Jim Harbaugh To The Carolina Panthers?

December 16, 2010 – 1:39 pm by Ryan Phillips

It seems like Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh is on every NFL team’s list of potential head coaching candidates. While we’ve largely ignored a lot of the speculation regarding Harbaugh, we do feel that this would be the best time for him to move on from Stanford, as his stock will never be higher and the team he has returning next season will certainly take a step back, especially if/when quarterback Andrew Luck declares for the NFL Draft.

One rumor regarding Harbaugh that is gaining steam makes a lot of sense to us. According to multiple sources he is “in play” as a candidate for the likely soon to be vacant Carolina Panthers job. Current Panthers coach John Fox is known to be on his way out, and his team carries a 1-12 record and has lost seven straight games.

If the Panthers continue on this course, they will end up with the worst record in the NFL and the No. 1 pick in the draft. From what we’ve heard, Harbaugh would love to sign up to coach Luck, his star pupil, for as long as possible. If he went to an NFL team he’d prefer it to be a spot where the team was willing to make a move to draft Luck, even if it means trading up for the No. 1 pick. With the Panthers, that likely wouldn’t be necessary.

Though Carolina drafted Jimmy Clausen to be its quarterback of the future in this year’s draft, the Notre Dame product has yet to show the stuff of a franchise quarterback. We’ve heard that Carolina’s brass has been disappointed with Clausen’s personality and his practice habits. Similar criticisms have dogged fellow Charlie Weis product Brady Quinn.

Clausen has played in 10 games this year and his numbers look terrible. He has completed 115-of-224 passes (51.3 percent), for 1,163 yards, with just one touchdown and seven interceptions. That puts his quarterback rating at 55.0.

Could Clausen turn it around? Certainly, but Luck will almost definitely be coming out and by all accounts he’s essentially the perfect quarterback. Whoever gets the No. 1 pick for April’s draft would be foolish not to take him, unless they’re convinced they have a franchise quarterback in their roster.

As we’ve said, Harbaugh’s stock will never be higher. He’s not a fool, he knows that. He knows that if he wants to move up, he’d be wise to do it now. I could see him taking any number of jobs, but Carolina seems to be an excellent fit, given the circumstances. If he doesn’t go after the Michigan job (which we’re not sure will be open or not), I could see him landing with the Panthers or the 49ers (again, if the job opens up).

If Carolina goes after Harbaugh aggressively, you’ve got to believe he’d take the job and the chance to continue Luck’s growth.

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  1. 10 Responses to “Jim Harbaugh To The Carolina Panthers?”

  2. I think he is a great fit for the Panthers. If they bring him in and draft Luck they will be in good shape moving forward.

    By Ed Avery on Dec 16, 2010

  3. Carolina is in need of a winning Coach and a new GM. Hurney did not do the job of drafting appropriately or John Fox would still be here. I believe there is a riff between the owner and Fox due to no contract extension and the decision to take away all the good players this year and that is why John Fox is leaving not because he is a bad coach. Good luck John! We need to hire a known winner and not gamble but without a new GM we are doomed no matter who the coach.

    By John Brannen on Dec 16, 2010

  4. If Carolina got Harbaugh out of the college ranks, it would be a huge coup for them. It would be fun to see him face off against his brother John, at some point, but I think it would be a shame if Jim left the college game.

    Also, I’m not sure Luck is exactly a “lock” to bolt from Stanford early. A few ESPN-types have said that an early departure for Luck is far from a done deal. Although, the kid is more than NFL ready, and has the brain and maturity to do it.

    By Alex Heacock on Dec 16, 2010

  5. As a panther fan myself i can say i couldnt be happier if they got Harbraugh and Luck, it would be a great step in the right direction for a franchise that needs help.

    By brad on Dec 16, 2010

  6. Harbaugh to Michigan is already a done deal…..it will be announced after the Furds Bowl game.

    By Greg on Dec 16, 2010

  7. I’m not defending Clausen…kind of like his offensive line.

    Carolina is so screwed up, though, that I don’t think even Luck will step in and have a Sam Bradford-like start. He’s a good quarterback and was taught the position under someone who actually, y’know, played football.

    If Carolina were to go after Luck and Harbaugh, that’d be good, but they still need offensive linemen and a decent receiver to counter Steve Smith and keep him from being double- and triple-covered. They also need to settle on a stud running back instead of running this two back deal that kills any momentum and rhythm in the offense.

    And, yeah, there’s been some bad feelings back and forth between Hurney and Fox for a while. I think some of the issues have also been revolving around questions about the ownership and all. What they really need is to get some sort of cohesion from the front office on down, and then maybe they can turn it around.

    Or not. I kind of enjoy watching the train wreck occur every week.

    By MJenks on Dec 17, 2010

  8. “..settle on a stud running back instead of this two back deal that kills any momentum and rhythym..”

    Are you kidding me? Have you even been paying attention the past few seasons? Smash & Dash. The Williams/Stewart duo was arguably the best running back tandem in the league just a couple of seasons ago.

    As far as recievers go, we don’t NEED a reciever to take the heat off Smith. Gettis & Lafell have shown a lot of potential and I think with a decent quarterback who’s capable of getting them the ball, they’ll be able to put up big numbers.

    By brad on Dec 17, 2010

  9. I’m tired of hearing about how Clausen is “terrible” and that Luck is going to be this B.A. QB for the Panthers. And this comment in this story: “Though Carolina drafted Jimmy Clausen to be its quarterback of the future in this year’s draft, the Notre Dame product has yet to show the stuff of a franchise quarterback.” It’s his first year, lets pull the numbers in Brett Favre’s rookie year, Troy Aikman’s, Drew Bledsoe and maybe others, and also lets compare those teams as far as O-line, Defense, etc.

    I don’t think, I know that Clausen is the perfect fit for this team, I promise that next year he’ll get better and then the year after that and so-forth. The problem with this writer as well as others is that they look at whats going on NOW and not a players potential.

    Carolina needs to take there #1 pick of the draft (if they get it) trade it for maybe a couple of O-line players, possibly a another veteran #2 receiver. Drafting Luck is not going to change how Carolina plays, that’s why i love football, it’s a TEAM sport.

    By Brian Crager on Dec 17, 2010

  10. Jimmy Clausen has only the potential in the world. It’s his bad attitude holding him back.

    By brad on Dec 17, 2010

  11. Wrong dude, Clausen has the worst stats from a rookie QB ever. Its just awful. They need some Luck.

    By homer on Dec 27, 2010

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