Panthers general manager Marty Hurney has always been accountable. That’s why Monday morning’s meeting with owner Jerry Richardson, and the end result, did not come as a surprise to him.
“I understand it,” Hurney said in a brief phone conversation. “It’s hard, but I understand why he did what he did.
“We didn’t get the job done. The responsibility for winning games comes down to me, and we didn’t get it done.”
The decision to fire Hurney in October is unusually timed within the context of the current season, but will give Richardson the chance to formulate a list of candidates now, so that when he can talk to them as soon as the season ends.
In the short term, the surprise might be greater that coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski still have jobs, since the offensive progress that was so evident a year ago has disappeared, and the Panthers appear more rudderless than at any time since the 1-15 swan song of George Seifert.
The Panthers won’t name an interim GM, allowing current staffers to continue in their roles now.
That effectively takes the Panthers out of any significant transactions until a replacement is hired, and creates an awkward holding pattern for the staffers who remain.
But it’s clearly the first move of many, making the last 10 weeks of the season an audition for players and a chance to get houses on the market for many throughout the building.