The Carolina Panthers dropped to 1-5 with a loss Sunday that especially troubled quarterback Cam Newton, who said, “Something’s going to have to change real fast.”

Something changed quickly Monday, when owner Jerry Richardson announced that General Manager Marty Hurney had been relieved of his duties in what he said “was an extremely difficult decision.”

Although Hurney wasn’t on the field coming up short in the final minutes of winnable games, he said Sunday (via, “I’m responsible for that [record]. The organization, Mr. Richardson, the fans deserve better.”

Newton presumably was speaking of the team’s effort, rather than Hurney when he said after the Panthers’ 19-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys:

“The past couple of games have been the same script, by the same director,” Newton said. “It’s kind of getting boring. This taste, this vibe — I’m not buying it, man. And I don’t know what it is, but something’s going to have to change. Something’s going to have to change real fast.”

Hurney, a former Washington Times and Star sportswriter, had been with the Panthers since 1998 and had been the general manager since 2002. The Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler wrote that it was time for Hurney to go.

Probably past time, in fact. Hurney has shepherded a team that has gone 9-29 since the start of the 2010 season — an NFL-worst record during that period. Richardson’s stated goal has long been for the Panthers to post back-to-back winning seasons. They have never done that and have started this season 1-5. Hurney had publicly taken the blame for that start.
The end of Hurney’s tenure likely came about because of a characteristic most would think of as a positive — unquestioned loyalty. Over and over, Hurney signed players to enormous contracts that he had drafted and/or acquired and who had been part of occasionally decent but often bad Panther teams.

Hurney told Observer columnist Tom Sorensen earlier this month: “I’m a better general manager today than when we went to the Super Bowl or we went to the NFL championship or we went 12-4. I know more. But the bottom line is the record is not good enough, it’s unacceptable.”

He wasn’t the only one taking the blame for the team’s dismal start.