The Carolina Panthers announced within 24 hours of their 19-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, that general manager Marty Hurney has been fired subsequent to the team’s disappointing 1-5 record to start the season.
A bold move that leaves more questions on the table rather than answers.
Team owner Jerry Richardson releasing a statement Monday morning saying, “This was an extremely difficult decision. 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 first joined the Panthers in 1998 and began serving as the team’s general manager in 2002.
The Panthers saw early success under Hurney’s management. Hurney garnered solid assets is his first NFL Draft, selecting defensive end Julius Peppers with the second overall pick and running back DeShaun Foster with the 34th overall pick. Two key draft acquisitions that proved right out of the gate Hurney knew what he was doing.
Eventually Hurney would craft one of the NFL’s most dominant defensive lines and formulate rosters that went to the Super Bowl following the 2003 season and the 2005 NFC Championship Game.
Hurney doesn’t seem bitter stating, “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.”
Though, Panthers fans might see the firing of Hurney as a little short sided. Yes, the 1-5 start is unacceptable, but Carolina’s offensive coaching staff must be closely scrutinized as well.
One obvious example is the lack of production from Carolina’s running game this season. Not a fault of Hurney’s, who paid big dollars for very talented running backs Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, two backs that haven’t gotten it going in 2012. Carolina’s offensive schemes and play calling are to blame for their lack of production.
It shouldn’t go without mentioning that Hurney proved aggressive by bringing in flex back Mike Tolbert during the offseason to help compliment both Stewart and Williams and to allow for Carolina’s offense to become more dynamic in the red zone.
It hasn’t worked. Not because of Hurney’s inability to evaluate talent, no, Carolina’s coaches have failed when it comes to getting elevated production out of highly paid and highly talented players.
Robert Kester, Carolina Panthers Columnist. Contact @robertkester1.