Saturday, January 17, 2009

You gotta be kidding!

My first reaction to the news about Julius Peppers wanting out -- and so badly! -- is pretty simple: You've gotta be kidding me.

Why that ungrateful, egocentric, leave-his-homestate-team-in-the-lurch loser... That's what you're thinking right now, isn't it?

But it's more complicated than that. This doesn't make anyone look good: Not Peppers, not defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac or coach John Fox (who have failed to make their best defensive player happy), not Peppers' agent Carl Carey... Nobody is going to come out of this one smelling like roses.

When Kris Jenkins wanted out last year, well, that one could be dismissed. Jenkins was talented, often unmotivated and downright strange at times. Peppers, on the other hand, is as quiet as a library but works hard and would be a far bigger loss than Jenkins.

What's his problem with Trgovac and Fox and the Panthers' system anyway? I'd guess it would be the fact the Panthers don't blitz very much and play soft zones so often -- we all know Fox often plays not to lose rather than to win -- but that'd just be a guess. Pepper's agent Carl Carey told The Observer's Charles Chandler that Peppers is intrigued with the idea of playing in a 3-4.

Certainly, you've got to parcel out some of the blame to the Panthers on this one, for sure, not only to Peppers -- who is generally as low-maintenance as they come.

So what now? The Panthers could be petty and say: "You're not going anywhere. It's us or nobody." Then they put the franchise tag on him and, if he wants, he can sit out the year for nothing (like Sean Gilbert and John Riggins did many years ago).

Or, cooler heads could prevail and Peppers could end up staying.

More likely, though, this will ultimately mean Peppers has played his last game for Carolina. The Panthers will work a trade with someone (probably in the AFC) -- the price Jared Allen commanded in Minnesota would be a good start. They may franchise Peppers first to protect their rights, then work a sign-and-trade.

No doubt about it, though: the kicks in the teeth just keep on coming for the Panthers over the past week.

48 comments:

Walter said...

At least now, we can focus on signing Gross. I'm sure he was frustrated with the system we ran, but championship caliber players don't whine about that kind of stuff. They play hard no matter what. Peppers is a very talented athlete, but not very driven. Perhaps now we can get a few high draft picks and get some young, hungry D Linemen in the draft. (and hopefully get a new D coordinator)

A said...

I completely disagree - I don't blame him in the least. This is a clear indictment of Trgovac and Fox's play-to-not-lose mindset and ineptitude.

If I was a grossly underutilized athletic freak who could be more successful and higher paid in a different scheme I'd be looking for other opportunities too. He was constantly double-teamed here with no help and no blitzing (which is unbelievable), and all people see is that he's not getting 5 sacks a game. It's not his fault.

Home state has nothing to do with anything. He is making a sound business decision and I wish him well.

jeff said...

He didn't whine, Walter. He played out his contracts, and it is now his choice whether he wants to stay or not. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he helps the Panthers out by allowing them to do a sign and trade, which could work out well for both sides. I am as frustrated as anyone, but there is no call for making personal attacks on a player with as much character and class as Julius Peppers.

A said...

Which reminds me - I'm disgusted with the Observer's kid-gloves treatment of this coaching staff. Scott, you need to put yourself back in your college journalism days and go after these nitwits for letting this city down.

Why is it such a no-brainer for other teams to double up on Steve Smith and dare us to win it with everyone else, yet when we have the same opportunity the Cards' only real threat blows by us for an entire half?

I'm not a Jake Delhomme apologist, but he was put in an awful position by Trgovac's complete lack of strategy and Jeff Davidson's scatterbrained play-calling. Nevermind John Fox as defensive "specialist".

meckdeck said...

A, is calling you guys out, Scott. Now you can't just put it down to a cranky psycho like me, as has been the case ever since I called out Tom for sitting on the Big Cat's displeasure with Keyshawn until Keyshawn had been safely released.

As for the here and now -- sure sounds like Pep waited for Foxy and Hurney to make a move this week with Trgo and then flipped the bit Friday night. Much to my considerable surprise, Pep has played his last game as a Panther.

As I pointed out last week, I really wonder if Pep is not after an OLB slot on a 3-4, a position that would send him after the QB on every play and likely extend his career considerably. See, the creative thing for the Panthers to do would've been to fire Trgo and go 3-4 but....

As for Gross, the guy is not, repeat NOT, an elite LT. I would not pay him like one, All-Pro or not. But the Panthers are stuck. It may just be the best move is to release Jake solely to save the money, franchise and trade Pep -- you are not gonna get much more that a 1st for him -- and make Gross a decent offer and dare him to go elsewhere.

