Monday, October 22, 2012

It was time for Hurney to go

The Panthers unleashed a blockbuster on Monday morning, as team owner Jerry Richardson announced that general manager Marty Hurney "has been relieved of his duties." Hurney had been general manager of the Panthers since 2002 and with the organization since 1998.

Was it time? Yes. Probably past time, in fact. Hurney has shepherded a team that has gone 9-29 since the start of the 2010 season -- an NFL-worst record during that period. Richardson's stated goal has long been for the Panthers to post back-to-back winning seasons. They have never done that and have started this season 1-5. Hurney had publicly taken the blame for that start.

The end of Hurney's tenure likely came about because of a characteristic most would think of as a positive -- unquestioned loyalty. Over and over, Hurney signed players to enormous contracts that he had drafted and/or acquired and who had been part of occasionally decent but often bad Panther teams.

He and Richardson spent huge sums of money to retain players like DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Charles Johnson, Ryan Kalil and Jon Beason -- all of whom were part of the 12-4 team of 2008, yes, but more recently were part of the 2-14 team of 2010. Before that came a huge contract extension given to quarterback Jake Delhomme coming off his nightmarish playoff game against Arizona following the 2008 season.

“This was an extremely difficult decision,” said Richardson. “Marty made every effort to bring success to the Panthers and took the team to a Super Bowl and two NFC championship games. Unfortunately, we have not enjoyed the success we hoped for in recent years. I have the greatest respect and admiration for Marty and will always appreciate the way he tirelessly served the organization.”

Hurney, who was GM when the Panthers went to the Super Bowl in 2003 and to the playoffs in 2005 and 2008, issued a classy statement on the way out the door through the Panthers.

“I am very fortunate to have been a part of one of the best organizations in the NFL since 1998,” says Hurney. “As General Manager I will always regret not helping us win the Super Bowl or having back-to-back winning seasons. I hope this change starts accomplishing the direction to those goals. I understand this decision by Mr. Richardson and will always have an extremely close relationship with him. I consider him the best owner in the NFL. I am responsible for everybody in coaching, the players, the scouts and everybody in football operations. After six weeks, we are 1-5 coming off a 6-10 season.”

So now what? If I were Ron Rivera, I wouldn't be resting very easy right now. ((And he isn't -- in his news conference Monday afternoon, he made that clear). Richardson has never pulled the plug on a head coach after only two seasons, but George Seifert lasted only three and Dom Capers only four. Richardson is 76 years old, and he wants to see the Panthers win a Super Bowl while he is still in good health. It sounds like his patience is finally running out -- as it has before with his two sons, Mark and Jon, and with three other head coaches before Rivera.

So watch out, everyone at Bank of America Stadium -- the Big Cat is fully engaged. And his claws are out.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jerry....swallow your pride and bring Polian or someone of his caliber back....

Dennis J. Conner said...

perhaps the Panthers will now do what they should have done after they fired John Fox... call Bill Cowher. It will be a short commute from Raleigh!

Anonymous said...

Best play of the year

Unknown said...

It is truly - truly "About Damn Time"!...

Anonymous said...

Having the Big Cat "fully engaged" may or may not be a good thing... Since coming back from heart surgery (and firing his sons), team is 20 games under .500. Then there was the behavior during player lock-out, etc. Personally, I think he's losing it.

kimrod219 said...

A dedicated and loyal gm, tireless in pursuit of excellence, yet it was time for him to move to another team. Wish him the very best.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Richardson - THANK YOU!

Now please follow up by clearing out the incompetent coaching staff!

Anonymous said...

WAY past time. Bad & expensive player resignings, bad drafting & trading away of high picks, all of it goes together. at a minimum Hurney should've been canned when Fox was fired.

Anonymous said...

Marty does not throw end-zone interceptions and one-hoppers to receivers. Nor does Marty fumble on 4th down, stick his chest out like Superman, or pout on the bench with a towel over his head.

While he may have signed DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Charles Johnson, Ryan Kalil and Jon Beason to questionable deals (and paid J-Pep $20mil for a single season), I suspect there was one big cat behind him pulling a lot of those strings.

