As the Carolina Panthers prepare for their week one matchup with the NFC powerhouse Seattle Seahawks, some players are getting a bit too excited and worked up over the fact that football is finally here. Of course, you can’t talk about the Panthers without mentioning often-outspoken wide receiver Steve Smith.
Smith was on a conference call with Seahawks reporters this week when he began speaking about last season and why they were not consistent on offense. Smith went on to talk about his then-offensive coordinator Rob Chudzkinski who is now the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
“The prior offensive coordinator [Chudzinski] really was positioning himself to just apply for that head coaching job,” Smith said. “I think our offense suffered a little bit because of that.”
Smith said that he didn’t think Chudzinski played to the Panthers’ strengths very much and may have gotten away from what they do best.
“At times, we got cute. 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,” Smith emphasized.
The team’s new offensive coordinator, Mike Shula, knows the team and the roster well. He is their former quarterbacks coach and now has the reigns of the offense — Smith likes that fact.
“I think Coach Shula is going to change things up, and he has so far,” Smith said. “He just does little different things. Some of it looks small, but we’re focusing more on the details, and that’s the difference.”
Keeping Smith happy is a good thing. He’s not a guy you want to upset or cross the wrong way. Fortunately, for Carolina, Smith seems to like where the offense is heading under Shula. Hopefully the Panthers can finally get that running game going like it should have been utilized last season and take that next step toward a division title.