After last season, Duce Staley left the Detroit Lions for the same position on Frank Reich's new staff with the Carolina Panthers. It was a lateral move in terms of title (assistant head coach/running backs coach), but done for a totally understandable reason related to his aging mother.
On Monday morning, after the Panthers' loss to the Tennessee Titans to drop them 1-10 on the season, Reich was fired. As is common with interim head coaches, because they work with all the players, special teams coach Chris Tabor was named interim head coach for the rest of the season.
That Staley was not elevated to interim head coach was a little interesting, and perhaps a sign. Later on Monday, that sign became action when Staley, along with quarterbacks coach Josh McCown, was also fired. The team is making it sound like Tabor made those decisions as he shapes his "new" coaching staff.
The Panthers have the fourth-lowest scoring offense in the NFL this season (15.7 points per game), and they're third-worst in yards per game (265.9). So it makes a level of sense to clean out coaches on that side of the ball, but what it accomplishes in-season is questionable.
Duce Staley among those getting raw deal for Panthers' ineptitude
Carolina is 29th in rushing offense so far this season (92.9 yards per game), and not much better in yards per carry (3.8). To some degree. those things are Staley's domain as the running backs coach.
But Carolina's offensive line is also awful, and it was easy to see the signing of running back Miles Sanders to a four-year, $25.4 million contract as a mistake when they did it last March. Chuba Hubbard has been the better back virtually all season. Maybe they could have made a better investment in other weapons around rookie quarterback Bryce Young without that big Sanders' expense.
Before Staley was officially fired by the Panthers, Mike Payton of AtoZ Sports wondered about a potential path for him to come back to the Lions. There are some moving parts there, but it isn't impossible to see.
It's very possible Staley openly asked owner Panthers' owner David Tepper why he wasn't elevated to interim head coach, and Tepper gave him a less than hospitable answer. It's doubtful that led to his being fired if it was already the plan upon firing Reich, but one way or another Staley should be glad to be out of the top-to-bottom mess that's in Carolina.