Anonymous said...

Hurney signed his own walking papers when he drafted Newton.

Was obvious to anyone paying attention.

Will take years for this organization to recover from the blown 2011 draft. May never recover.

I don't care what you said...

"...call Bill Cowher"

Bwha. If they did, he wouldn't call back.

I think I feel sorry for Steve Smith most of all. He's been too loyal too and it's shame they could never put together a team that could take advantage of his skills. It's sad that the highlight of his career was almost ten years ago. I'm thinking this could be his last season too.

Mitch Treadaway said...

Personally this comes at a very good time for me as I was questioning the resources (financial and otherwise) I have put into this team.

Soulsay said...

Why do people forget that Bill Cowher sucked for a looooong time up in Pittsburgh?

Anonymous said...

Not a fan of Hurney by any means but to hang the team's failures squarely on his head is hardly fair. I'm becoming convinced that "the big cat" is turning into the new Al Davis.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that it was time for Hurney to go. He was to involved to see the forest from the trees after the 2-14 season. We need fresh eyes to come in and evaluate everyone. I'm a huge Panther fan, but even I know that signing Williams and Stewart to huge deals is bad business. Some people just wear out their welcome and a time comes for them to move on. Unfortunately that time was two seasons ago for Hurney.

Anonymous said...

it's the offensive line that's killing us so far this year, Not the GM, not the owener and definitely not Cam Newton. I guarantee you a lot of slower QB's in this league would look a lot worse playing for us so far this year. Only a REALLY quick pass reader like Rogers or Ryan or Brees might look a little better so far this year playing behind our o-line...

Buckshot Jenkins said...

I think Rivera has to know that his days in Charlotte are numbered. The team is not nearly as terrible as they were 2 years ago but there is still a long way to go to contend in the playoffs. Yesterday may have gone differently if Kalil had played but we'll never know. As it stands now, at least they will get a high draft pick and probably some roster turnover!

Anonymous said...

Now this was a great article written by someone who understands. Very good job Scott, you need to give some pointers to other reporters.

J said...

It was way past time. The day after the 2010 season should have resembled the day after the 2001 season, when the entire house was cleaned out.

I still think Cam should be our QB and our coordinators should stay. I believe what Chud & Cam did last year was not a fluke. And I think McDermott is doing a miracle job with severely inferior talent.

We need a GM with stronger credentials than being an NFL newspaper beat writer, and a scouting lead with some semblance of a clue. Rivera? I'm not sure about him. But if we can't get back to 6 wins this year he's probably toast.

Bottom line, I feel better today about the Panthers than I did yesterday, knowing that JR really is paying attention to the (lack of) results and is finally admitting mistakes.

Anonymous said...

Very predictable when you give players huge contract extensions, their numbers go in the opposite direction. See Double Trouble this year. Trouble is right. Hurney wasn't a good GM, below average at best. Rivera needs to tighten up. He should've gone for it on 4th yesterday at least twice. Very weak attempt at playing football lately. Tough to be a fan for this squad. Go Panthers.

Anonymous said...

To my kilted Scottsman,

I think you did a terrific job. Your drafts were always solid. People would be shocked if they were all listed and included all the talent we have brought in.

This team does not lack players or talent. It needs a psychiatrist. It needs a charasmatic and vocal leader.

What do Fox, Seifert, Capers and Rivera all have in common? They are all mild mannered, soft spoken and sweet neighbors you might want to have over for dinner.

Collectively, they have the demonstrated fire and passion of a tepid bath. Why does this team lose the exact same way every time? Yawn. These coaches all suck! Hate to state the obvious, but Marty Hurney never coached a down. The body language alone on this entire team is a study in awful, with the exception of one player, Steve Smith.

Cam needs a strong father, not a complacent paper holder. You can not lead a strong horse with a wimpy rider. Marty is being sacrificed because the real problem is more painful to address mid-season. Rivera, nothing personal pal, but this team sucks under you. Outright sucks.

