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September 04, 2013

Steve Smith: Offense suffered while Chudzinski campaigned for coaching job

Several players on the Carolina Panthers' offense have held their tongues when asked their thoughts on former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski

Not Steve Smith.

The 11th-year wide receiver told Seattle reporters on a teleconference Wednesday that the Panthers' offense struggled at times last year because Chudzinski, the first-year Cleveland Browns head coach, was campaigning for a head coaching job.

"The prior offensive coordinator really was positioning himself to just apply for that head coaching job,” said Smith, according to Terry Blount of ESPN.com. "I think our offense suffered little bit because of that.

"At times, we got cute," Smith said. "We did things that weren’t necessarily us, like the under-utilizing of [fullback] Mike Tolbert. But we’re out of that. The past is the past."

Coaches said Tolbert would be more of an H-back last season, but instead the fullback had just 183 rushing yards, his least since 2009, and just 27 catches for 268 yards.

Despite the offense's struggles, they did finish in the top 12 of the NFL in each of Chudzinski's two years as the Panthers' play caller. Carolina set a franchise record for net yards in 2011 (6,237) and followed it up last year with the team's second-highest mark (5,771).

Mike Shula is now the Panthers' offensive coordinator, and it's still unclear what the offense's identity will be in 2013. There's been a renewed emphasis on the running game, but it, along with the rest of the first-team offense, struggled in the preseason.

Carolina didn't open its playbook during exhibition games, so what plays the team will run them have yet to be determined.

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on September 4, 2013 at 04:03 PM | Permalink


We will know a lot more come Sunday. I would love to see a move back to a run first team. That is what we are built to do well. I am not so sure that the issue is not with the starting QB and not so much the OC. Cam seems to enjoy playing well and loosing to reduced stats and wins. Prove me wrong!

Posted by: NowDoit | Sep 4, 2013 4:40:30 PM

Thanks Jonathan and Joe, after two days of nothing, in the first week of the season, you finally post/write something. Congrats!

Posted by: Steven | Sep 4, 2013 4:40:42 PM

If don't include Armanti Edwards being used as a QB at some point Good Luck!

Posted by: Hoke Buck | Sep 4, 2013 4:43:13 PM

Hoke Buck you must be smoking crack!!! Joking or something!!!

Posted by: Go Panthers!!! | Sep 4, 2013 5:05:04 PM

Ha, Armanti beat Meechigan don't you know? ;)

Posted by: Me | Sep 4, 2013 5:09:54 PM

Don't think OC was the main issue last year. Will be surprised if Shula can improve on the numbers under Chud. Typical Smitty whining.

Posted by: John Fox | Sep 4, 2013 5:11:17 PM

I think the Panthers do need to run the ball more - and I think that is all Steve was saying. Our line had something to do with the lack of running - but in the last game they clearly finally found a groove... Let's hope that carried over.

Posted by: Dom | Sep 4, 2013 5:19:00 PM

I want to see Smith take some punts, like back in the day. Give him the ball.

Posted by: big gulps | Sep 4, 2013 5:24:04 PM

You want to see our best playmaker on IR by week 3 ??? Returning punts ? Y'all are all on that rock.

Posted by: Elliot | Sep 4, 2013 6:25:49 PM

I sure hope Gettleman knows what he is doing.

Posted by: Smitty | Sep 4, 2013 6:42:49 PM

Steven couldn't agree more, Partimers.

Shulas playcalling did make me nervous during preseason somewhat... that was some serious "vanilla" play calling.

Posted by: 10-4!! | Sep 4, 2013 7:10:36 PM

Carolina "best running teams" all went to the playoffs and even the Superbowl. I think the time has come because when Steven Davis and DeAngelo ran over 1000 yards we were untouchable. I think we need an OT that is great in run blocking!

Posted by: Panther 4life | Sep 4, 2013 7:10:53 PM

Panthers cant run the ball unless the OL is going to open some holes!!!

Posted by: Go Panthers!! | Sep 4, 2013 8:07:25 PM

Excuses excuses...

While he's seriously hamstrung by having Boone's Farm Jer at the helm, if anyone can get this capsized ship back above water it's Dave Gettleman -- but it's gonna take some time, prepare for another losing season.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Sep 5, 2013 2:23:09 AM

Bank of America Stadium. Let us show the world our 12th Man come Sunday! Turnt up!!! GO PANTHERS!!!

Posted by: BofAFan | Sep 5, 2013 2:35:32 AM

Personally, I thought the same thing Steve is talking about. Chud was showing off his expertise as an innovative offensive coordinator when the Panthers should have been doing more downhill running early last season. When they did that later in the season the offense performed much better. Steve is just being honest.

Posted by: dcboy60 | Sep 5, 2013 7:08:04 AM

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