The Carolina Panthers are making a switch at offensive coordinator, and Norv Turner could be their guy.
After a Wild Card round loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, the Carolina Panthers made changes to their coaching staff on Tuesday. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula and quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey have been fired, and the search for replacements will start in earnest for head coach Ron Rivera.
As new head coaches are named around the league, some shuffling of coordinators will continue to take place. So the Panthers will not be alone in trying to find a new offensive coordinator, and a familiar name may be immediately on the radar.
As Joe Person the Charlotte Observer laid out, Norv Turner is easy point to as a top candidate to be Carolina’s next offensive coordinator. Rivera was linebackers coach and then defensive coordinator under Turner with the San Diego Chargers from 2007-2010, before taking the heading coaching job with the Panthers. Two of Turner’s family members, brother Ron and nephew Cameron, are also already on Rivera’s staff.
Turner most recently served as offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings for two-plus seasons. But he stepped down (in lieu of being fired) midway through the 2016 season, amid conflict with head coach Mike Zimmer over the direction of the offense.
Turner is also 65 years old, approaching 66 (May 17), with a name reputation that exceeds recent results. His offense, centered on the power running game, play-action passing and deep drops for the quarterback, has not delivered output like it did when Turner was Dallas Cowboys’ offensive coordinator in the 1990’s. An inability, or unwillingness, to adjust his scheme and play-calling is an easy line to draw in his falling out with Zimmer and the Vikings.
Apart from any need to add weapons this offseason, Turner does not seem like the kind of offensive coordinator to get the most out of Cam Newton. But familiarity with Rivera may give that idea the benefit of the doubt, and if Turner wants to get back into coaching it’s a convenient fit with the Panthers.