Those moves would absolutely roil the team, but this squad is looking at 6-10 next year anyway with the 1st place sked -- anyone thinking differently is delusional.

Later

JAT

Jonathan said...

First Jenkins, now Peppers...something isn't right with the coaching on the D-Line side of the ball. Hard to argue when you look at talent we had and all the points they gave up.

Tag and Trade Peppers, we can sign a good D-Line worth of players for what he wants anyway.

Fire Trgovac and think Strongly on dumping Fox for a Charismatic coach.....like Bill Cower, who would never let a Peppers Underachieve like he did

Quentin said...

Goodbye Peppers. You've had some good years here and we loved them. You also had some horrid years, like last year. It appears you played for contract. You are not as important as Gross so thanks for the memories and good luck elsewhere. Looking at our schedule next year we are not going to mak much noise anyway.

Jonathan said...

could sign Haynesworth now, unless he wants too much money

Charles said...

Who could be happy with Trgovac? Arizona had only one offensive threat, Fitzgerald; and ol' Trg let's him run free! Seems we have used the excuse of Smitty being the only good receiver we had one too many times. The real problem was Smitty was lining up against Trg's defense...If nothing else we can franchise Peppers and get the year (2007) he cheated us out of...

josh said...

well i am sick of john fox and mike trgovac. rushing 3 or 4 players and being picked apart by the passing game all season. fox is too conservative and unimaginative. he has failed to utilize the most athletic defensive player in the game. he has failed to do anything other tha almost do something. he is a failure for allowing the panthers hopes to ride on the poor decision making of jake delhomme's malfunctioning brain. lets get a qb, hire an aggressive head coach and defensive coordinator and keep julius peppers. he and john beason are the only thing the D has going for them. You think teams think our D is a joke now...wait until there is no peppers to worry about. in short...fox has been handed the keys to the kingdom and can't get them out of his pocket. A serious house cleaning is needed...

josh said...

well i am sick of john fox and mike trgovac. rushing 3 or 4 players and being picked apart by the passing game all season. fox is too conservative and unimaginative. he has failed to utilize the most athletic defensive player in the game. he has failed to do anything other tha almost do something. he is a failure for allowing the panthers hopes to ride on the poor decision making of jake delhomme's malfunctioning brain. lets get a qb, hire an aggressive head coach and defensive coordinator and keep julius peppers. he and john beason are the only thing the D has going for them. You think teams think our D is a joke now...wait until there is no peppers to worry about. in short...fox has been handed the keys to the kingdom and can't get them out of his pocket. A serious house cleaning is needed...

Nathan Dove said...

Fox is costing us HE HAS GOT TO GO. First Peppers then what. John Fox has lost the respect of the players on the team. His conservative play calling is doing nothing but harming the panthers and there organization. Jerry Richardson is a great owner and I wish him well, but he has got to let Fox go. You don't keep a broken record and thats what the panthers have gotten to be with fox as the head coach. They have High hopes every year just to have them let down we need a coach who has the desire to win a Super Bowl and will build the Panthers organization into a team that makes the playoffs every year. I think I speak for all of the fans when I say that the Fox and Davidson play calling is way to conservative and not exciting. Williams and Smith made the panthers exciting this year NOT FOX AND DAVIDSON. COME ON THEY WHERE THE ONES WHO COST US THE ARIZONA GAME DAVIDSON ONLY RAN THE BALL 15 TIMES JUST STUPID

William said...

Lets face it, Pep is mediocre without another defensive end on the other side to offset schemes against him i.e. Mike Rucker!!! Why do you think he wants to go to Houston i.e. Mario Williams, this will give him an exceptional player to hide behind. Making my point clear, he is a great athlete, but not a great football player. We need every down type players for this 4 3 system to work not flashy 2 or 3 great plays a game type players i.e. Peppers!! Get what you can for him and try to acquire some hard nose Buckner types. Anyone can speed rush from the corners on every play, but it takes a certain attitude to play hard nose football all game, of which Peppers just does not have!!! Guys, we can't afford to pay players the type of salary Pepper will get to take plays off, see what that go us against Arizona.

Bern said...

I see this as a similar situation as what I saw with my company this week. The big boss put up a slide at the end of a presentation with expectations for his employees. One of the bullets was "Improve and expand your individual skills". Well, the company does not have an education plan, nor does it offer to pay for outside courses, so apparently, they expect employees to use vacation and our own money to improve and expand our skills.

Peppers hasn't had a position coach that's taught him anything since Del Rio left. The scheme is for four guys to rush against 6 blockers, then whine after the game about how we didn't generate a pass rush. This is a leadership failure by Fox.

