HC Ron Rivera said new OC Mike Shula's working knowledge of the Carolina offense and familiarity with franchise quarterback Cam Newton helped earn him the job over outsiders Hue Jackson and Pat Shurmur, both of whom interviewed for the position.
The coach said the decision centered around Newton's late-season development.
Over the final six games Newton combined for 14 touchdowns -- 10 passing and four rushing -- and had only two turnovers. The Panthers simplified the playbook and asked Newton to do less on offense.
Less turned out to mean more.
"I think the way Cam played the second half of the season, protecting the football the way he did and not giving up big sacks, just the way he played, his growth...." Rivera said. "He really had to go through the maturation process."
He didn't want to ruin that momentum by forcing Newton to learn a new system.
This sounds like good news for Newton, who played very well down the stretch. Early in the 2012 season, there was talk of a sophomore slump for Newton, as he had only accounted for eight total touchdowns (five pass, three rush) in his first seven games after averaging 2.2 total TDs per game in 2011. Starting in Week 9, he scored 19 TDs in his final nine games, a 2.1 TD per game average. He should continue to progress as an NFL quarterback in 2013.