Judging from the immediate online reaction to Mike Trgovac not returning in 2009 as Carolina's defensive coordinator, you would have thought the Carolina Panthers had just won that playoff game against Arizona.
Fans put such stock in coordinators -- too much stock, really. Coordinators are relatively important, but nowhere near as important as head coaches. I've written this many times before -- coordinators do basically what the boss tells them to do.
So Trgovac only blitzed 15 percent of the time on Arizona first-half pass plays in the Cardinals' 33-13 playoff win? I blame that on Trgovac and head coach John Fox in roughly equal doses.
Many Panther fans wanted to get rid of the "conservative" Dan Henning for years. Finally, Henning and Fox parted ways. Henning was the offensive coordinator at Miami this season, part of a Dolphins team that went from 1-15 to 11-5. He was lauded for his inventiveness and for taking the "Wildcat formation" further than anyone had in a long time. You know why? He had more freedom in Miami than he did here.
Players are so much more important than coordinators. Jeff Davidson's second season as Carolina's offensive coordinator worked out a lot better than his first. You know the two main reasons why? Jake Delhomme was healthy and DeAngelo Williams replaced DeShaun Foster as the lead running back.
Whoever gets the new coordinator job will undoubtedly blitz more, but it's not going to matter unless the blitzers can actually get there. The best schemes in the world can be undone by poor players messing up, and the worst ones can be fixed by great players.
So while this hire is important for Carolina -- and the Panthers' defense certainly needs a major reshuffling -- it's not as important as who the team gets to replace Julius Peppers (I think he's gone) and Ken Lucas (I think he is, too -- a salary-cap casualty), and about 4-5 other defensive-oriented personnel decisions that will be made in the next several months.
But hey, Panther fans, if you want to celebrate Trgovac's departure, go ahead. I know it's been a bad couple of weeks.
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