Mike Shula is in his first year transitioning from Panthers quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. He's tasked himself with making life easier on Cam Newton, from play-calling to the physical burden of being the dual threat that Newton is.
Shula recently praised Cam's football mind to Dan Pompei of the National Football Post, something that doesn't happen often when discussing guys with the physical gifts Cam brings to the game.
The objective is to streamline the play-calling verbiage to make it easier on Newton. Last season, Newton threw for more than 3,800 yards and led the Panthers in rushing. He essentially was the offense, and he will continue to be the main feature. Still, watching the Redskins run Robert Griffin III into the ground had to be a cautionary tale for all the teams with something behind center who can stretch the field like Cam does.
Dan Pompei for the NFP:
Newton has been praised more for his size, speed, athleticism and arm strength than for his mind. And Shula praises those other attributes as well. He is in search of the perfect balance between using the athlete and using the quarterback. “That first year you wanted to do everything with him, and we still do,” said Shula, who had been the Panthers’ quarterbacks coach prior to this year. “The challenge is to keep him healthy doing those things.”
Last year, Newton led the Panthers in rushing. Shula does not want to see that happen again. But he also does not want to ignore, or allow defenses to ignore, Newton’s ability to run the football.