Blog Entry

Smith points finger at Fox for dwindling output

Posted on: August 7, 2011 11:28 am
Posted by Ryan Wilson

It wasn't long ago that the Panthers' Steve Smith was considered one of the most dangerous wide receivers in the game. In recent years, however, his output has fallen off a cliff. He hauled in 78 passes for 1,421 yards in 2008 only to see his yards receiving drop by 439 yards from 2008 to 2009, and it dropped another 428 yards from '09 to '10 (to a six-year low of 554).

Smith's dwindling production coincides with Carolina's three-year slide from playoff team to one of the worst outfits in the league. Also not helping: the revolving door at quarterback; Jake Delhomme was released after the 2009 season, and Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen combined for two wins in 2010. Now it's only a matter of time before 2011 first-overall pick Cam Newton finds the field.

It's a culmination of all these things, as well as the conservative system former head coach John Fox seemed to favor -- not Smith's age -- that had everything to do with decidedly pedestrian numbers. At least that's the story Smith's telling.

"I respect coach Fox and I respect the offensive coordinators that have been here," Smith said, according to the Charlotte Observer. "But at the same time I'm a wide receiver. Run blocking is not my forte.

"It is nice to have layers, have multiple sets, not to just be stacking to one spot for 70 plays," Smith said of Carolina's new offense now under the direction or Rob Chudzinski. "I get to line up in different spots. It's just refreshing. It's not saying, 'Well, we're going to move you around,' and then never do it. Here they're actually saying it and it's happening. It's not just me. It's other guys as well."

The Panthers are making a conscious decision to move away from Fox's run-first scheme. Last week the organization traded for former Bears tight end Greg Olsen, and Newton wasn't selected first overall to hand the ball off.

"The quarterbacks are doing what has not been done around here in a long time. The philosophy in years past has been not to screw it up," Smith said. "And here it's put your foot down on the gas pedal and go hard. So I like that."

One of the liberating things about going 2-14 in 2010 is that there isn't much pressure on the Panthers in 2011. New head coach Ron Rivera isn't yet on the hot seat (though we imagine it's only a matter of time), and expectations couldn't be lower. In that sense, it's a great time to be a Carolina fan. (Okay, that was a bit much, even for us.)

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Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: August 7, 2011 9:12 pm

Smith points finger at Fox for dwindling output

Animal house, I would be willing to bet some of my hard earned $$ that Newton doesn't pass for 20 TD.That is one bad team and they might have the 1st pick again next year with a little Luck.

Since: May 14, 2008
Posted on: August 7, 2011 7:15 pm

Smith points finger at Fox for dwindling output

so why did the Panthers drop $43 million on D'Angelo? To pass block?

Since: Jun 20, 2010
Posted on: August 7, 2011 5:58 pm

Smith points finger at Fox for dwindling output

Carolina is obviously a work in progress but they are moving in the right direction. Cleaning house was essential as Fox's words were falling on deaf ears and not addressing the QB situation the last couple years was flat out inexcusable. Well ...for all you Panther's fans is on the way .....because Cam Newton is the real deal. He is way more cerebral than people give him credit for to go along with his athleticism and good instincts. The guy is a born leader and I have no doubt that he will be lining up behind the center in week #1. People will go to battle for him and that's where the noticable difference will be this year. A full team effort for 60 minutes. Don't get me wrong ....Carolina will lose a lot of games this year but they are going to be in a lot of them when the 4th quarter comes around .....and even win a few that they were expected to lose. 
The biggest issue may be their schedule because it's tough. They have a contest against the NFC East's dormat ...the Redskins but it's all down hill from there.
With that being stated their are some things to look forward too. A healthy DeAngelo Williams is back to form the two headed RB monster with Jonathan Stewart (Goodson showed he was no slouch as well) and Steve Smith is sticking around in Charlotte and newly acquired TE Olsen will be highly utilized along with Shockey in a lot of 2 TE sets which will draw a lot of linebacker and safety attention which will in return help out in getting WR S.Smith open as well as provide running room for Cam when the pocket breaks down.
I'm expecting Cam Newton to finish the year with stats in the neigborhood of: 3200 Pass Yds with 20 TD's with 500 Rush Yds and 5 TD's which would put him slot him 9th-12th best fantasy QB at years end. Not too shabby. Somebody has to catch some of those 20 TD's and this would be a likely split:
WR Steve Smith - 950  Rec Yds and 6 TD's
TE Greg Olsen - 700 Yds Rec and 6 TD's
TE Jeremy Shockey - 450 Rec Yds and 3 TD's
RB DeAngelo Williams - 1100 Rush Yds with 6 TD's and 300 Rec Yds and 2 TD's
RB Jonathan Stewart - 950 Rush Yds with 8 TD's and 100 Rec Yds and 1 TD
RB Mike Goodsen - 100 Rec Yds and 1 TD
Other WR's total - 600 Rec Yds and 1 TD

