Payton, Smith soaring in approval ratings

September, 24, 2009

Posted by’s Pat Yasinskas

I took a trip over to SportsNation to get a look at the weekly NFL Coach Approval Ratings and was mildly surprised to see that Carolina’s John Fox has climbed out of the basement -- barely -- after the Week 2 games.

Fox was on the bottom last week and the Panthers lost again. His rating (19 percent) isn’t soaring yet, but there were five guys below him at the moment I looked at the voting. Tampa Bay’s Raheem Morris was one spot ahead of Fox at 22 percent.

By the way, the Bill Cowher rumors are flying again. I said it before and I'll say it again: I don't see Cowher landing in Carolina even if the Panthers continue to lose and Fox is ousted. Just because Cowher went to North Carolina State and has a house in the Raleigh area doesn't mean he'll end up in Charlotte, which is more than a two-hour drive. Besides, if Cowher is going to coach, my guess is it will be in a bigger market.

Also, Carolina owner Jerry Richardson is a pretty sharp guy and he likes to learn from past mistakes. He hired a big-name, Super Bowl-winning coach once before. That guy's name was George Seifert and he ran the Panthers into the ground. If Richardson's going to make a move (and Fox has to lose a lot more games for that to happen), my guess is he would go with a fast-rising coordinator.

On the other end of the spectrum of approval ratings, New Orleans’ Sean Payton suddenly is a darling. He ranks second only to San Francisco’s Mike Singletary and has a 95 percent rating. Atlanta’s Mike Smith is tied for third at 94 percent. Just curious: Where in the world are the 6 percent who think Smith isn’t doing a good job? I’m guessing Bobby Petrino and Jim Mora must be doing some clicking.

Speaking of clicking, you can cast your vote or just view the approval ratings here.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter



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