Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC South [Print without images]

Thursday, January 22, 2009
A bit more on Carolina's crazy day

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Details are starting to emerge as to why basically the entire defensive coaching staff of the Carolina Panthers has jumped ship.

And it has nothing to do with All-Pro defensive end Julius Peppers saying he wants to jump ship.

According to sources close to the situation, several of the assistants were more than a little perturbed that it took so long for the Panthers to offer them contract extensions. Apparently, the offers came only in recent days.

The coaches, who were under contract through Feb. 1, felt new offers should have come before the playoff game against Arizona. That's commonly what happens around the NFL. But it didn't work within that time frame in Carolina this year and it might have cost the Panthers three coaches (defensive coordinator Mike Trgovac, defensive line coach Sal Sunseri and defensive backs coach Tim Lewis). Linebackers coach Ken Flajole left, but that was a promotion as he took the St. Louis defensive coordinator job.

Coaches are people, too, and they have families and futures to worry about.

Not sure exactly whether the blame for this should fall on general manager Marty Hurney or ownership. But the word out of Carolina is that head coach John Fox isn't very happy about what transpired.

You can't blame him for that. He's suddenly got a defensive staff to fill and most of the good coaches already have been hired elsewhere.