Cam Newton and the Panthers offense will have a new set of eyes directing the offense in 2018. The Panthers announced Friday that they have hired Norv Turner as their new offensive coordinator. Turner and Rivera reunite on the same staff for the first time since they were together back in San Diego.
Rivera and his staff fired Mike Shula the former offensive coordinator Tuesday morning after he said he wanted a “new perspective.”
Shula was a very good play designer and put together creative offensive gameplans, but his inability to make in-game adjustments and bad situational-play calling questioned his job in Carolina. Shula was promoted in 2013 after Rob Chudzinksi took over as offensive coordinator in Cleveland.
The Panthers offensive ranks this past season under Shula were 19th in total offense, 4th in rushing yards per game and 28th in passing yards per game.
Norv Turner has had a career in the NFL for 33 years and has coached in Oakland, Washington, San Diego and Minnesota.
Some of Carolina’s current weapons on offense are similar to what Turner had in San Diego. Specifically with Darren Sproles and Christian McCaffrey. Turner incorporates his running backs into the passing game and McCaffrey excels in that part of his game. McCaffrey in his rookie season, was the first rookie running back in NFL history to have 80 receptions and 5 touchdowns.
Devin Funchess is a big-body receiver that can post up players with his large frame and is a crisper route runner than his fellow receiver Kelvin Benjamin. Curtis Samuel is a speedy 4.3 guy that can find soft spots in zone coverages and is a great vertical threat for Newton. And of course the Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen.
Turner likes to throw the ball down the field vertically and Rivera thinks this will fit well with Cam Newton. “This offense is pretty much going to continue with what we do and how we do it. We’ll just have a different guy with a different set of eyes and different perspective calling plays and making those decisions.” Rivera said. (H/t Panthers.com)
Turner’s system is similar to what the Panthers ran under Mike Shula. “It matches with the philosophy that I’ve grown up in,” Rivera said. “You run the football, you’re physical as a running team, but then you take your shots with hard play action. It’s OK to throw the ball downfield and see how things unfold.” (h/t Panthers.com)
Turner’s passing concepts certainly are a good fit with Cam Newton in which Turner likes to push the ball down the field. With Newton’s rare arm-strength and his ability to get the ball to any part of the field it’s possible that Turner can maximize Newton’s talents and his strengths as a passer.
Next year the Panthers will get back 2017 second round pick Curtis Samuel after he was placed on IR with a leg injury. He was a missing piece that Carolina’s passing game missed down the stretch of this past season. Damiere Byrd, another speedster they will get back also coming off of IR.
With a fully healthy set of weapons for the Panthers in 2018, they are more than capable of making some noise once again in the NFC South. Turner will try to elevate the Panthers passing attack and return Newton to MVP form.