As of Friday night, the Carolina Panthers are reported to have a lead candidate for its head coaching job. And yes, he is from the four coordinators of interest as stated on Thursday.
Darin Gantt, of the Rock Hill Herald and Charlotte Observer, reports that New York Giants Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell is a very serious candidate for the Panthers' head coaching job, "and possibly a favorite."
What Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is targeting, is a candidate who is a good communicator to players and media alike. We are all too familiar with the "It is what it is" or "We are what we are, and that's what I'm trying to change so we're not that" quotes. One-liners and sayings where sometimes we may not have given the old adages a second thought, but that second one was a first this past season, and as Gantt said on Twitter, can anybody diagram that for me? I tried. You will need a few sheets of paper. Admittedly, I eventually gave up.
As it stands, Fewell fits the specifications almost to a "T," as he has multiple—more than 10 and 13 to be exact—years experience as a coach in the NFL. Fewell has also been instrumental in turning the New York Giants' defense around. While it wasn't as cohesive a unit later in the 2010 season, he brought the defense's rank from the bowels of the league to seventh in 2009. Fewell knows how to communicate and motivate players. Some of his coaching methods have proved favorable to his charges, as well.
Thus-far the Panthers lone interview has been with Browns' defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Jerry Richardson and general manager Marty Hurney's next stop is in New Jersey to have a meeting with Perry Fewell. After that, the duo will fly to San Francisco to meet with 49ers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky; finally the trip will be wrapped up in San Diego with Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera.
Of the four candidates the Panthers are currently interested in, I would venture to say the two most likely candidates from this trip to be invited to Charlotte for a final interview will be Rob Ryan and Perry Fewell. One more coordinator will receive an invite, and as soon as that team is out of the playoffs, we will know who the third and final interviewee is.
Keep it here in the meantime!