To date, we are well aware of the four non-playoff team coaching candidates of interest to Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and General Manager Marty Hurney: Rob Ryan, Perry Fewell, Greg Manusky and Ron Rivera. Sometime during the course of today, Richardson and Hurney will pay a visit to Fewell.
In the meantime, it seems likely that the Panthers front office will await the outcome of at least a few playoff teams before they invite any "finalists" to Charlotte for one last interview before announcing who the head coach of the Carolina Panthers will be in 2011.
Darin Gantt, of The Charlotte Observer, has a list of seven candidates of interest to the Panthers, but I'm going to remove three out of his seven from the list right off the bat: Tom Clements, quarterbacks coach in Green Bay; Jim Zorn, quarterbacks coach in Baltimore, and Mike Martz, Chicago Bears offensive coordinator.
In this piece, I have taken a couple things into consideration: The largest factor being that age eliminates the aforementioned three "candidates." Also, the fact that two are merely position coaches.
Zorn has little to do with the success of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, and even though the Redskins were a mess (thanks in large part to owner Dan Snyder), Zorn just doesn't sit comfortably with me.
Clements, Green Bay's quarterbacks coach, could be a maybe, but he is 57 years old. When considering potential coaching candidates, we must remember three things: Age, experience (no former head coaches) and Bill Cowher must be kept in mind. The first two matters were specific requirements set by Richardson and Hurney. The third I added because Cowher, who will turn 54 in May, is as aged as Martz (59), Zorn (57) and Clements. Also, Zorn and Martz are former head coaches.
Martz had a heck of a run in his days with the St. Louis Rams, but even as an offensive coordinator he's faltering. The Chicago Bears are in the playoffs mainly because of their defense.
Let's have a look at the other four candidates of interest.