When the Panthers replaced offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski with quarterbacks coach Mike Shula, the obvious message was that the team wanted stability on offense.
Coach Ron Rivera made it official. Rivera said that the play of quarterback Cam Newton over the second half of the season, when he threw 13 touchdowns and four interceptions, was the deciding factor in the decsion to go with Shula instead of an outside candidate.
“That was it. Mike was with (the other candidates) step-for-step in terms of offensive thinking and planning and strategy. But the bottom line is familiarity with who we are as a football team,” Rivera said, via the Associated Press. “You also have to be concerned (with a new coordinator) with how much of what you do will he use and how much of what he’s done in the past will he add? The thing I felt like we needed to do was stick to what we did down the stretch, refine those things and, in some cases, correct the things we had problems with. Listening to Mike, if we were going to add something it was going to be in line with what we’ve done in the past.”
Rivera might not have had much choice heading into what’s surely a make-or-break season, but he’s wound up doubling down on what the team’s done before. If it doesn’t work, he certainly can’t complain he didn’t get a shot to do things with his guys.