Competency Trumps Continuity
This past offseason when Ron Rivera needed to fill the void left by Chudzinski's departure, he had a choice to make. He could bring in an outside hire who would implement a new offensive scheme or he could promote Mike Shula and keep continuity in the offense.
Both choices had their merits and their problems.
An outside hire would have brought fresh eyes to the offense and could have been coached by someone with a decent track record. The problem was that Cam Newton and the offense would need to learn and implement a new offensive scheme. Ron Rivera knew 2013 was his last year to prove himself. A slow start in a new system would be quite a gamble. If there is one thing we know about Rivera, its that he doesn't like to take chances.
Therefore, Rivera chose to promote Mike Shula. Shula was able to keep the playbook nearly in tact. The Panthers would not have to learn new terminology or plays. However, Shula also brought a history of less than mediocre coaching. His coaching stints in Tampa Bay and Alabama ended with poor results and firings. Rivera chose continuity over competency.
Hopes were high this offseason and even up until now that Shula had learned from Chudzinski and from his peers since his days at Alabama. Shula's history of not being able to counter in-game adjustments or score points in the red zone surely were obstacles that he could pull through.
The result? The Panthers offense is currently ranked 24th in total yards and 27th in points scored per game. Shula still has time to get the offense improved. Exactly how much time is unknown, however.
So far this season the Panthers have lost to two teams (Buffalo, Arizona) who are in their first year of a new offensive scheme.
It appears, for now, that competency has trumped continuity