost intimidated by him, and don't want to come down too hard on him. I think that will change now. I like what I've seen on Rivera, but what I don't understand is why Coach Chud was so successful drawing up plays for Cam last year, and whatever they're doing this year just isn't working.

    The Harbaugh brothers sure can coach! Good luck to your guys this season. Their success is remarkable compared to just a few years ago.

  • kornfan2448 Oct 23, 5:12 p.m.

    I'm not a Cam Newton fan or even a Panthers fan, but to single out Newton to put the blame on is... View More

    — Posted by kornfan2448

    Agree that there is plenty of blame to go around. If Cam communicated with coaches and... View More

    — Posted by GunnyGoesArrrgh

    I agree gunn! But at the same time, the guys that are hired to "coach" him are rarely seen while he's sitting by himself with a towel over his head. Now granted, I'm not on the sideline, but seems a bit more effort from the coaches would help. I say this from experience as a Niners fan. Alex Smith didn't sit with a towel over his head, but under Singletary, just for example, he got little to no extra motivation or coaching even though he was always standing near coaches, looking at pics, talking to the receivers, etc. Enter Harbaugh. He took Smith under his wing and assured him that he was his guy and spent personal time coaching him and the results have been astounding. And Alex was in his 7th year, not his second. As a lifelong Niners fan, the last decade has been rough and while many fans wanted to blame the players, I put it in the coaches. Harbaugh came in with a 6-10 group and took them to within a muffed kick off from the Superbowl with NO offseason preparation as a former college coach.

  • dave437 Oct 23, 1:53 p.m.

    Cam has no leadership skills whatsoever. If only Andrew Luck had come out a year early as expected....

  • littleriver69 Oct 23, 10:22 a.m.

    Firing Hurney?? He wasn't on the field. How about the players?

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Oct 23, 9:44 a.m.

    I'm not a Cam Newton fan or even a Panthers fan, but to single out Newton to put the blame on is... View More

    — Posted by kornfan2448

    Agree that there is plenty of blame to go around. If Cam communicated with coaches and teammates while he's on the bench (like the other QB's do), I don't think people would be so hard on him. Cam does take too long to throw the ball at times, but he doesn't get the protection he needs either. I don't see what good firing Hurney at this point in the year will do, other than put everyone - from Rivera on down - on notice that their jobs are all on the line.

  • kornfan2448 Oct 22, 9:51 p.m.

    I'm not a Cam Newton fan or even a Panthers fan, but to single out Newton to put the blame on is stupid....plain and simple. I haven't watched them play a lot, but I see WR's running wrong routes or just giving up on them altogether. The INT Newton threw against Dallas, he had NO protection and threw it with a man in his face and ended up picking his behind up off the turf. Should he have thrown it? No. Then he would have been booed for being sacked. Where has the blocking and protection been? Nearly halfway through the season, the leading rusher has less than 300 yards TOTAL! Oh, and that just happens to be Cam, who also leads in rushing TD's. The defense is improving, but there are a WHOLE lot more things wrong with this team than Cam.

  • jayparks0228 Oct 22, 8:25 p.m.

    Not a fan of them, but I thought they would be a lot better this season. Has Cam "Scammed" the fans of Panther nation?

  • Flagship Thorpedoed Oct 22, 4:34 p.m.

    I'm not sure why they fired Hurney mid-season. It's not like they're going to be able to add a good one right now. Should have waited until after the season to see who is on the market.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Oct 22, 4:12 p.m.

    With the 1st pick of the 2013 draft, the Carolina Panthers select ______________

    — Posted by Me again

    Knowing the Panthers, they'd probably trade that pick away.

  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Oct 22, 4:10 p.m.

    Hurney should have been fired before the ink dried on that contract he gave to... View More

    — Posted by Dubble EE

    Agreed, and of all the questionable moves Hurney made, that one tops them all.

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