John Fox Speaks

John Fox was introduced as the Carolina Panthers' third head coach on Friday, here's a summary of what he had to say:

"It's a pleasure to be here. I want to thank Mr. Richardson, Mark, John, and the rest of the family, for this great opportunity. It's something I've dreamt about most of my coaching career, which is about 15 years. I'm a little smarter than to spit into the wind. I know I might be enthusiastic but I am a little smarter than that.

I'm really, really, really excited about this opportunity. I know my wife and I have been fairly anxious over this process. It lasted a little bit for us, and I'm sure it's lasted and been very tough operation for the organization.

This is not an easy step. I feel great about my decision and I feel that they feel great about their decision and I'm real, real anxious to get this organization turned around. This is a big step for all of us. I won't make any guarantees, other than you'll be proud of what you see on the field. And hopefully, great things and good things will happen for this organization."

How he will turn things around: "First of all, I think what makes the job very appealing, looking at it this way, is the 1-15. I think we have got nowhere to go you but up. I think the players' frame of mind right now is probably one that they are looking to work hard, looking to get things turned around. They ought to be motivated. I think it's going to be important to get their mindset right, developing that confidence. I think I'm going to hire the kind of staff, because the kind of person I am, is rejuvenating that confidence, rejuvenating the current players we have on the team. That's going to be as important as anything we do, X's and O's or offense or defense."

How about the Panthers talent level:  "If you ask any coach in this league, I don't think any of them would say they're too talented. I think the talent level of any team is critical. We have some holes. I can't sit here and say I have all of the answers with the short look I have had. But that's going to be my job between now and when our season begins to go over that and make sure we make the right selections. But is it a concern, yeah, but I think it is with all the other teams in the league, too. It's something we're going to have to work hard and that those decisions made in that area are going to be very critical to our performance."

On his football philosophy: "I think this comes from a long time in the league. Basically, from Chuck Noll. He told me a long time ago that the core of any good football team, offensively or defensively, is you better stop the run and you better be able to run. I think that toughness and the type of mentality that you need to have to be successful in those two areas can carry over to make you a success. Is that all you have to be good at, no, but in a quick philosophy, that's what I believe in."

On quarterback Chris Weinke: "I think competition is good. Any football team, in the short look I've had an opportunity to see, I liked what I saw in Chris Weinke. Obviously, you need backups. It's not something I have to dig into or had the opportunity to dig into that far in that depth, but that's an area that's important. And I'll be able to answer that question better at a later date."

On his coaching style: "I'm going to be who I am. I'm not going to try to be anybody different than I am as John Fox. I've been blessed with a good career thus far. I've been in good organizations as I am right this minute. I want to be me. Hopefully, my job is going to be to run this football team and manage this football team. I'm going to do that the best I know how and that is to hire the best human talent I can find. Whether it's players, coaches or people in the organization that are going to affect our performance. And that's going to be my job. I'll be held accountable. The people that are put into place will be held accountable also. But I would hope that I would be able to be me and I have my own style. I can't put it into words, but I'm going to be me."

On the structure of the Panthers football operations: "I can't speak about the past but I will say this: I am very comfortable, and one of the main reasons from my standpoint I'm here today, even in my evaluation of this job, was the structure of that organization at the Carolina Panthers. I feel very comfortable with the people in place, the level they're in and I'm looking very much forward to working with them."

On who will make the personnel decisions: "There is no final say, to me, other than it will be the Carolina Panthers final say, and my philosophy has always been that 24 eyes are better than two. I would hope at the end of the day when we make a decision it will be as an organization and it will give us the best opportunity to win. I feel that's in hand or that's set up and I feel very comfortable with that."

On getting advice from other coaches who have turned teams around: "A lot of the people that I've been involved with, Jim Haslett and I have coached together, he is a close personal friend that has made that level jump. Dave McGinnis. More of my questions were not how I'm going to be as a head coach but maybe some of the things that they had to adjust to after being coordinators in this league instead of running half the team, now running the whole team. Obviously, I'm always looking to grow, and those are people that I have talked to, yes."

On adjusting from being a coordinator to being a head coach: "I will say that I think running the whole football team can't be a whole lot different than running the half. They're all football players and you've got to motivate them. I will hire coordinators that have an expertise in both areas, much like I was hired by Jim Fassel five years ago. I don't see it maybe as much different as somebody else. I liken it to when we elect a president. He hasn't been president before, but we have a leap of faith and we put our whole country in his hands."

On how he reacted after being offered the job: "Maybe a sigh. It's been a long process as I'm sure it has been for this organization. Everybody wants to make the right decision. Obviously, I was very excited. My family, my wife were very excited. They have made a big commitment to my career over the years, and it's nice to see them to have this opportunity as well as myself. So elated, excited, you know, all those words were coming to mind."

On pumping energy back into the Panthers: "I've got a big challenge ahead of me. This organization has a big challenge ahead of it. It's going to take a lot of hard work. It's going to take a big commitment not only by the people working here but the people playing here. And we're going to have to get the right kind of people. I think we're going to have to hire the right kind of staff. There has to be some trust stated amongst players and coaches. I just think the personality of me, personality of the staff I bring in, the personality of the kind of players that I want associated with the organization, that's been the way I've always operated. And one thing that really cures all that is winning. A lot of the plan is on how to get that confidence back. And winning games will help."

