NFC South: Bernie Kosar

Panthers now must focus on offense

January, 10, 2011
It looks like Ron Rivera will be the new head coach in Carolina, but he might not be the most important hire the Panthers make.

The Panthers believe that who they hire as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach will be almost as important as who they hire as the head coach. They feel so strongly about this that team officials might try to steer Rivera toward hiring certain offensive coaches, and one name you should keep an eye on is Marc Trestman.

He’s been coaching Montreal in the Canadian Football League, but Trestman has a long history as an NFL coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Although this logic didn’t apply with Bill Cowher, there’s another reason Trestman might be on Carolina’s radar. He has a home in the Raleigh area and lives there during the CFL’s offseason. Trestman did a stint at North Carolina State before heading to Montreal.

Carolina owner Jerry Richardson has made it very clear he expects the new coach to improve an offense that was dismal last season and predictable throughout much of the John Fox era. With Andrew Luck electing to stay at Stanford and not enter the NFL this year, it’s unlikely the Panthers will use the No. 1 overall pick in the draft on a quarterback.

They could draft one later or they could target a quarterback in free agency. The Panthers realize they can’t sit still at quarterback, although there are people within the organization who believe that Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike still have the potential to develop into decent NFL quarterbacks. The belief is that Clausen and Pike didn’t have a chance to succeed as rookies because they weren’t getting great coaching and were in an offensive system that didn’t give them a chance to prosper.

Through his career, Trestman has worked with Bernie Kosar, Rich Gannon and Jake Plummer in seasons where those quarterbacks put up big numbers.

Fox lets his guard down

March, 24, 2010
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Perhaps the best thing I’ve noticed about the NFC coaches breakfast at the owners meetings for most of the last decade is how relaxed Carolina coach John Fox is.

He’s extremely guarded during the season, but Fox tends to let his guard down when there is only a small group of reporters and the first game of the season is months away. That was the case Wednesday morning when Fox provided what might have been the best line of the day when he was asked about the throwing motion of University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

“You ever watch Bernie Kosar play?’’ Fox said with a big laugh.

Good point. Fox went on to talk about Tebow’s intangibles at length. He was at Tebow’s workout and there’s been a lot of speculation about the Panthers perhaps drafting Tebow. My take on that? It’s a smokescreen. The Panthers will add a quarterback at some point -- in free agency or the draft. Tebow’s a project and they need someone who can play right away in case Matt Moore isn’t what the Panthers hope he is.

Speaking of speculation, there’s been a lot of fan talk about the Panthers trading DeAngelo Williams for draft picks. Fox was asked about that and said his top running back isn’t on the market and he plans to go into this season with Williams and Jonathan Stewart in his backfield.

Trust Fox on this one. He seriously believes in having two quality running backs because the Panthers rely on the running game so much. Besides, I’ve been told by other team officials that Williams isn’t going anywhere and he’s one of the guys the Panthers want to eventually sign to a long-term contract.