Thursday, January 10, 2013

Shula logical next step to replace Chudzinski

With the Thursday-night news that Rob Chudzinski will coach the Cleveland Browns next season, Carolina Panther head coach Ron Rivera has a very big decision to make. He needs a new offensive coordinator – someone who can shepherd the development of Cam Newton, manage the volatility of Steve Smith and figure out how to get all those running backs the right number of carries.

Unless Rivera can land a really big fish, however -- and it sounds like Norv Turner is going to join Chud in Cleveland -- the correct choice is already right in front of him: Mike Shula.

Shula, the Panthers’ current quarterbacks coach, knows Newton better than anyone left on the current staff. He has been an NFL offensive coordinator already (at Tampa Bay) and a college head coach and quarterback (at Alabama).

I’m not recommending Shula because of his famous father. Don Shula was a hall of famer and one of the all-time greats, but he has nothing to do with this. Mike Shula has done well on his own in Charlotte, and he’s ready for this promotion.

Plus, the Panthers could use some continuity on the coaching staff, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Rivera just fired the running backs coach and the wide receivers coach this week, so those jobs are about to turn over. Now Chudzinski – quite suddenly – is gone.

Shula is a calming and thoughtful presence on the sideline who was originally hired on Chudzinski’s recommendation (and because he has long had a reputation for nurturing young quarterbacks). I asked Shula once if he was satisfied being a quarterbacks coach with Carolina, since he has been on bigger stages many times before.

“I’ve said for the last 15 years,” Shula says, “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.”

Well, he can still be around the QBs if he gets this promotion. But unless Rivera has someone like Ken Whisenhunt stashed in his back pocket as a backup plan or the reports are wrong on Turner going to Ohio – then I think Shula is the logical next step for Carolina.

24 comments:

Big E said...

What do you think the likelihood of Norv Turner coming here is? And given his history as a head coach, do you think he can be successful again as an OC here?

Scott said...

makes sense to me, especially given turnover at RB and WR coaching. Heard Chud has Norv headed to Cleveland. we need some continuity.

Jason said...

Serious Scott? How do you get paid to write? Shula was horrible with tampa as their OC. He's a position coach plain and simple. I think Norv Turner would be ideal, but i hear that he and Rivera are not extremely close, despite having worked together before. I actually love the idea of Cam Cameron. He's been fantastic everywhere except baltimore. And i honestly believe a lot of that had to do with injuries to the receiving core and Flacco always making bonehead decisions until it's playoff time. Shula would be a huge mistake! I would even pay more for Scott Turner to stay and not leave with Chud before i'd even consider Shula. No thank you!

Anonymous said...

I hope they learn to run the ball and keep DeAngelo and Tolbert. The games the Panthers lost early in the season had the run game shut down. We need an Offensive Coordinator who will commit to run and we need draft choices on the offensive line to make it easy. Panthers need to cut injury prone Beason and Jonathan Stewart and others to get the salary cap down.

George Hanson said...

I believe Shula is out only choice and agree that some continuity is in order.

This whole deal has blown up in both Jerry and Rivera's faces, and Gettleman has been dealt a really lousy hand.

Jerry should have hired Gettleman and then dealt with Rivera. Given this development I think Rivera would (and should) have been let go.

I am not optimistic. We needed to clear the decks this week, keeping Rivera only delays the deck clearing by a year. Maybe in the long run that will be blessing.

Anonymous said...

Mike Shula has been living off his father's name his whole career. He was not good as a player or a coach , if Revier promotes him he should start packing his bags now. This guy is a loser.

Anonymous said...

Why is Shula the logical step. To continue on a mediocre path for the future then yes. Or is it the Observer writers ALWAYS play it safe with hometown folks. Geez give me a break.

The logical choice is Whisenhunt. He proved with the Steelers to be a very effective OC and Cam is in ways like Big Ben. Turner would be my second choice but it is time to quit building this team based on friends and family and start putting rock solid individual pieces together.

Shula, I knew you would report that.

Anonymous said...

I like the Mike Shula choice. Norv has proven many times he's basically average. Sorry Norv, you're played.

Carey Head said...

As a life-long Alabama fan, I had a strong reaction to this. Please don't get me wrong, Mike Shula came into a terrible program: beset by scandals, directionless, leaderless in the middle of the year. He recruited well and left the program a stockpile of talent and a sense of integrity it needed so badly.

Likewise, his work with Cam has been nothing short of extraordinary (says someone who expected to be the second coming of Akili Smith).

My concern with Shula as an OC is his game-day coaching skills. In the big games of his career, he seemed to lack the awareness or creativity to make subtle (or not-so-subtle) adjustments to the game plan to account for the way the game was actually playing out.

Consider the 2006 Arkansas game, where he allowed an obviously shell shocked Leigh Tiffin to attempt the overtime XP after missing 3 of 4 FG in regulation.

Do we really want to go back to those halcyon Dan Henning days of "3rd and Draw"? Because — based on past experience — that's the kind of offense you could expect.

Mark said...

No Shula - that move sets the offense back in a major way. He's decent where he is as a QB coach but doesn't have the chops to move up.

Anonymous said...

How much sway would a GM have towards one of the coordinator positions?

Mike PSL said...

How does Scott Fowler continue to get a paycheck? UNC diploma? Shula will not be the pick, terrible idea.

Anonymous said...

