Monday, August 31, 2009

Fox needs to play starters vs. Pittsburgh

Maybe you remember this. Maybe you don't. But last season at exactly this point, Panthers coach John Fox decided not to play his starters at all in the final exhibition game of 2008 against Pittsburgh.

It was the first time in franchise history the starters hadn't played even a snap in the final preseason game -- they generally play a series or two in the final exhibition before retiring to the sidelines. Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger, for instance, played two series last year in the final exhibition (the Steelers won that meaningless game, 19-16).

This year, that shouldn't happen. It's obvious to everyone that the Panthers need some more work -- a lot more. On defense, especially. Fox criticized his team's tackling after Saturday night's 17-13 preseason loss to Baltimore; here's a rare chance to practice it against the defending Super Bowl champs.

Last year was different. Carolina creamed Washington in the third exhibition, racking up 47 points. Things were much more fine-tuned. The starters arguably deserved that night off.

But this 2009 Panther team has been a sluggish mess for much of the preseason, going 0-3, battling injuries and playing too soft on defense while trying to learn new D-coordinator Ron Meeks' system.

All that can be fixed, for sure, before the regular-season opener Sept.13 vs. Philadelphia. But this is not a time to play it totally safe in exhibition No.4. Sit out DeAngelo Williams and Jon Beason? Absolutely. Sit out a couple of other big-timers like Steve Smith and Jake Delhomme? That'd be understandable, too, because of their value.

But most or all of the defense, especially, has to get back out there and get to work. There's little time left, and surely Fox realizes that it's no time for "Casual Thursday" -- with the starters all wearing ballcaps instead of helmets -- this time around.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

You wrote all was well..what is going on?!

if2b said...

Scott, any truth to the SI.com rumor that the Browns are shopping DT Williams? What happened to our interest?

FIRE-FOX!!! said...

Don't bet on this happening. Fox still thinks all is well with his team. The fact is simple, he has lost this team. They will no longer play hard for him. Fox HAS TO GO NOW!!

Anonymous said...

Didn't you just write that two weeks of preseason was more than enough?

Maybe it's boring for us fans, but shortening the preseason would have more to do with a spike in injuries than adding two regular season games.

If we'd quit thinking about athletes as pieces of meat to be used for our viewing pleasure, we'd probably come to the conclusion that 16 games is too many.

Anonymous said...

Fire Fox? Are you a freakin' idiot? My god, what is wrong with you people? He's lost the team???? It's pre-season stupid! Go back to your job selling sunglasses at the mall and let the football big boys(Marty and John) take care of the team.

Anonymous said...

PS- They were 12-4 last year....the "fire fox" comment probably comes from some booger eating fantasy football dork who lives in him mom's basement. Get a girl friend loser!

Anonymous said...

"Quote ~ Steelers won that meaningless game, 19-16" What the fuggicle??! Meaningless... Obviously meant something .. *LOL* Don't be hating on the Steelers...And for the record.. you need to bring your best... on 9/3..

Anonymous said...

so what if i live with my mom!

i can easily see the panthers are in for a long season, so stick it bro.

Anonymous said...

If you play some of the starters in the 4th game, you need to play them all. The point is to get the first unit playing together and ready for the opener.

D.R.Universal said...

you can tell those fans who FOX has brain washed...all they talk about is "we were 12-4 last year"..slow clap!

SO WHAT??? NO ONE remembers your regular season record..its all about what you do in the PLAYOFFS!!

until we stop accepting those casual and sometimes complacent sayings from FOXY, we are destined to become as nonchalant about winning as he seems to be! 12-4, 12-4, 12-4..and when did the season end?? in game 17..

South Carolina Regulators said...

I don't know Scott. Be careful what you ask for, they might just listen. Too risky, I think. These guys don't have to learn how to tackle, they already know. They also know that to commit themselves to a hard tackle in pre-season is not healthy for their careers. It's a dumb career decision to risk injury unless you're on the bubble trying to make the team. I think it's also not healthy for the Panther season. The only defensive starting/2nd tier players that need to prove themselves against Pittsburgh is Hayden, Teal, Irvin, and Martin - offensive players that have to prove themselves now are Jarrett, Schwartz, and Robinson(both).

Anonymous said...

the "fire fox" guy is just trying to get a reaction. no real fan would say he has "lost" this team. he is in his eighth year here and has won 5 playoff games in that time. 5 playoff wins in 7 years would stack up pretty good against any coach in the league. to the guy who said it is all about what you do in the playoffs, you are right. now give fox some credit.

Anonymous said...

It was obvious even in the Dolphins game that Miami had much more depth and talent, especially when second and third string came in. It just may be the Panthers window of opportunity is closing on them.

Anonymous said...

Hey D.R. Unicycle,
It's not being brainwashed it's called being rational. Read the whole comment. Did I say "who cares that we laid an egg in the playoffs, at least we went 12-4!" You are defending someone who after 3 preseason games says "fire fox" & "he's losing the team".
Nobody is happy the way last season ended. But try some perspective. Just like you said "nobody remembers the regular season record?" Nobody cares about preseason. Let's see how we fare when the real bullets fly against Philly.

Anonymous said...

To quote Foxy, "It is what it is." And what it is is Fox refusing to break away from his stale coaching pattern.

Anonymous said...

