Panthers fire special teams coordinator
Lose on Sunday, fire on Monday. That’s the new trend for the Carolina Panthers.
This time, the change wasn’t as dramatic as team owner Jerry Richardson getting rid of general manager Marty Hurney. Special teams coordinator Brian Murphy was shown in the door in this instance, a day after Trindon Holliday of Denver returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown and put the Broncos ahead for good in what become a 36-14 rout. Never mind that the NFL admitted Monday that Holliday let go of the ball short of the goal line and that the correct call should have been a touchback with the Panthers taking possession.
In addition to allowing long returns, the Panthers very rarely are capable of a long return of their own.
Special teams assistant Richard Rodgers, who is in his first year as an NFL head coach and was a teammate of Panthers head coach Ron Rivera at Cal, takes over Murphy’s duties.
But, the Panthers’ woes were more widespread on Sunday as the Broncos dominated in making head coach John Fox a winner in his game at Bank of America Stadium since he was fired by the Panthers after the 2010 season.
The Panthers’ offensive line was horrible as the Broncos sacked quarterback Cam Newton seven times (one of them for a safety) and forced him into an interception that was returned 40 yards for a touchdown. The secondary was again picked apart as Peyton Maning completed 27 of 38 passes for 301 yards.
It all added up to the Broncos players accomplishing their mission of making a Fox a winner in his old stomping ground. They gave Fox the game ball.
“They knew what it was going to be like for me and that was generous of them,” Fox said.
He said he had never been in the visitor’s locker room in his nine seasons as the Panthers coach and that he had trouble finding the visitor’s tunnel leading to the field. He also said he found nothing special about beating his old team.
“You just feel good to win,” Fox said. “You put a lot into these things if you don’t win. So you are excited when you do.”
He left town as coach of a team that is 6-3 and in first place in the AFC West by two games over San Diego and a rematch with the Chargers looming.
His old team is 2-7, can’t protect the quarterback, can’t open holes for its runners and can’t stop a good quarterback from hitting his receivers. It’s a recipe for the firings to continue.