It's been a bit of a whirlwind tracking the Panthers coaching moves, and we suspect there'll be a few more names thrown in this week as they try to finalize the staff.
But what's happened here in the last two weeks is unique, since three members of coach John Fox's staff have left for ostensibly better gigs. Granted, new St. Louis defensive coordinator Ken Flajole and new Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy aren't expected to have complete authority on their sides of the ball (not with new head coaches Steve Spagnuolo and Josh McDaniels calling the shots). But they're at least getting better titles, and more money and security.
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Same is true for former D-line coach Sal Sunseri. While it's been reported that he's going to Alabama as a linebackers coach, it's actually more of a job than that. According to those familiar with his situation, he's going to be the Crimson Tide's assistant head coach/defense, while working with the linebackers. Sunseri's always been a bit of an odd fit at the pro level. It's not that he wasn't good at coaching his group, but he's always burned for a chance to be a coordinator or a head coach at the college level. He's just more in tune with younger players, and has the kind of energy for the college game that made him a natural there.
So with three of the Panthers assistants taking what amount to promotions, one of the old weaknesses of Fox's might be drifting away. He's never surrounded himself with high-level, ambitious assistants. The one time he did, Jack Del Rio left after a year. That was a shotgun marriage to begin with, as Fox and Del Rio's personas weren't good fits for each other long-term.
Otherwise, Fox's staff have been largely comprised of close friends or those he's worked with forever (Jim Skipper, Mike Gillhamer, Sunseri, etc.) and those he inherited.
That's going to help as he assembles the rest of his staff, as young guys will know they can get promoted from here. That hasn't always been the case, as some have pointed to it as a reason for not coming. One of the criticism's of Fox's leadership style in the coaching community is that he hasn't surrounded himself with strong, dissenting voices or personalities. That helps him retain control.
Will that change? Who knows.
Offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson's still young in his job, but it's easy to see he's going to have chances to move up before long. He has the right mindset for the job, and you can tell he's easing into his leadership position comfortably.
It's not a coaching tree yet. Hey, let's be honest, it's barely a sapling. But the first leaves are sprouting, and it'll be interesting to see over the next few the kind of influence Fox has had on his current and former assistants, and if more of his subordinates are able to move up on their own.