Steve Smith: Chudzinski was calling plays to get a new job

AP

The Panthers were often more creative than effective on offense last year.

And Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said he thinks that’s because former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski was more interested in getting a promotion than using the resources he had to their fullest. If he did, it worked, as Chudzinski’s now the head coach in Cleveland.

“The prior offensive coordinator [Chudzinski] really was positioning himself to just apply for that head coaching job,” Smith said during a conference call with Seattle reporters, via Terry Blount of ESPN.com. “I think our offense suffered a little bit because of that.”

When Chudzinski walked into Carolina in 2011, he had a set of personnel which included a stable of talented backs, one great deep threat in Smith and a good one in Brandon LaFell, a solid tight end in Greg Olsen and a young quarterback in Cam Newton who throws a good deep ball.

But the Panthers leaned too heavily toward the read-option game with Newton at times, and had more success when head coach Ron Rivera dialed back some of the versatility in the second half of last year. Expect them to stay more traditional under new offensive coordinator Mike Shula.

“At times, we got cute,” Smith said. “We did things that weren’t necessarily us, like the underutilizing of [running back] Mike Tolbert. But we’re out of that. The past is the past. . . .

“I think Coach Shula is going to change things up, and he has so far. He just does little different things. Some of it looks small, but we’re focusing more on the details, and that’s the difference.”

While it remains to be seen if Shula’s the right man for the job, it’s obvious that Chudzinski might not have been. Smith is a passionate player, and has traded in blunt honesty for other means of expressing himself in recent years.

So while Chudzinski’s motivations might be subject to debate, the results indicate that Smith’s got a point, even if it wasn’t expressed in time.

45 responses to “Steve Smith: Chudzinski was calling plays to get a new job

  1. Man, does any team have more excuses than the Panthers? Try harder, do better.

  2. I’ve been an NFL fan since 1978, and this is the first time I’ve ever heard of a coordinator specifically calling plays with a job application in mind. That said, I also know that Steve Smith is one of the most forthright players in all of football. … I believe him.

  3. Steve Smith has been a loudmouth for years. He’s always carping and griping about something. Big mouth, small stones, methinks. He waited for Chud to leave town before panning him. Nothing to see here, folks. Move on.

  4. Everyone knew the Pink Panthers would fail when their idiot center put out a newspaper ad saying that they are headed to the Super Bowl.

    Thanks Kalil, just snap the ball and try not to get blown up.

  5. “But the Panthers leaned too heavily toward the read-option game with Newton at times, and had more success when head coach Ron Rivera dialed back some of the versatility in the second half of last year. Expect them to stay more traditional under new offensive coordinator Mike Shula.”

    Translation –

    Cam didn’t understand the playbook.

  6. I don’t get it. What is Smith saying? How could doing a poor job of play-calling help him get a head coaching job?

  7. steve tells it like it is, and anyone who watched the panthers last year knows that chudzinski was going about it the wrong way. there is no excuse for cam being the leading rusher on a team with d’angelo williams, jonathan stewart (for 9 games), and mike tolbert in the backfield.

  8. Pretzel logic at its finest… The reality is Steve is over the hill, LaFell is an average talent at best, poor run blocking offensive line. No secondary and an atrocious run D. Chud attempted to maximize their offensive talents, and they had a decent second half of the season. Steve must be frustrated that he didn’t get a chance to assault a teammate this offseason… Horrible spin job – you guys just are not that good.

  9. Professional athletes are asked innumerable questions on almost a daily basis, and they have an obligation to interact with the media to a degree. I understand this rationale when a player is talking like an idiot, but it seems to be wildly popular for fans to react to any statement made by a player with a ” Just shut up and play!” type of attitude. We all know that it is the player’s duty to perform well on the field, but does this waive that person’s right to speak freely like the rest of us?

    Again, if someone is talking like their head is stuck up inside their rear end…than by all means “just shut up and play,” but this statement is too often and too easily thrown around at everyone all the time.

  10. “…former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski was more interested in getting a promotion ….”

    Well, some would say he failed to attain that objective.

  11. Wasn’t Chud running the same offense in 2011 when they went from last in offense the prior year to 7th overall?

  12. This makes no sense what so ever. Think about it for a moment from Chud’s perspective. If he wants to get a head coaching job, how is the best way to do that? To win. You don’t call plays differently to try to get a head coaching job at the expense of winning. I don’t even know how that is possible.

    Steve Smith wanted the ball more and is going to throw someone under the bus for it not happening.

  13. Some people should not be allowed to talk. What Coordinator is not playing for a head coach job? What player is not playing to get a bigger contract? If you do good and win people notice if you don’t you can cry about it.

  14. You would have to put a gun to my head to make me go to Cleveland, even then I think I’d prefer the bullet.

  15. Smith is worried about Chud, yet his QB thinks he’s superman. Didn’t Chud have the 2007 Cleveland Browns offense ranked 7 or 8 and scored over 400 pts with Derek Anderson at QB? And didn’t Chud’s offense in Carolina rank 7 in 2011? Sometimes you just have to shake your head.

  16. Smith isn’t one to hold back his opinion if he believes he’s correct. You Browns fans should hope that he’s correct rather than slam him, because if he isn’t, then you may be in for a long season judging from his results in Carolina.

  17. I expect the panthers to do well in the offensive game. I think that they will be more effective than flashy. and that’s all that Steve Smith is saying, why does everyone have to hate. u don’t have to be a fan of a team say good things about them. panthers will do well this year, maybe jot playoffs but well

  18. Why are all these anti-Panther fans keeping up with the Panther page and generating so much hate for them? Must be fear that the Cats could be a force to be reckoned with this year. Either that or Brown fans that don’t want to admit that they bought a lemon!

  19. He’s right. I bet all Panthers fans miss the Pre Chud days when Smith was the star and they could look forward to having a top 3 draft pick.

    Sounds like he’s jealous of the attention Newton was getting for carrying the team.

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