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Carolina Panthers Narrow Offensive Coordinator Search to Three Candidates

January 17th, 2013 at 10:10 PM
By Jesse Collin

According to a report by the Associated Press, the Carolina Panthers interviewed quarterbacks coach Mike Shula for the open offensive coordinator position on Wednesday.

Shula will join Former Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur and current Cincinnati Bengals assistant coach Hue Jackson as finalists for job, a source close to the team told the Charlotte Observer on Thursday.

Whoever is hired will have to fill the big shoes of Rob Chudzinski, who, ironically, took off to Cleveland to succeed the aforementioned Pat Shurmur as the Browns head coach.

'Brandon Jackson and Head Coach Pat Shurmur' photo (c) 2012, Erik Drost - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Shurmur, who was 9-23 during an uninspiring two-year tenure in Cleveland, was fired after this season. The 47-year-old has 12 years of NFL coaching experience, and is no stranger to Panthers head coach Ron Rivera. The two worked together for five years on Andy Reid's staff in Philadelphia from 1999-2003. However, Shurmur, who is known for running a West Coast Offense, will likely have to implement a new system if hired.

Although Hue Jackson spent this season with the Bengals, he is most known for his brief, but moderately successful tenure with the Oakland Raiders. In Jackson's only year as offensive coordinator in 2010, he transformed the NFL's second-worst offense into the 10th best. He was promoted to head coach in 2011, but was fired at the end of the year after an 8-8 finish.

Mike Shula would be the most convenient hire for the Panthers. He not only knows Cam Newton better than anyone else, but would also maintain an offensive system similar to the one the Panthers quarterback has grown comfortable in over the last two seasons. However, Shula hasn't been an offensive coordinator in more than a decade, and his track record as a play-caller isn't exactly impressive.

Tags: Carolina, Carolina Panthers, Football, Hue Jackson, Mike Shula, NFL, Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, Ron Rivera

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