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January 22, 2013

Shula excited to be a coordinator again


During his final year as Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator in 1999, Mike Shula coached a pair of proven running backs in Mike Alstott and Warrick Dunn and a rookie quarterback in Shaun King.

Despite finishing 28th in the league in total offense, the Bucs came within a game of the Super Bowl.

Fourteen years later, Shula is an offensive coordinator again after the Panthers promoted him last week. He inherits a veteran running back corps featuring DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert.

Instead of a rookie quarterback, Shula has a franchise quarterback – the same one he's worked with the past two seasons: Cam Newton.

“I'm excited because number one, our quarterback,” Shula said Tuesday following the first of two Senior Bowl practices. “And I'm excited because of the guys that we're coaching.”

Shula, 47, said his offense will resemble the one Rob Chudzinski ran for two years before becoming Cleveland's coach. But Shula, the former Alabama quarterback and head coach, wants to put his own stamp on it.

“I think we're going to try to keep all the good stuff,” Shula said, laughing. “There's going to be a lot that's going to look similar. But there's going to be other things that we'll continue to throw around in the offseason.”

Shula said he was proud of the way the players ended the season after a tough start. The Panthers won five of their last six games to finish 7-9 and in second place in the NFC South, enough to keep Ron Rivera in Charlotte another year and get Chudzinski hired in Cleveland.

Shula said the key is continuing to find new ways to utilize Newton, who enjoyed the best stretch of his two-year career over the second half of last season.

“Obviously, we want to make things as best we can to allow our quarterback to play fast. And I think he's playing faster,” Shula said. “I'm more excited about him now than I was this time last year.”

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on January 22, 2013 at 02:36 PM | Permalink


Best way to let Cam "play fast", keep handing it to 34, 28 and 35. Any coincidence we controlled the games where we gave them the ball? I think not.

Posted by: Swizzle52 | Jan 22, 2013 4:01:23 PM

I agree with Swizzle, you gotta hand the ball off to those running backs more. I think they realized that half way through the season and that's why we started winning games. Shula is gonna do just that though because he's an old school kind of guy. I expect more traditional I-formation plays, lots of quick strike throws like slants and bringing the slot receiver across the middle. I'm actually really excited about next season

Posted by: El | Jan 22, 2013 4:17:21 PM

i agree with ran the ball. play action. draft O line help. I like c warmack , alabama

Posted by: mmotley510 | Jan 22, 2013 4:35:04 PM

Either pick up a strong guard, or pick up a tackle and move Bell inside.
Either way, expect a lot of power running with occasional (2-3 per quarter) read option and vertical play action passes.
WITH the right O-Line ... smash mouth football.

Posted by: criolle johnny | Jan 22, 2013 5:00:56 PM

Go with the San Fran blue print.

We definitely have the QB in Cam.

He needs help and a much better game plan to work with.

Posted by: Clay | Jan 22, 2013 5:09:56 PM

That is why he is so excited because there is an option read quarter back who lead his team to the Super Bowl versus the Ravens. Every coach and owner will be stoked to have a player/quarter back as such moving forward--copy-cat-league. Too bad all the bad talk about Cam and look what we have. WE HAVE CAM. Cam is and will forever be the blue print ask Shannahan, J. Harbaugh, Carroll and many more to come. Get right PANTHERS. Get Cam more and more protection, top reciever to go along Smith and get fast and smart defenders on defense and that can play special teams and we will be well on our way!!! GO PANTHERS!!!

Posted by: BofA Fan | Jan 22, 2013 7:22:54 PM

If one of the top OT's is available in the 1st round the Panthers need to take him. It's time to spend a top pick on the OL. Continue to improve Panthers running game and it will allow Cam to contine improving and not have to do it all with his arm and legs. That is how we improve our record next year.

Posted by: BG | Jan 22, 2013 7:47:05 PM

I'd like to see another WR and utilization of the TE position.

Posted by: Tony | Jan 23, 2013 9:49:25 AM

You must run the ball, Panthers would have been playoff bound had they done that, how many games did they have the lead going into the 4th quarter?? It's no secret the last 4 teams left standing this past weekend, could run the ball.

Posted by: Tony | Jan 23, 2013 9:50:51 AM

I agree with sizzle52 and El, feed those running backs and then go to play action. Mix in a little read option but stick to the power running game and play off of that. I also believe Shula will be more inclined to play it that way. Chud never figured out how to use our high priced running backs properly. When the Panthers stopped using the read option exclusively for the running game and started using more traditional running plays they took off. I did not realize Shula had coached Alstott and Dunn. That experience should serve him well here with the running backs he has or whoever is going to be left next year.

Posted by: dcboy60 | Jan 23, 2013 1:43:21 PM

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