After drawing the head-coaching interest last offseason, Chudzinski was criticized early this season when the Panthers scored 14 points or fewer in four of their first six games. But Chudzinski streamlined his zone-read package, eliminating some of the extraneous, wide receiver motions, and the Panthers improved over the second half of the season.
The Panthers finished 7th and 12th in total offense in two years under Chudzinski, a former University of Miami tight end who was the Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator when they won the national championship in 2001.
In Chudzinski's first season, the Panthers led the league with 90 plays of 20 yards or more and scored 48 touchdowns after scoring a franchise-low 17 touchdowns in 2010. The Panthers broke team records with 6,237 total yards and 345 first downs in 2011, and posted the second-best marks in both categories this past season.
Chudzinski's departure leaves Rivera and new general manager Dave Gettleman, who was hired Wednesday, with five assistant coaching vacancies. Rivera fired special teams coordinator BrianMurphy in November, and let three assistants go this week – running backs coach John Settle, receivers coach Fred Graves and linebackers coach Warren Belin.
Chudzinski, who was a Browns' fan while growing up in Toledo, had two stints in Cleveland as anassistant coach.
Chudzinski was the Browns’ tight ends coach in 2004 before Butch Davis and his staff were fired.
After spending two years as San Diego’s tight ends coach, he returned to Cleveland as the offensive coordinator under Romeo Crennel.
The Browns finished 10-6 in 2007, ranked eighth in total offense and had four Pro Bowl players, including quarterback Derek Anderson, now the backup to Newton in Charlotte.
But injuries to Anderson and other starters the following year contributed to a 4-12 record that cost Crennel his job. Chudzinski again went back to San Diego, where he worked with Rivera on Turner’s staff.
Panthers scout Ken Dorsey, a Browns quarterback when Chudzinski coached there, also could be among the Carolina staffers who go with Chudzinski to Cleveland.
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I think to much of the huddle has taken chud for granted. He spoiled us with putting up over 24 points a game and a load of exsplosive plays. I for one and very upset with this news. Chud was the best coach in carolina for the last 2 years and maybe the best offensive mind we've evere had.