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NFL Carolina Panthers

Mike Shula Didn’t Elevate Cam Newton as QBs Coach, Why Will OC Stint Be Any Different?

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports


In 2011 Cam Newton came into the league like a firestorm and set everything in his path ablaze. He set numerous rookie records and had the Carolina Panthers looking like they were a team to be taken seriously in the future. That was before he got “coached”.

Then 2012 came; the Panthers started the season 2-8, and everyone was coming down on Cam – including Cam Newton.

The person charged with the development of a quarterback isn’t the head coach and it isn’t the offensive coordinator, although both do play somewhat of a role. The person with the closest relationship to a young quarterback is his quarterbacks coach, and for the first two years of Cam Newton’s NFL career, his quarterbacks coach was Mike Shula.

The Panthers announced today that Shula was being promoted to fill the vacant offensive coordinator position, which means that he’ll still have some say in how Cam Newton plays and what plays he will run.

My question is this – why does this guy keep getting chances?

I guess having a name that is a legacy can do that for you.

Shula has been an unmitigated failure in just about every prominent position he’s held. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired him as their offensive coordinator when the Bucs finished no higher than 22nd in total offense during his tenure. He was so bad as the QBs coach of the Miami Dolphins that they laughably appointed Cam Cameron as the head coach instead of the son of the greatest coach in team history–whom they interviewed…twice.

The deer-in-the-headlights Shula nearly ruined a University of Alabama program as their head coach (I know Crimson Tide fans are just trying to block those years from their memory), and he was completely ineffective as the QBs coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

All Shula has done for the last two seasons in Carolina is turn a promising young star quarterback into a self-doubting pile of nerves. It’s safe to say that Newton’s maturity and attitude have actually regressed to some degree under Shula’s *ahem* watchful eye. So yeah, I guess the old adage of rewarding incompetence with promotion actually holds true.

Not only will the Panthers offense not gain any steam under Shula, but it’s a sure bet that this year’s 7-9 mark might not even be matched next season. I’d keep my DVR cued up during any Panthers games next season, as the chances of seeing some sort of Newton-Shula altercation on the sidelines is probably good.

It was rumored the Panthers were looking at both Pat Shurmur and Hue Jackson to fill the OC job, and either of those guys would have been imminently more qualified than the over-hyped Shula. Were I a Panthers fan, I’d be pretty upset with the new regime right now.

The rest of the NFC South, especially the Atlanta Falcons, must be dancing jigs of giggling joy at this point, because two sure-fire wins just got notched on their schedules for the 2013 season.


Michael Collins is a Rant Sports NFL Network Manager, and Atlanta sports columnist. Follow him @GaSportsCraze on Twitter and here on Facebook