Like others have mentioned ......I would much rather watch the Panthers now than the Broncos with Fox in the mile high city and Orton playing QB. Tebow and Newton are cut from the same mold and inspire people and will their teams to victories. they were winners at every level. Orton doesn't affect people in the same way and even though he may be a more accurate passer than Tebow he won't will Denver to wins like Tebow would. Doug Flutie wasn't much of a practice QB either but he made people better around him and got the job done between the lines. Denver brass would be doing the team a big service by starting Tim. Only time will tell.

Since: Jun 22, 2009
Posted on: August 7, 2011 2:43 pm

Smith points finger at Fox for dwindling output

Funny, but Fox was at Carolina since 2002.  Thus, all of Steve Smith's career except his less than productive rookie year.  That means Fox was there for five years when Smith had over 1000 yards receiving.  Does Fox get credit for that, if it's Fox's fault for Smith's lousy numbers as of late?  I believe that Fox was also there for the (at least) two episodes where Smith punched a teammate in the face.  Considering that Fox didn't send him packing, don't you think this POS owes Fox a little more than this?  Classic Steve Smith.  Never his fault.  Here's a prediction that most may find obvious - Smith will stink on ice this year in Fox's absence.  That, however, will likely be attributed to Cam Newton or the new coach. 

Since: Nov 15, 2006
Posted on: August 7, 2011 2:31 pm

Smith points finger at Fox for dwindling output

Sounds like a modern-day Chuck Knox.

Btw , for what it's worth, Shanahan never used the Screen in Denver , either.  

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: August 7, 2011 1:22 pm

Smith points finger at Fox for dwindling output

All I say is get ready Broncos fans. You will see what Steve Smith is talking about soon enough. You are getting a preview of what Fox is like with the QB situation you have now. I have been saying all along that Orton would be your starter this year. Fox loves him a mediocre journeyman QB. Orton fits the bill. Broncos fans will notice a few things about a JOhn Fox coached team. Their D will improve. The offense will be boring. The offense will not use basic plays like the screen pass to the running back. There will be a lot of 3rd & long draw plays. Just prepare yourself is all I am saying. You are in for a boring ride.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: August 7, 2011 12:44 pm

Smith points finger at Fox for dwindling output

Yeah, Fox goes run-heavy, but look at that list of QBs.  Not a single one of those guys could get Smith the ball over the past three or four years.  Delhomme managed to find the wrong color jersey more often, and neither Clausen nor Moore showed the ability to put the ball in a tight window.  Thus, the Panthers: poor to horrid QBs, good RBs, and one WR.  If you were playing them, wouldn't you double Smith, put 7-8 guys in the box, and force them to make a play?  It's Fox's fault, to a degree, that they had ____ for personnel on O, but given what they had, ANY offensive coordinator--even Norv Turner or Mike Martz -- would be calling the same plays.  (Witness: Martz in Chicago and SF)

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