Shula gets Panthers' OC job; Proehl, Rodgers promoted
The Panthers have promoted quarterbacks coach Mike Shula to offensive coordinator, a source with knowledge of the situation said Friday.
Shula, 47, is expected to continue to coach Cam Newton and the rest of the team's quarterbacks. He replaces Rob Chudzinski, who left last week to become Cleveland's head coach.
The Panthers also promoted two other assistant coaches. Assistant receivers coach Ricky Proehl will take over for fired receivers coach Fred Graves, and interim special teams coordinator Richard Rodgers will run the special teams.
Rodgers, the assistant special teams coach last season, took over the unit in November after Brian Murphy was fired.
The moves leave Panthers coach Ron Rivera with two openings for position coaches – linebackers and running backs. Former Panthers running back coach Jim Skipper is in Charlotte today interviewing for his old position, according to a source.
The Panthers also have a vacancy for an offensive quality control coach after Scott Turner joined Chudzinski in Cleveland.
Shula was one of three candidates to interview with Panthers coach Ron Rivera and general manager Dave Gettleman. The Panthers also talked to former Browns coach Pat Shurmur and Cincinnati assistant coach Hue Jackson, the former Oakland head coach.
The hiring of Shula allows the Panthers to continue running the offensive system installed by Chudzinski – a mix of a vertical passing attack and a zone-read package that takes advantage of Newton's running ability.
Newton ran for 741 yards last season to become the first quarterback to lead his team in rushing since Donovan McNabb in 2000. Newton broke Peyton Manning's rookie passing record and was the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011 in first season working with Shula.
Shula, a former Alabama quarterback who coached the Crimson Tide from 2003-06, has 21 years of NFL coaching experience.
But his only previous stint as an offensive coordinator was a struggle. When Shula ran Tampa Bay's offense from 1996-99, the Buccaneers never finished higher than 22nd in total offense.
When the Bucs advanced to the NFC championship game in 1999, Shula's offense – with Shaun King at quarterback – was 28th in total offense.