The Carolina Panthers fired GM Marty Hurney today, after the team has gotten off to a disappointing 1-5 start through the first six games of the 2012 NFL season. The Panthers lost another home game to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, sparking the first of what could be many moves in The Queen City over the next few months.
“This was an extremely difficult decision,” Panthers’ owner Jerry Richardson said in a statement released by the team. “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 had been Carolina’s general manager since 2002, although the Panthers have not finished a season with a winning record since 2008. He was responsible for many great draft picks with the Panthers, although aside from Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly, the team has not done quite as well throughout the NFL Draft over the past few seasons.
In fact, two of the players Hurney drafted and signed to huge contract extensions over the past two seasons are certainly partly to blame for his firing. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart both have large contracts for running backs, and neither has done much of anything since the arrival of Newton. When your quarterback is your leading rusher, yet the top two running backs on the team signed for a combined nearly $80 million over the next four or five years, something is not right.
In fact, it is very wrong.
Even with all of those players, the Panthers have run the ball a total of just 149 times through the first six games of the 2012 NFL season. That is 25th in the league so far, which was not good for Hurney. It is not good for the Panthers, and it may not be good for head coach Ron Rivera going forward either.
Rivera may not be a bad coach. If Newton can work on his decision making skills and maturity, he has the skills to be a very good quarterback. Williams and Stewart should be one of the top rushing tandems in the game. But none of that went the way the team expected, leading to the dismissal of Hurney as general manager.
One has to think that Hurney’s firing is still just one of many moves to come. Rivera is not winning games. The offense is not calling the right plays. The players are blaming everyone under the sun.
Changes are coming, and nobody may be safe.