After a week filled with reports that suggested the hiring was impending, the Carolina Panthers made it official on Friday when they announced that they've hired Norv Turner to be their new offensive coordinator. The 65-year-old coach, who landed his first offensive coordinator position way back in 1991 and has been a head coach at multiple points in his career,
His job? Get more out of Cam Newton, who hasn't been able to recreate his MVP-caliber of play from the 2015 season. When the Panthers fired Shula on Tuesday, Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that Newton has "room for growth" and that a "different perspective" was needed for the team to reach their goal of winning a Super Bowl.
"Looking at what they had done with Teddy Bridgewater in Minnesota, there are some similar styles in terms of the zone-read action, and then the prolific (passing) style going to three, five and seven-step drops," Rivera said, per the team's website. "But Cam is unique. He is his own player. I know he'll have Cam do what he does best, but I think his skill set will fit very nicely with what Coach Turner wants."
Rivera added that Turner's offensive philosophy matches his own.
"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."
Turner has been an offensive coordinator for 11 NFL seasons with the Cowboys, Chargers, Dolphins, 49ers, Browns, and Vikings, and he's been a head coach for 15 seasons with the Redskins, Raiders, and Chargers. His most recent gig came in Minnesota and
Turner has experienced a ton of success throughout his lengthy career, but as our Jared Dubin pointed out when the rumors first began flying earlier this week,
Here's a look at where Turner's offenses (head-coaching years marked with a star) have ranked in yards gained, points scored, and Football Outsiders' offensive DVOA over the years.
YEAR TEAM YARDS POINTS DVOA 1991 DAL 9 7 4 1992 DAL 4 2 2 1993 DAL 4 2 2 1994 WAS* 17 13 24 1995 WAS* 18 18 16 1996 WAS* 9 8 2 1997 WAS* 16 15 14 1998 WAS* 15 17 13 1999 WAS* 2 2 1 2000 WAS* 11 24 12 2001 SD 11 14 17 2002 MIA 15 12 11 2003 MIA 24 17 17 2004 OAK* 17 18 14 2005 OAK* 21 23 15 2006 SF 26 24 23 2007 SD* 20 5 14 2008 SD* 11 2 3 2009 SD* 10 4 4 2010 SD* 1 2 4 2011 SD* 6 6 5 2012 SD* 31 20 24 2013 CLE 18 27 26 2014 MIN 27 20 22 2015 MIN 29 16 16 2016 MIN 28 23 26
As you can see, none of Turner's offenses have ranked inside the top 15 in yards, points, or DVOA in any of his last five seasons as a play-caller. In 26 years calling plays, his offenses ranked in the top 10 in yards eight times, points 10 times, and DVOA nine times. They ranked in the bottom 10 in yards, points, and DVOA five times each, most of those within the last five years.
Turner will, at least, inherit an offense that is full of weapons like Newton, running back Christian McCaffrey, and tight end Greg Olsen. Under Shula in 2017, the Panthers finished 19th in yards, 12th in points, and 17th in offensive DVOA. Newton, who is still lacking a No. 1 receiver, threw 22 touchdowns and 16 picks for an 80.7 passer rating, adding 754 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. McCaffrey was useful, totaling 1,086 yards and seven touchdowns from scrimmage, but the Panthers failed to unlock the explosiveness that made him a first-round pick. Meanwhile, Olsen spent most of the year injured.
In short, the Panthers' offense didn't live up to its potential. It's now up to Turner to get the most out of Newton and company.
Scratch that -- it's now up to the Turners to turn the Panthers' offense around. Turner's son, Scott, will be the Panthers' new quarterbacks coach. Turner's nephew, Cameron, is already the assistant quarterbacks coach. And Turner's brother, Ron, is already an offensive consultant.
Whoever ends upshould just rename it the Carolina Turners.