Tim McCulla said...

With Hurney gone, it is time to go find some real GM talent. Not sure who it is - but someone the caliber of a Bobby Bethard, or Bill Polien. For God sakes - leave Charley Casserly on the sidelines. Not sure Bill Cower is the right answer.

Anonymous said...

It is so about time....CALL BILL COWHER...TODAY!!!!

Michael Procton said...

Too bad Richardson already has lost his good health. Senility has already set in.

Anonymous said...

You means it isn't all Armanti's fault????

Hmmmmm!

Lazer said...

If one more person suggests Polian, I am going to lose my mind. One Super Bowl victory with Peyton Manning at the helm, is an absolute failure.

isaacplautus said...

My biggest complaint with Hurney has been the lack of free agents coming to Charlotte. Yes, we are a small market. We aren't flashy. But the salary cap goes a long way in leveling the playing field in the NFL. There are talented players who have not come to Charlotte because Hurney made no effort to bring them here. Think of all of the free agents the past several years we haven't even bothered pursuing. Yes, Delhomme, Stewart, and Williams were playing well when they got their extensions. But they have proven to be disastrous contracts since then. The lack of productivity from Williams and Stewart has been key to our losses thus far. Newton and Kuechley were great picks. But they need some decent free agents around them. We need a GM who is going to aggressively court proven talent in this league and convince them that Charlotte is a great place to play football.

Anonymous said...

Excellent move. Next...

Ring, ring, hello Jets? Newton for Tebow, straight up. NYC would never do it.

Will take years to fix this mess.

Anonymous said...

OK. Can we now bring back Jeremy Shockey? Need someone with a killer instinct - who can also block!

Anonymous said...

Hurney did an outstanding job within the limits of his power. No one put in more effort in to making the Panthers a quality organization. He didn't just work there, he lived, ate, drank, and breathed for the Panthers. His picks in the draft were exceptional. Those of you who criticize him on this have forgotten the records Cam set last year and the amazing job Keuchley is doing this year.

He is not the coach. He can't take the blame for an undisciplined team that consistently makes penalties on critical downs. He can't take the blame for uninspiring coaching that has no idea how to design an effective run play. He can't take the blame for not guiding our novice QB to make the high percentage pass plays. He can't take the blame for numerous missed tackles and blown assignments.

He has put quality players on the field. If he made a mistake it was in being too loyal to Jake Delhomme after his debacle vs Arizona and subsequent season. That I agree went on too long. But as far as his track record otherwise, it is excellent. This is just scapegoating.

Tom P said...

Suggesting we trade Newton for Tebow is a JOKE! I can't even believe that. The Jets would give us Tebow, Sanchez and draft picks for Cam. Quit being ridiculous, people.

Anonymous said...

No to Cohwer but huge yes to Tony Dungy.

Anonymous said...

The quality head coach I would hire right now would be tony Dungy. Players and fans respect him. I believe he is the real deal. Cohwer ???

C.Bax said...

Rivera and Chud, if you hurry, you can probably catch a ride out of town with Marty. I'm sure he would love your company. Jerry, please don't stop there. Clean house. Every coach on your staff is in way over their heads. Bill Cowhler and John Gruden are both waiting on your call. Hang in there Cam, a proven coach and GM are on the way. Go Panthers!!!!

C.Bax said...

GOOD RIDDANCE!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Jerry has taken a page from the other owner Jerry's book and will be his own GM. Hurney was overmatched as GM from the beginning. Fox saved his bacon. We're in serious disarray. I wouldn't want to be in Rivera's shoes if we don't sweep the next 10 games.

J said...

I suppose you Cowher groupies need reminding that in 15 years, he won ONE Super Bowl. He is NOT the answer.

However, knowing the deep man-crush JR has on all of the Rooneys, I'm sure the next GM will have Pittsburgh ties.

Anonymous said...

Hurney's greatest blunder: Trading away 2010's 1st round pick for the 43rd pick in the 2009 Draft, which we used to draft Everette Brown who played only 2 seasons with the Panthers.