Given the negative comments on Shula movin' to OC, I'm sure you guys MUST be better coaches right? With a few phone calls, I bet ol' Jerry would be glad to set up some scrimmage games to see if any of you could do better. If ya can, I'd say he'd hire ya, but if ya just wanna run your mouths about something you can't do, and haven't done, then just zip your yap. The Panthers got rid of the worse 3 things they had for FAR too long....Hurney, Fox and Delhome, so quit expectin' your non expertise to decide who the next OC should be. Let the dust settle and deal with a guy who knows the team, especially the QB. I'd be fine with seein' how Shula would perform as OC for a season. If he can't cut it, THEN let him go. I dunno, but I kinda like to give people at least a chance, and like I said, if any of ya think you can do better, I'm sure Jerry would like to see it and maybe someday YOU will be in the Hall of Fame The comments on continuity I totally agree with, because in the earlier days of the Panthers, LACK of continuity was exactly their problem. The guys on the team and/or coaching staff never had time to gel and be a cohesive group, so they got the boot except Hurnery. Ok, so now he's finally gone(there must be a god afterall) we've got a new coach, new and potentially great QB and other players(Steve Smith gets a nod and a wink for hanging in there when the team basically sucked all around, but he stayed because somewhere he saw and felt potential). Do the same, and support 'em, or apply for the OC job yourself.

Anonymous said...

Norv Turner as an OC would be a great choice. Felt like he has always been a good OC but a terrible head coach. No way you go with Shula. He was dogged pretty bad when he was under Tony Dungy at Tampa Bay as his only NFL offensive coordinator job and eventually was fired too.

Anonymous said...

Chud wants to call his own plays in Cleveland. That is what all the articles in the Plain Dealer are saying. I can't see Norv Turner taking an OC position with a rookie head coach without play calling responsibility. Charlotte would be a much better spot for Norv than Cleveland. Rivera needs to start selling Norv now.

Oscar Harward said...

Each NFL “Division” champion usually has at least one “dominating” Offensive or Defensive line. Charlotte Panthers has never had either of that “dominating” line(s). In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Green Bay was very dominant on both sides; Defense and Offense. In later years, and especially during the Quarterback Daryle Lamonica years, the Oakland Raiders totally dominated on the Offensive line for a passing Quarterback.

Under the Charlotte Panthers leadership of Linebacker Sam Mills and later former linebacker and Coach Sam Mills as well as during the Julius Peppers years, the Panthers did show some “dominance” on the Defensive side.

Positively speaking, the Charlotte Panthers are showing some acts of “dominance” under the Quarterback “leadership” and football “abilities” of Cam Newton.

John D said...

I say take a serious look at Malrkey. He was a very strong coordinator prior to going to Jax. He really wasn't dealt a very good hand there and was let go to early.

Anonymous said...

Cam Cameron would be a good fit. He's been part of 100 wins in 10 years as NFL offensive coordinator. He's had three top-five scoring offenses, including No. 1. 9 of this 11 years as an NFL coach his offenses have been in the top half of the league. I think even more impressively is that he's done that with starting quarterbacks (Brees, Rivers, Flacco) who averaged 3.2 years of NFL experience when he had them.

I know he's kind of become a punch line w/ Ray Rice not getting touches but Rice has the second most carries in the NFL since the beginning of the 2010 season. He also had Tomlinson in San Diego.

He's not going to throw the ball all over the yard but his offenses always take care of the ball. Baltimore set franchise records for most points and fewest turnovers this year.

I think Baltimore just banged on the door so often and couldn't break through and he became the easy target. They were one dropped Lee Evans pass away from going to the Super Bowl last season.

If I had criticisms of Cam Cameron, I don't think he's a great in-game play caller but he consistently puts together offenses that are very solid and that in San Diego were special.

Shane P said...

What's Dan Henning up to these days?

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, I think that losing Chud is a blessing. Reason 1: We can find a coord. That will acually use its best players on offence. I would like to see a power running game, play action, and a screen game in tandem to the downfield attacking style we have now. Reason 2: Ron and new g.m. can focus on how to build this team without Chud getting in the way. And Ron can reinvent himself a little bit because he is the man now. I think he listened to Chud too much. And reason 3: With the maturation of Cam and the "want to" from these players...plus a new offence (no tape) We could start fast and do well next season. To me the future looks bright.

Anonymous said...

The panthers have the dumbest fan base in the history of sports.

Anonymous said...

All, keep in mind as OC in Tampa, Shula worked with Dilfer and Shaun King, both descent, but not what I would consider a blue print to success as an OC. It's simple, Rivera's on the hot seat, and needs success...you can't do this in one season by going 180deg from what worked. Cam is a franchise QB, the Panthers have descent backs, OL, and WRs to have success. In Shula We Trust!
PS. How did Norv Turner do with Phillip Rivers over the last two years....really a set up?

Anonymous said...

Jeff Davidson is available.

We are screwed; I agree with George Hanson, just blow the whole thing up and start over (including Ron R).

dcboy60 said...

I agree with the commenter who said Chud leaving was a blessing in disguise. He never figured out how to use the talented running backs the Panthers have until the end of the season. Shula might be a good choice. I think he would use the running game in a way that would be more productive and keep Cam out of harms way. Turner was an excellent OC. He has always been an average to mediocre Head Coach. Whisenhunt and Cam Cameron may all be good choices. I think they need to get away from the read option. Only use it every now and then. They need to get back to a more power based running game with play action off of that. I don't think the West Coast offense is a good fit for Cam. I think the offense they have, the present day version of Air Coryell is a good fit for Cam. Norv Turner's version of it included alot of running. Look at Emmitt Smith and Ladainian Tomlinson and what they have done with this offense. It is what I expected with Chud, but it never happened.