Panthers interview Shurmur, Jackson for coordinator

jperson@charlotteobserver.comJanuary 15, 2013 

New Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman’s first full day on the job was a busy one Monday, coinciding with two interviews for the team’s vacant offensive coordinator post.

The Panthers met with former Cleveland Browns coach Pat Shurmur and Cincinnati Bengals assistant coach Hue Jackson at the team’s offices at Bank of America Stadium, according to league sources.

They are the first known candidates to interview for the position since Rob Chudzinski became the Browns’ coach last Thursday. The Panthers wanted to wait until Gettleman returned to Charlotte to begin the interviews.

Gettleman, who was named GM last week, will be introduced at a news conference Tuesday at the stadium.

The Panthers still hope to interview other candidates, although at least one of them – Ken Whisenhunt – is in the running for a head-coaching job.

Panthers quarterbacks coach Mike Shula also is expected to be considered.

It would be a case of trading places if the Panthers hire Shurmur, who was fired in Cleveland after going 9-23 in two seasons. Shurmur, 47, also has drawn interest from the New York Jets for their offensive coordinator position.

It is expected that Shurmur, who worked with Panthers coach Ron Rivera in Philadelphia, would be asked to overhaul or significantly change his West Coast offense if he accepted the job in Charlotte. St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford was the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2010 when Shurmur was the Rams’ offensive coordinator.

But the West Coast system – with its reliance on short, horizontal passes – seems like a bad fit for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who followed Bradford as the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011 while running Chudzinski’s vertical stretch passing game.

Whether Shurmur would be receptive to such a change, or whether it would be practical, are issues that likely were addressed in his interview.

Jackson, 47, also is on the Jets’ radar, according to published reports.

Jackson rejoined Marvin Lewis’ Bengals staff in 2012 after being fired as Oakland’s coach after an 8-8 record in his only season. Jackson has had three stints as an offensive coordinator – with Washington (2003) under Steve Spurrier, Atlanta (2007) and Oakland (2010).

The 2010 Raiders finished second in the league in rushing, and were in the top 10 in total offense and points per game. Oakland was ninth in total offense in Jackson’s lone season as its head coach.

Jackson, who was Baltimore’s quarterbacks coach when Joe Flacco became the first rookie quarterback to win two playoff games, runs a more multiple offense than Shurmur.

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