Panthers quarterback Cam Newton‘s about to embark on his first NFL season without Mike Shula in some capacity, which will mean some more work for him as he learns new offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s system.
And he admitted to coach Ron Rivera that gave him pause, but in a good way.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he spoke briefly to his quarterback after Shula was fired and replaced by Turner, and that Newton recognized the historical implications.
“I had an opportunity to talk to him after we had hired Norv,” Rivera said. “I knew he was going to go in and meet with Norv and say hello, and I asked him, ‘How you doing?’ ‘Well Coach, I’m excited and nervous.’ I said, ‘What are you nervous about?’ He said, ‘Coach, think about what he’s done for Troy Aikman and those types of guys.’ So it was kind of cool to listen to the anticipation in his voice.”
They can say hello at this point, but it will be weeks before Turner’s allowed to get his hands on Newton and work on the new expectations, but Rivera said he’s hopeful for what it might mean for their offense.
“I think the biggest thing that Cam has to understand going into this is Norv’s not here to change him. Norv’s here to help him,” Rivera said. “That’s one of the things I know Cam got from that meeting with coach.
“It’s going to be different because Norv does things differently. So it’s going to be a challenge for him, but I know it’s one he wants.”
Shula was Newton’s quarterbacks coach his first two seasons, and was promoted to offensive coordinator when Rob Chudzinski left in 2013. They led the league in scoring and were 11th in yardage in 2015 en route to a 15-1 record and the Super Bowl, but ranked between 12th and 19th in scoring the other four years, and between 16th and 26th in total yardage.