Anthony said...

Run Peppers Run!!!Its clear that this is Jake's team? Ive always said, it will take a mega star like Pep or Smith to leave or complain, before the Richardsons make changes with Fox,D coordinator and Flaky Jake...Run Julius Run...

Kelly said...

The blame for this revelation cannot be placed on Peppers. If you were one of the "elite" defensive ends in the league, would you want to play in the Panthers conservative defense? This decision lies directly on Trgovac and Fox's doorstep...and now they have to find a solution.

David Prince said...

My gut says Pep wanted a new scheme and Trgoff wasn't going anywhere or making any changes. Contract or not, I believe this was a tough decision for Pep. He'll be missed...until we face him and he punk's our O line.

Projecting Hope - Team Carolinas said...

Ah...the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Next time a professional entertainer feels the need to leave his team so he can go from "great to elite" I would be more enthused to hear something like..."Thank you for all you've done for me and for allowing me to play a game making more money in 12months than 99% of people in the history of the world make in an entire lifetime. I think it's time to make a change and I wish all the best to the organization and my teammates." However, looks like all of J Peppers needs aren't being met with the local squad so I'll just say fare-thee-well and join the folks who stood on the wings of Flight 1549 in the Hudson River the other day and focus on the things of this life that really matter.

Justin said...

Nathan Dove, you are an idiot. Do you think we would have gone 12-4 if Fox had lost the respect of the players? Lay off the acid, pal.

Matt said...

Well, most of the comments here confirm what I suspected after reading the Observer's story this morning. In a not-so-direct fashion, it sounds like Pep has lost confidence in the ability of the Panthers coaching staff. Sure, we could franchise him, but at what cost? Another uninspired season like he had last year?

enik said...

Albert Einstein said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Seems to apply here. Fox & Turgo play the same way every year. They only make minor adjustments. Its time for a change. I thank Fox for turning the Panthers around. He made them competitive after a 1-15 season. But competitive is all they will ever be. 2003 was great. That will never happen again with Fox as head coach.

Crimeinitaly said...

Never ceases to amaze when a team wins their division, goes 12-4 that there's still plenty of jerks calling for heads to roll. Detroit Lions, anyone? KC? Are you kidding me? What would you be saying if the game had gone down like the opening drive? Yes Jake screwed up and lost control. Yes the defense spent too much time on the field. But you know it could've just as easily gone the other way. Julius, I'll miss ya-wish you could be better utilized but as for changing our whole game strategy, who's to say we wouldn't be joining Detroit. As for me, I'm happy with a team and coach who won 75% of the time and got us a shot at the playoffs.

A said...

Crimeinitaly -

I hope you don't live your life content with your own mediocrity like you are with the Panthers'.

12-4 was a couple of desperation Steve Smith miracles and near meltdowns against 2 of the worst teams in the NFL from 8-8. Even when we got there, Trgovac s--- the bed AGAIN on the nation's biggest stage against the Giants.

Face it, there's no excuse for grossly underutilizing the talent on this team and refusing to scheme for this Sunday's specific threats.

FIFTEEN rushes against the Cardinals.

NO DOUBLE TEAMING of Larry Fitzgerald.

To those of us that actually notice things and give a hoot, it was the same old thing this season, but with more miracles to sugar coat reality.

Fun to watch? Sure. But it's no foundation for prolonged success.

Thank god you're not in charge of anything meaningful.

Jonathan said...

personally I think Fox, while a good coach is not a great coach, Think about how many close wins he's had that could've easily gone the other way. If not for Steve Smith, Fox would not have a good record, Smith has bailed him out consistently.

bring in Bill Cohwer and new Defensive scheme

gjd1231 said...

Bill Cowher enough said.

gjd1231 said...

Git rid of him he hasn't done anything in 2 years. Peppers,Delhomme,Fox all of them. 12-4 what a waste. I'd rather be 8-8 with a super bowl the 12-4 and go out like we did. Lets get a QB that can throw in front of steve smith catch him in stride. Tag Peppers and trade for draft picks that we need. Last but not least Bill Cowher who is not coaching because he is waiting for the carolina job anyway so give it to him.

meckdeck said...

I said this during the season and retrospect it is absolutely true -- this was a lot closer to a 9-7 or 8-8 than anyone wants to admit.

Those 12 wins included 3 over utterly horrid teams in KC, OAK, and DET -- 2 of which had pretty decent outings against the Panthers. In fact, the DET offense and the OAK defense beat the Panthers. The 4 Ls included two blowout losses and another in MINN that perfectly foreshadowed how the Panthers would lose to the Cards in the playoffs.

