Redskins

Panthers fire GM Hurney after team's 1-5 start

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Panthers fire GM Hurney after team's 1-5 start

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Panthers owner Jerry Richardson sat down in his office Sunday night with Marty Hurney and posed two questions to the franchise's longtime general manager: Why are the Panthers 1-5 and when are they going to get better?

Hurney said he couldn't give him an honest answer for either question.

The following morning Richardson made the tough decision to fire Hurney, who has been with the team since 1998 and the GM for the past 11 years.

The move came one day after star quarterback Cam Newton expressed his frustration following Carolina's fourth straight defeat, a 19-14 loss to Dallas.

Hurney took full responsibility for the team's failures.

``Words don't keep your job, actions do,'' Hurney said. ``The bottom line is we were 1-5. We're 1-3 at home.

``We laid in egg in front of the Giants on national TV (a 36-7 loss) and came back the last two weeks and lost against teams we felt like we had a good chance to beat. It can't continue to go this way,'' he said.

``Marty made every effort to bring success to the Panthers and took the team to a Super Bowl and two NFC championship games,'' Richardson said in a statement. ``Unfortunately, we have not enjoyed the success we hoped for in recent years. I have the greatest respect and admiration for Marty and will always appreciate the way he tirelessly served the organization.''

Richardson spent most of Monday in meetings and talking to people around the league he confides in.

Hurney said he doesn't expect his replacement will be named until after the season, but he's not completely sure.

There's a chance Richardson could bring in an older, more experienced former general manager to advise him on the direction of the franchise and give him an honest evaluations of the players in the interim.

One of the people Richardson's trusts the most is former New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi. He's also close friends with the Rooney family in Pittsburgh.

In the meantime, Brandon Beane, the team's director of football operations, will handle day-to-day football matters until a new GM is hired. And coach Ron Rivera said when it comes to personnel decisions he'll have final say in matters for now.

``If a decision has to be made involving the football team and players, it will all stop with me,'' Rivera said, who added he was surprised by the move.

Rivera said at this point no assistant coaches have been fired, but he wouldn't rule that out.

``We're all being evaluated,'' Rivera said.

Hurney said he fought for his job, but in the end couldn't blame Richardson. Hurney added he thinks the Panthers need more leadership.

``I think we need somebody to step up in the locker room and take hold,'' he said. ``I think there are people capable of that. I think we need some players to step up and say enough is enough.''

Newton experienced virtually no losses before becoming a pro, and he was the 2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year. But this season has been a struggle, and he seemed at a loss for solutions Sunday.

``Well everybody's looking at it, it's not just me,'' he said. ``(We) try to find ways to keep games close and whether it's me, I don't know. Whether it's the coordinator, I don't know ... but we've got to find a way to change that.''

Hurney regrets not winning a Super Bowl in Carolina - they lost 32-29 to New England for the 2003 title - and the team's inability to post back-to-back winning seasons.

``I hope this change starts accomplishing the direction to those goals,'' Hurney said. ``I am responsible for everybody in coaching, the players, the scouts and everybody in football operations. After six weeks, we are 1-5 coming off a 6-10 season.''

Hurney was general manager when the Panthers went to the Super Bowl and the NFC championship games in the 2003 and 2005 seasons, as well as winning the NFC South in 2008.

Hurney was well liked and respected within the organization, but his personnel decisions in the draft and in free agency were routinely criticized by fans tired of the Panthers' losing ways.

Defensive end Charles Johnson, the team's highest-paid player, said on Twitter: ``Marty wasn't the reason we are losing! ... Unbelievable!''

Carolina's last playoff victory came in 2005 when it reached the NFC championship game before losing at Seattle. The Panthers appeared to turn things around in 2008 when they won the NFC South and earned a first-round bye before getting upset 33-13 at home by the Arizona Cardinals. They haven't been back to the playoffs since.

Hurney's philosophy has been to build through the draft and re-sign proven players rather than going after high-priced free agents. But the team wasted a number of high draft picks through the years.

The personnel blunder that angered fans most was giving 34-year-old quarterback Jake Delhomme a five-year, $42.5 million contract months after he turned over the ball over six times in the playoff loss to Arizona.

Delhomme started 2009 with a five-turnover game against Philadelphia and was cut after the season. Delhomme cost the Panthers $12 million against the salary cap in 2009 even though he was no longer on the roster.

Eric Shelton, Dwayne Jarrett, Jimmy Clausen and Everette Brown were all drafted in the second round, but failed to meet expectations. Brown, in particular, was a costly choice in 2009 because the Panthers gave up their first-round pick the following year to San Francisco to get him. Brown lasted only two seasons in Carolina.

Hurney also was criticized for giving big contracts to keep the team's core intact following a 2-14 season in 2010.

He did well with first-round draft picks Jordan Gross, Jon Beason, Jonathan Stewart, Chris Gamble and Newton, last year's No. 1 overall pick.

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Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

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Associated Press

Barry Trotz's departure reminiscent of Joe Gibbs' resignation in 1993

The sudden resignation of Barry Trotz as the coach of the Stanley Cup champion Capitals is the most stunning Washington coaching departure since Joe Gibbs retired from the Redskins about 13 months after the team won its third Super Bowl in a 10-year span. 