On the kind of player he wants on the team: "I couldn't put names to it. I wouldn't want to miss anybody. And I've been blessed to have been associated with those. But show me a good player, and I'll show you a good coach or show me a good coach, and I'll show you a good player. We're all going to be directly reflective of the kind of talent we assume and align and motivate. Tough, tough-minded, dependable. It's a tough profession they're in. And some of the money they make, it's human nature. Sometimes, it's like if I was a drywaller and I won the lottery, I might not be as good of a drywaller any more with that financial security. So it's human nature. It's nothing bad about anybody. It's true of all of us. We have to be held accountable and we have to be dependable. And that makeup can win a lot of games. It can be the difference maker even above talent. And I think that's something that needs to be selected. I think that's something that needs to be promoted."

On how involved he will be in play calling: "I'm going hire the best available coaching talent that's out there. I'm going entrust them to run half the football team, much like I've done most of my career. That will be their responsibility. It's a big responsibility. To call defenses and to call plays, it takes a special person to be able to do that, the ones that are successful. I don't want to be so involved that I hurt their job, much like I wouldn't want to hurt anybody's job here now. Let people do their jobs, trust them to do their jobs, hold them accountable and that will be the way I'll operate as a head coach. I will be involved. I will manage the game. I will manage the team. I will suggest. I think I have a lot of experience. I think I understand the game fairly well as far as how to manage a game. I've got my own philosophies on that, and that's why I've been excited to be a head coach so I can take that step and that will be my job description."

On the Panthers talent level: "I think there's a good, young group of talent here. I used the term good because you don't get to this level and not be good. I think you have to get the most out that have talent and you can make good be great. I think a lot of that is coaching, desire on their part. But rather than be specific, I can't say that I'm prepared to the point now where can I say well, we have got the best of this and the worst of that. Obviously, we have some holes to fill. It's going to be part of my job to help make those decisions and fill holes where we feel needed, and I'm not really prepared right now to say what that is yet."

On if the Panthers will continue to run the West Coast Offense: "I've been a defensive coach for a long time and I'm still trying to really figure out what exactly that means. We will have the ability and we will work at running the football. And is that all we will do, no. I'm not trying to profess that and I know coaching defense for years you can't be one-dimensional. You have to be able to do both. But being able to run and having the toughness to run is something you still want to instill in your football team. And I'll never change that and that's one promise I can make. You do have to do both in this league but you have to start there. If that's what the west coast offense is, I'm not really sure. If that's not what it is, I'm not really sure. I can just tell you what we will be."

On whom the Panthers will select with the second overall pick in the NFL draft: "Another great thing about this opportunity and another great plus in this particular position is the second pick in the draft. I've never had that experience in my coaching profession. I'm looking forward to it. We've got a lot of work ahead of us to make sure we select wisely. We have the second pick through the draft. So we're going to be able to inject some very good, young talent in this football team. I don't want to get into at this point where, what, those types of things, because we have got a long job ahead of us to get that right. And that is going to be a direct reflection of how we do this next season. So that's exciting."

On having an aggressive defense: "I can't really speak for what's happened here in the past. I just know that football's an aggressive game, usually aggressive people are involved and they tend to be that way. I know that's the kind of personality that you try to accumulate on the defensive side of the ball. It's very important to me that you don't curb that personality. Sometimes if you are more read and react, sometimes you can curb that personality. I like aggressive people and I like aggressive defense. And the people we bring in here, I would like to have be images of that."

On developing toughness by hitting: "To develop some of the toughness that I'm talking about to run the ball, to stop the run, it requires hitting. You have to be smart but you have to get in hitting shape. People think, well, that guy's a football player. Boy, he looks in good shape. You can't get in hitting shape without hitting. They can work in the weight room, they can lift weights, but there's a difference and you have to get in hitting shape. And to me, you have to hit, otherwise, sometimes you can create injuries. You have to be smart. You want to get your team ready through training camp but you want to make sure you have a team after training camp. So it's a fine line and again one of the hard decisions that I'm going to have to make and our staff is going to have to monitor, but it is to create a tough enough team and yet make sure we have a team left."

On if he ever doubted that he would become a head coach: "I've always had the philosophy that I'm going to do the best darn job I can do with the one I have and hopefully, somebody will take notice and I'll get it. If it's meant to be, it will happen. I've been through this process before. It didn't work out. I've enjoyed the last three years and it didn't work out. I've been blessed and I just always had a feeling that some day this would happen. I felt really good about this from the onset and I feel really good about it now."

On how he will introduce himself to the Panthers players: "I'm going to be me. And how I'm going to present it, I'm going to present it like it's going to be. And what I'm going to expect and what's going to be demanded of them, how they're going to be held accountable. I've got a plan to what's going to bring us to where we want to be. And they either get on board or not be here."

On meeting with Panthers players during the offseason: "A lot of it depends on availability. I have to research that. For the guys that are in town I'm not going to discourage any face to face, obviously. As far as a team meeting setting, that probably won't be done until our first mini camp."


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