Face it, Foxy and Hurney rolled the dice on this seasons, and despite a few good tosses, they ultimately came up short.

JAT

TeamFIF said...

Contrary to what you think Peppers - you'll learn the grass is not greener on the other side and you'll regret your move I think. To the Richardson family - please fire Fox!

ModryDesignStudio said...

How much longer are we going to have coaches (head and defensive) with no b@lls. Once Del Rio left we had the players to do it but coaches who couldn't or would not allow it. Tired of them playing safe. Just like meckdeck said our record should have not been what it was. It was all because of Steve Smith. Jerry I know that your not going to fire them this year and I hate that. We are going to get killed next year and then we will finally make some changes. By that time other players are going to want to leave. It will be like Seifert's last season all over again. So incredibly horrible.

Good luck Peppers, I hope you go to a team in our division so you can take Jake's head off next year and put us out of our misery.

ams1 said...

Peppers is good but he'll cost a lot..franchise tag'em and trade back into the 1st or 2nd Round draft. Charles Johnson got half the number of sacks this year playing backup.. I don't see anything wrong with playing DE by commitee you keep the DE fresh and it worked at the RB postion..Why not get Romeo Cromel as the Defensive Coordnatior?

Nathan Dove said...

Oh yeah Justin i'm an idiot along with all the other carolina fans that don't like Fox. Oh and it looks like Peppers has no respect for Fox.

BobbyGee said...

Would YOU play your heart out for fairweather "fans" who boo your team? Peppers plays with intensity and passion -- in other words, with emotion, so it affects him. Charlotte doesn't deserve Peppers.

John said...

To all the people complaining about 12-4 and saying it was just a couple of good plays by our playmakers and should have been 8-8, um, HELLO! Have you ever watched any other NFL games? Half the games each week are decided by one big play. That's football! We had a good season, a bad game and we all still feel like crap over it. We got it.

The big question on none of your minds that should be is why Rhys Lloyd disappeared the last half of the season - remember when he was getting 3 touchbacks a game? November and December consisted mostly of kicking it to the 2 or 5, or squib kicking it for a few games. Rhys! What happened?

catfan said...

I knew this would happen if fox and Delhomme did'nt get fired. Why risk this becoming a chain reaction?
Get rid of the rotten tomatoes and save the good ones.

ActionJack said...

I put much of the blame on Fox and his coaching staff. It seems like they're trying to build a franchise around a mediocre quarterback. Smith makes Jake look a lot better than he really is. It was very disappointing to see them abandon the running game so early against Arizona and put the game in Jake's hand. It's hard to get the best out of your defense when your offense is 3-downs-and-out, which is what happened. The convervative offensive play calling is so predictable which is why the offense gets shut down. And the lack of rest time for the defense eventually takes it's toll. Get rid of Fox and his coaching staff, get rid of Jake, trade Peppers and bring in Bill Cowher and rebuild this Panther franchise to the organization it has the potential to become.

David Prince said...

Pep to Lions? Best thing for the Panthers - maybe get 1st pick, or take 20th and a couple of second rounders - and deal Pep to the least threat possible...I like it.

commonsense said...

Like most of the folks on this posting, I lay this squarely at the feet of Fox and Turdovic. This team had the talent to be 12-4, but honestly got there more by luck and the amazing leaping ability of Steve Smith. The coaches did all they could to lose most of these games. It is past time for a change. We should follow the Buc's lead and FIRE THE COACHING STAFF!

Matt said...

Keep Fox around for ONE MORE year, Fire Trgovac, he's terrible, and after next year no matter hat Fox does, FIRE HIM and bring in Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahann, ooor Jon Gruden, all of these would be a TREMENDOUS UPGRADE over John Fox...Franchise Juluis, sign and trade to a team in the Top 10 of the Draft and hope to land Mark Sanchez and get defensive lineman in the 2nd and 3rd rounds....ALSO, Find an Offensive COordinator that knows how to utilize a TightEnd...

Michael Bacon said...

Before folks call for Fox to go, take a deep breath and remember the Capers and Siefert years. Good coaches are hard to find, and Fox is a good, if not great, coach. Also remember Cowher's teams choked in the playoffs on many occasions before he finally broke through.

That said, I'm ready to be done with Trgo. Good defensive coordinators, on the other hand, are not that hard to find.

As for Peppers, he's been a very good but not consistent enough to be great player. If he wants out, let him walk. Six good years out of seven is good return for the money we paid him, and we need us some draft picks anyway. He's probably only got another 3-4 years in his prime anyway -- yeah, it'd have been nice for him to have those here, but whatever.

sgb17 said...

