To Plan B

With Steve Spurrier headed for the nation's capital and $5 million a year, the Panthers have turned their attention to the man who has been the architect of the tough New York Giants defense the last five years, John Fox.

Fox, who is friends with Panthers' salary cap guru Marty Hurney, came to Charlotte on Monday to meet with owner Jerry Richardson to talk about philosophies and possibilities. Fox was a hot property after the Giants Super Bowl run a year ago, but only got one interview since most jobs filled up before the big game.

By all reports, Fox is a very popular man with both players and media and could have been the head coach in New York had the Giants not made their late run last year.

While he is a defensive man, what most folks want to know about is his offensive philosophy. The good news is: he doesn't plan on running the West Coast offense that bogged down under George Seifert.

"I really believe in running the football, being able to run the football, play action off of that, develop a toughness," Fox said. "I believe that's what it takes to win in this league."

Fox doesn't have any head coaching experience at all, but that's a challenge he'd like to take on.

"About the only thing I haven't had the opportunity to accomplish (as a coach) is running the whole football team. Obviously, I think I'll be very successful."

When owner Jerry Richardson announced the firing of Seifert, he talked about needed to generate energy within the franchise and fans, Spurrier would have been a man to accomplish that instantly. John Fox is not a man that Panthers fans are very familiar with nor is likely to generate widespread excitement. Yet, he believes, long-term, he can do that.

"I think of course, your plan, your personality, the ability you have to communicate with the organization and the players have a lot to do with that," Fox said . "I believe I have those skills."

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