Yes, actually I personally believe that Fox lost the team last year but the level of overall talent was there to win. Now the has been a drop off in talent at QB, WR, and DT. That same writer could not understand the "furor" in preseason now he wants the starters to play. A lackluster season is coming into focus.

Ronnie said...

Did I read correctly that some idiot wrote "Fox has lost his team, they won't play hard for him anymore"...just the dumbest comment I have ever heard...EVER! How can a team that went 12-4 not be behind there head coach...the Lions 0-16, that's a coach that lost his team you idiot.

Anonymous said...

After looking a Jerry Richardsons face, during Saturday nights debacle,
I think this is a make or break year. Not only for Fox but for Hurney and Delhomme....

dnyce2g said...

Fox is a decent coach and Hurney is a horrible GM, but we need a Coach that can get us over the hump and win consistenly wether we have an easy or hard schedule and is able to adjust and develop talent in the event injuries to key players. We have been drafting horrible outside of round 1 and 2 each year. I just don't see Fox bringing a super bowl to the Carolinas.

Anonymous said...

HUNTER CANTWELL!!!! Will someone please give the guy a chance!?!?!?!?!

Anonymous said...

The first string offense & defense needs to play at least the first half of the last preseason game. The 1st string offense failed to score a touchdown in the last game. They need the work against a real opponent, not just practicing against each other.

Anonymous said...

Stinky Schlereth and Mike Greenberg on Mike and Mike are predicting 10-6 and 9-7 respectifly.I'm more apt to believe Stinky than someone who's never played pro ball before .When the season starts it'll be a totally different animal,anything could happen.

Anonymous said...

We must get rid of Fox and his little buddy Jake. If not we have peaked in 2003.

South Carolina Regulators said...

I guess this team is subjectively different to each of us. I myself, like what I am seeing. I see Fox's intensity on the sidelines like never before. I see Fox's point blank directions to his coaches with what he wants changed. I see a very serious Fox, and that thrills me because Fox is the leader of this team and players will respond to him. I see defensive players drive hard to be in position to make picks and make tackles, but then play soft at the end as the receivers make catches against them (game day there will be no soft play at the end). I see offensive plays and players that are working, shut down to be saved for game days. I see the best offense the Panthers have ever had, as well as more great ball-handlers we've ever had. I see the best set of LB's in the NFL (7 deep) and the DB's that are going to cover well and hit hard come game day. I see fast DEs that will create havoc in backfields come game day. Kicking, you kidding me, no one better in the NFL. The only weakness I see is at the DT positions, and that is being coached hard and improving each and every pre-season game (plus expect an acquisition or two there before the Philadelphia game. I like this team an awful lot. So I say (except for the DTs and those players on the bubble)stay soft on contact against Pittsburgh.

Mak said...

Sit out noone. Everybody needs to play at some atleast. I do agree Fox has lost it, and his team after last season. We knew about the problems late last year, and THEY WAS NEVER FIXED. Cardinals hurt us then, and we're still feeling the after affects from it. Fox is a great guy, knows how to get through to his players. But I dont think they buy into what he's doing anymore. I think thats a big reason Pep didn't want to stay here. Our defense did a total 360

Ken said...

I think you're absolutely right. But I would bench Jake and start McCown. Play McCown till he gets more confidence. He's more accurate, doesn't just throw it up for grabs and has good legs to move around and run as a last resort. And...
Please get rid of the announcers (Morgan) we just had during the last game. Think Gruden was really bad, too. I can't wait till the afternoon games when I turn down the sound on TV and listen to the radio guys! "That's what I'm talkin bout"! KR

Anonymous said...

It's pretty sad that every week Scott has a complete and outstanding new outlook on the Panthers. When will the Observer get a quality editor, who will at least see that your SPORTS WRITERS have nothing in mind with sticking to points or series of an article. I wish we would have writers that had some understanding of the team or much less relationships with key members so that they had an understanding of (what) might be going on. Other than that, we will continue to hear Scott & company copy what they hear when they listen to 610am, with the little twist of what they call their own story. Sorry, so sad, too bad, your stories suck.

Anonymous said...

Last year we were a 8-8 team. Just like every other year. Got lucky on the last couple games.Expect the same again this year and the year after that unless we get a new coach and GM. Same issues over and over again...WE NEED A CHANGE.

FIRE-FOX said...

To all you who told me I was an idiot and to all those that "think" they know more about footbal than I do, one comment, SUCK IT. I have more inside info on this team than Pac Man. Fox is gone. Before week 10. BOOK THAT. By week 10 we will be nmo better than 2-8. BOOK THAT. Now shut your pie hole and go back to your aunt-mommy you dumb rednecks.

Anonymous said...

i dont know if the starters need to play or not. guys are getting hurt playing full speed and then again guys are getting hurt while jogging. seems to me like we have had a terrible preseason and havent gotten a lot of work done. weve had several injuries and 3 very bad performances thus far. combine that with the shortest training camp in history and i think you have a recipe for failure. i hope im wrong, damn do i hope im wrong

Anonymous said...

fire fox, im sure you are in on every meeting the panthers have and im sure MH and Fox consult with you on every decision they make. what im not so clear on is why you are such a moron?

dar456 said...

one thing is for sure, theres definitely plenty of people living in charlotte that want to see the panthers fail. too bad we cant all be steelers fans, i guess some of us will just have to take the good with the bad and support the team accordingly

Anonymous said...

Piss on all of them!