Pep will be missed, for sure...but if this doesn't open up everyone's eyes that changes need to be made in the organization...then you aren't a true fan!!! do you think that if Pep thought the panthers would contend for the title next year that he would leave??? fox is a great football mind, but lacks the killer instinct that others have...and as long as greasy fingers is qb, we aren't gonna get much further than another divisional game...sorry folks, its the truth...i say let pep go, and hopefully play him for a qb we can begin to count on...a defensive end is a loss that a team can deal with....having a mediocre back up qb starting for you year after year isn't. fox and delhomme need to hit the bricks!!!

Walker said...

Bill Cower does sound good, but Fox is a good coach. He definately does not "Go for it!". As for Peppers, it would be nice to see a hometown boy have the courage to represent his home state no matter what. I really do not think he realizes what that means. I am in the military in WA and represent NC by character and pride. Maybe you dont know what you have until it is gone. I am sorry Peppers does not recognize that NC people stick together... Would love to see his number being retired in Carolina. Now that would be a great story.
Instead of running Julias: Show people that loyalty is more important than self..
Part 2: Steve Smith leaves for a team that can get him the ball!!! Can't wait till that talk starts..

Walker

Zachary said...

Fox needs to go and we need to trade Peppers if he truly does not want to stay. If we traded sooner rather than later then we could get 3 or 4 high draft picks for him. I think getting rid of Jake Delhomme would be a good start he choked and this is not the first time he has forced throws and stunk up the field. If there is a good option for replacing Jake then take it.

Zachary said...

Fox needs to be fired and I hope Jerry gets better soon and sees the facts. John Fox was great for this team but the offense is what is killing us. The flats and play selection just stinks. When you get rid of John Fox and bring in a coach like Mike Shanahan you will see this team reach the Super Bowl more than once. Once you bring in a new coach then if the defense does not change then start firing D coaches.

Jim said...

It's not Pep's fault! He hasn't used to his full abilities (the last few years!).

He just wants to see what he can do, he wants to be great and Fox and Co. is not letting him (and/or the rest of the Defense) become fierce.

Bottom line is, people want change in their lives, so they move on.

As for the Panthers going 12-4 and losing in round one:
Fox and Co. was on the hot seat, they needed to keep their jobs. They won the South Div. Nuff said!

"It is what it is"
John Fox - NFL Coach

Jim said...

So, now it's back to the 2004 season ? or is it the 2006 season...i'm confused???


The Panther Team next season with Fox and Trgovac:

Introducing.....




'The Rockettes'

Wine and Cheese for everyone! Woohoo!

The Catman said...

No Scott; He's not kidding! I remember when the Great Reggie White left Philly. He said there was a gunslinger in Green Bay he had problems getting to so Reggie chose the Pack. Reggie got better with age, double teamed and led the league in sacks, or in the top three. Peppers hasn't reached Reggie's status, though he has the body and gifts to surpass him. I say let him go, and we move on with auditions for his spot. If Peppers writes me, I'll advise him how to improve himself because he still has a ways to go. I don't believe he's ready to do as Reggie White. Sean Gilbert didn't do it. Kevin Greene bounced back n forth, he didn't do it. Renaldo Turnbull, etc. etc. (DE from ATL too slips my mind) We can always get another DE. Hey I liked Lamar Lathon maybe we can pull him out of Ret. to play DE, I know he'll Bring it!I loved watching Julius as well as the aforementioned. Someone will make us forget him, unless he studies Reggie's film & improves himself, and takes another team to the Big Dance!

mrshlthmps said...

Is there a top-tier defensive player who would wish to play a prevent defense the entire game? Football is an aggressive sport. Play to win. Force mistakes - don't pray for them.

FMBB said...

First off, I'm an original PSL owner and forever a Panthers fan. But, the Panthers must make some changes in the coaching staff fast. The team is crumbling before our eyes. The main problem with this franchise is they are just too darn loyal to these players and coaches. Yes, we were 12-4 but the end of the season was horrific, especially on the defensive side. When you watch the other teams in the playoffs for the past 2-3 weeks, the single denominator is creativity and willingness to take chances to win the game. Fox and Trg have absolutely no imagination and instill no enthusiasm to the players or the fans. Now that one of your biggest star players is leaving and has called out the coaching staff, can you afford to still stay with the old "it is what it is" guys... Come on Richardsons, grow a set and make the changes that are needed in a head coach, Def Coord, and for god's sake get another QB to compete as a starter.