10/15/10 — Stevens: Fox's fate sealed in Charlotte?

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Stevens: Fox's fate sealed in Charlotte?

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 15, 2010 1:46 PM

There's a sign in the Carolina Panthers' locker room that reads "Believe in Each Other."

That well-intended phrase would carry much more merit if those at the top of the organization were displaying actions worth believing in these days.

The winless Panthers, who have shown no signs of improvement, are a football team desperately in need of a new leader. Head coach John Fox is in the final year of his contract and it's difficult to imagine him returning for 2011.

I'm normally against firing a head coach in the midst of a season, but for Carolina this is no longer about this season. The Panthers are clearly not going to be a playoff team in 2010 and preparation for the future begins now.

Carolina has the youngest roster in the NFL and that talent needs to be developed by a trustworthy coach and proven winner. Quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen and Matt Moore have made no significant progression since the season began. A talented, but inexperienced group of wide receivers have yet to get on the same page with Clausen and Moore.

The Panthers' once-dominant running game is averaging fewer than 100 yards per contest.

During the previous two seasons, Carolina tailbacks DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined to rush for more than 4,600 yards and 45 touchdowns. Williams and Stewart have been held to 436 yards and two touchdowns through the Panthers' first five games this fall.

Carolina (0-5 overall) ranks near the bottom of the league in every offensive statistical category and is dead last in points per game at 10.4. Four of the Panthers' five losses have come by 13 points or more.

Fox has never had consecutive winning seasons in Charlotte and Carolina has lost eight or more games in five of Fox's eight seasons as head coach. The Panthers have won just three NFC South division titles under Fox and have made just three postseason appearances.

Fox has brought plenty of signature wins and memorable moments to Charlotte and finding a permanent replacement before the season ends may be difficult. However, the NFL is ultimately a business, and right now business is bad in Charlotte.