In the years leading up to Gibbs’ departure, there were some rumblings that he might leave. As early as 1986, John Madden said that Gibbs was a candidate to burn out of the profession early. During the 1989 season, Gibbs said that he was contemplating retirement, but he retracted his words the next day. In 1990, columnist and TV pregame panelist Will McDonough reported that Gibbs would retire after the season. Retirement rumors popped up again in early 1992, just two days before Super Bowl XXVI. Again, Gibbs denied them. The Redskins easily beat the Bills to claim their third championship in 10 years and there was no apparent reason why such a successful coach would think about leaving. 

Redskins fans had become so used to hearing the Gibbs retirement reports that many just started to tune them out. So on the morning of March 5, 1993, when reports of Gibbs’ resignation as coach started to circulate, many were in a state of denial.

That turned out to be wishful thinking. The fans were given a hard jolt of reality when the team announced a noon press conference. 

There the coach was on TV, as promised, confirming the news. He said it was a family decision. 

“Every year, we get away and talk about it,” Gibbs said. “We always reach the same conclusion. This year, it was different. The boys didn’t encourage me one way or another, but they understood when I told them what I was thinking. I think Pat’s happier than anyone. This isn’t an easy lifestyle for a coach’s wife. The coach is the guy who stands up and hears everyone tell him how great he is. The wife is the one waiting at home alone while the coach is spending every night at the office. 

“I wanted more time with my family. I wanted more time with my sons. I look at this as a window of opportunity with them and I couldn’t let it pass.” 

Although he has been diagnosed with a condition that has caused some pain and some difficulty in sleeping, Gibbs said that health was not a factor in his decision. 

Richie Petitbon, the team’s longtime defensive coordinator, was named the team’s new head coach. It had to be one of the shortest job interviews ever. 

“I get a call from Mr. Cooke who tells me Joe has retired and that he wants me to coach the Redskins,” Petitbon said. “After I picked myself up off the floor, I said yes.” 

After hearing the news, most Redskins fans had to pick themselves up as well.  

Petitbon lasted only one season as the head coach and the other eight head coaches who followed, including Gibbs himself in a four-year second stint, have been unable to get the Redskins back to the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, the Caps’ head coaching job is widely expected to go to Todd Reirden, who was Trotz’s top assistant just as Pettitbon was Gibbs’. 

Washington fans hope that the Caps have better fortune with Trotz’s successors. 

More Redskins

- 53-man roster: Roster projection--Offense
- 53-man roster: Best players 25 or younger

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

 

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Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Need to Know: Post-minicamp Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 19, 37 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins 53-man roster projection—Defense 

It may still be early to project the roster, but things are coming into focus after the round of practices in helmets and shorts. Here is my look at who I think will make it on defense; the offense was posted yesterday.

Defensive line (7)
Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Stacy McGee, Tim Settle, Ziggy Hood

I don’t think that McGee’s groin injury will be an issue, but it seemed that Jay Gruden was very tight-lipped about the whole thing, so we will have to wait until training camp starts. This is one more than they normally carry here and Hood’s presence on the roster could be in danger if injuries force the team to carry more players at another position. 

Outside linebacker (4)
Ryan Kerrigan, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Pernell McPhee

Anderson is certain to make the roster, but he was mostly invisible during the offseason practices that were open to the media. The spotlight will be on last year’s second-round pick in training camp. After a zero-sack rookie season, Anderson will be under pressure to produce this season. 

Inside linebacker (5)
Zach Brown, Mason Foster, Zach Vigil, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaun Dion Hamilton

The player I have on the wrong side of the bubble here is Martrell Spaight. If he does work his way on, the spot most in jeopardy is Vigil’s. Harvey-Clemons got a lot of reps with the first team in OTAs and the team thinks he can help in nickel situations and perhaps more. And Gruden called Hamilton a potential future starter. So the two younger players seem safe, leaving Vigil vulnerable.

Cornerback (6)
Josh Norman, Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Orlando Scandrick, Josh Holsey, Greg Stroman

As is the case with the running backs that I looked at yesterday, this group seems to be pretty well set. It’s not that it’s an exceptionally strong group, but there isn’t a lot of real competition. Behind these six are three undrafted free agents, and while Danny Johnson, Kenny Ladler, and Ranthony Texada all have had flashes in the offseason practices, they are extreme long shots to make the roster at this point. 

Safety (4)
D.J. Swearinger, Montae Nicholson, Deshazor Everett, Troy Apke

If there are concerns about Nicholson’s health—to be clear, as of now there are none—Fish Smithson could make it as a fifth safety. 

Specialists (3)
K Dustin Hopkins, P Tress Way, LS Nick Sundberg

It looks like the Redskins will have the same trio of specialists for the fourth straight year. I will look it up at some point but for now, I’ll say that it’s been a while since they had such stability here. 


Defensive players: 26
Rookies (5): 
Payne, Settle, Hamilton, Stroman, Apke
New to the Redskins in 2018 (7): Rookies plus McPhee, Scandrick
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster (13): Rookies plus new players plus Vigil (released in the final cut, re-signed later in the season). 

On the 53-man roster:

24 offense, 26 defense, 3 specialists
Rookies: 8
New to the Redskins in 2017: 12
Not on 2017 Week 1 roster: 16

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 37
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 51
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 74

The Redskins last played a game 170 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 82 days. 

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