According to Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith, former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who is now the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, was calling plays in order to get a head coaching job, rather than using the Panthers’ weapons to win games.
“The prior offensive coordinator really was positioning himself to just apply for that head coaching job,” Smith said Wednesday on a conference call with Seattle Seahawks reporters, via ESPN’s Terry Blount. “I think our offense suffered a little bit because of that.”
Outside of Smith, the Panthers lacked talented wide receivers, so Chudzinski often used Cam Newton to run option plays and Smith believes several talented players were ignored.
“At times, we got cute,” Smith told reporters. “We did things that weren’t necessarily us, like the underutilizing of Mike Tolbert. But we’re out of that. The past is the past.”
Former Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Mike Shula was the Panthers’ quarterbacks coach last year and was promoted to offensive coordinator. Smith believes Shula will “change things up” and says “he has so far.”
“He just does little different things,” Smith said. “Some of it looks small, but we’re focusing more on the details, and that’s the difference.”