This is scary. The Carolina Panthers keep doing exactly what I want them to do so far this offseason, so I’m guessing a 2-14 season is right around the corner in 2013.
I’m joking about the 2-14…. but seriously? I’m used to the Panthers not taking my advice (and I’m sure they didn’t this time either, that it was just a coincidence). But I a couple of weeks ago I wrote that Ron Rivera should be kept by owner Jerry Richardson for at least one more year, and he was. And then when Rob Chudzinski became Cleveland’s head coach I wrote that Mike Shula should be promoted to offensive coordinator, and according to our beat writer Joseph Person’s sources, he just was.
Shula was the right choice given who the Panthers had to choose from, and he understands Cam Newton’s talents and idiosyncrasies better than anyone else after having been his quarterback coach the past two years. There are many who point to Shula’s bad record as a head coach at Alabama and unimpressive numbers as Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator as reasons he should not get this job, but I think he’s the right guy.
Shula is a calm presence. He played the position in college. He will be far more creative than you are guessing he will be, because he’s got Newton as his quarterback now and not Shaun King.
Shula told me once: “I’ve said for the last 15 years -- that as long as I’m around the QBs, I really don’t care if I’m quarterbacks coach or the coordinator or the head coach. I played the position, and there’s something about coaching it that is so challenging and exciting.”
He’s got the challenge of a coaching lifetime now – a young quarterback who should be entering his prime that is going to make him or break him as an OC. Good luck to him – I think he will do just fine.