Mailbag: Carolina Panthers edition

Greg in Salisbury, NC writes: I have to agree with you. John Fox is probably gone after this year. I really hate to see that happen but sometimes change can be good. Can you tell us who you think the top possibilities would be to take over as Carolina's coach if Fox does walk away? Thanks and keep up the great work!

Pat Yasinskas: Yes, I think Fox probably will be gone after this season. It’s just a matter of if the Panthers don’t do well, he won’t be offered a contract. If they do well, he might get an offer to stay, but I don’t think he will if there’s an attractive job elsewhere. I know Carolina fans have been clamoring for Bill Cowher for a couple years, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I don’t see Jerry Richardson hiring a big-name coach. I think he’d hire a younger coach that is viewed as being on the rise. If Fox leaves, one name I’d keep an eye on is Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. He had a long stint with the Panthers as quarterbacks coach and is well thought of within the organization.

Jeffrey in Boone, NC writes: I have been telling people I could see John Fox going to coach the Browns. He is, despite what Jerry Richardson and some spoiled Carolina fans think, one of the top coaches in the NFL. A winning record as an NFL head coach is a hard thing to come by. Here is the thing, there is a zero percent chance in my mind of the Browns keeping Mangini. Fox could get an extension, but like you said, he is a proud guy. Fox seems like a perfect fit for that job. I don't personally know him, but I gotta imagine working with Mike Holmgren would be enjoyable.

Pat Yasinskas: There has been some speculation around the league that Fox could land in Cleveland. It makes some sense. He and Holmgren are friendly and share the same agent. Plus, Fox isn’t a guy who wants complete control over everything. He believes just coaching is time consuming enough, so there wouldn’t be any sort of power struggle between him and Holmgren.

Brandon in Raleigh, NC writes: Hey Pat, I really enjoy your work and insight. I need to make a comment regarding your John Fox "Resume Game" post, though. I know you have some unique perspective on the Panthers since you lived and worked in CLT, but I've lived my whole life here and attended both the first Panthers game at Clemson and the first game in CLT. Panthers fans DO want to hear that Fox will be gone after this year! We are so tired of his continued inability to field a consistent playoff team with the talent we've had over the past 5 years. His flashes of excellence have been more than offset by his long stretches of mediocrity.

Pat Yasinskas: I’m sure Fox has detractors as well as fans. But he is the only coach in the history of this franchise to have true success. He’s had some disappointing seasons, but he’s always kept the Panthers competitive. It’s true he’s never been able to put together back-to-back playoff berths and that’s part of the reason he hasn’t been given a new contract. Sometimes change can be good for an organization and I think change probably will come in Carolina.

Matt in Asheville, NC writes: I am a little confused about the choice of Tyler Brayton to be a captain for Carolina. I know that players vote on these things but wouldn't Chris Gamble be the better option? Gamble and Jon Beason are the best two players on that defense and Brayton was cut by the Panthers at the end of last season.

Pat Yasinskas: I agree that Gamble is probably Carolina’s second best player on defense. However, Gamble is a very quiet guy and keeps to himself. Brayton is a popular figure in the locker room and I think that’s why his teammates elected him as a captain.