Four Coaches in the Playoffs of Interest to the Carolina Panthers
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.
4. Baltimore Ravens Offensive Coordinator, Cam Cameron
Cameron has played a solid role in the success of the Baltimore Ravens offense. However, being a former coach, and a horrible one at the time (led the 2007 Miami Dolphins to a 1-15 record), he has done his part on the offensive side of the ball to get the Ravens into the playoffs annually.
While I would like to think he could manage a successful career as a head coach in Carolina, I have my reservations that the pressure could be a bit too much, with demands coming from fans, the front office and media. Carolina being a two-win team, Cameron would be inheriting something that he's all too familiar with: a losing team.
The potential is on the roster, and pending a successful draft and free agency, the 2011 Panthers could be looking pretty tight. But let's not forget either the bust drafted by Cameron known as Ted Ginn, Jr.
3. Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg
Mornhinweg, 48, is also a former head coach. In 2001 and 2002 he was the head coach for the Detroit Lions.
The Lions, until recently, have been a team of instability stemming mainly from the front office. While Detroit hasn't achieved a division title or playoff berth yet, they are making excellent strides in a winning direction.
Prior to being the head coach in Detroit, Mornhinweg was the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers, where he saw a decent amount of success under then head coach Steve Mariucci.
Since teaming up with head coach Andy Reid and the Philadelphia Eagles, Mornhinweg has had a great deal of success with multiple trips to the playoffs and coaching some of the finest—albeit varying—offensive talent the NFL has to offer.
Is Mornhinweg's success a product of this offensive talent, or has he really taken his coaching to the next level? Studying under Andy Reid certainly isn't a bad thing, unless we're talking clock management and blown challenges.
2. Atlanta Falcons Quarterbacks Coach, Bill Musgrave
Musgrave, 43, has extensive experience developing quarterbacks. Matt Ryan. Need I say more?
Musgrave, widely respected for his West Coast principles, and having experience as a former quarterback himself, could do wonders in speeding up quarterback Jimmy Clausen's development. With no "Peyton Manning of the future" available at quarterback in this year's draft, Musgrave will have to work with the personnel he inherits in second-year man Jimmy Clausen, Tony Pike and maybe Matt Moore (if Carolina decides to re-sign him).
Also, Musgrave is no stranger to Charlotte. During the Dark Ages of Panthers football, also known as the George Seifert era, Musgrave served as quarterbacks coach for Carolina.
1. New York Jets Offensive Coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer
This particular video is a year old, but that shouldn't matter. Schottenheimer has improved with the passing time of a year.
Schottenheimer, 37, seems to be an excellent fit to the Panthers offensive woes, and it would also give Carolina something it hasn't had since, you guessed it, the Dark Ages: An offensive-oriented head coach. Schottenheimer, son of former head coach Marty Schottenheimer, is another coach similar to Fewell in that he is a motivator and communicates well with staff, player personnel and the media. In addition, he has also been a guiding light to the fledgling career of Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. Schottenheimer could bring the same motivation and confidence to the Jimmy Clausen.
Yes Panthers fans, there is the possibility we could see a younger version of "Marty Ball" in the Carolinas. If of course, Schotty doesn't "Luck out" on us.
Wrap-Up Plus a Few More Names
So there are the four candidates I agree with possibly having an interview in the coming weeks. A couple other candidates I didn't mention but probably should, are Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, Indianapolis Colts Senior Offensive Assistant Tom Moore and I'll still throw the name out there, Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians could be another possibility.