Op-Ed: Panthers & Jets Someone Has to Win

Posted Nov 29, 2009 by Michael Bearak
New York is going to showcase a pair of 4-6 teams. That doesn't tell the whole story either as Carolina's coach John Fox finds himself back on the hot seat.
Today the Carolina Panthers are traveling north to visit the New York Jets and rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. The New York Jets started out hot with Mark Sanchez looking like a seasoned veteran playing in the toughest market around. Sanchez guided his Jets to a 3-0 record before suffering his first defeat and losing the next 6 out of 7 games. Just the same this is a young Jets team and in a very uncharacteristic New York manner, the fans have been somewhat patient. While Sanchez has heard boos this year they have stopped short of calling for his head.
The Jets, if they pick up the victory today look very good at finishing 7-9, yes sub .500 but just the same you have a rookie quarterback and head coach. After the Panthers they have the Bills and Tampa Bay. Then things get more difficult with the Falcons but that is at home in December, if they have picked up wins against the Panthers, Bills, and Buccaneers they will be 8-8 more than likely. The Jets will finish the year with the Colts on the road and then Bengals at home.
Across the field the Panthers started out 0-3 and the immediately the Carolina fans and Charlotte media started calling for the head of coach Fox and for him to bench Delhomme, neither of which have happened. The Panthers have yet to have a winning record this season and front office changes within the organization going into the season raised suspicion that Fox might be next or that the team might be sold all together.
Things won't get any easier for the Panthers as this week and next are their best chances at a couple of wins after this week they host Tampa Bay. From there they have the Patriots, Vikings, Giants and Saints. It is more than possible that the Panthers can find themselves somewhere 4 and 12 or 6-10 very easily.
Panthers end up at that 4-12 position it is hard to see Fox coming back next season. Consistency would be Fox's biggest problem as he has been unable to put together consecutive winning seasons.