Panthers seeking balance on offense

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The coordinator has changed but the Carolina Panthers’ offense may not look all that different from the second half of last season.

“We definitely want to continue the things that we feel we’ve done well and continue to find ways to get the most out of the players," said coordinator Mike Shula, who replaced Rob Chudzinski. “We felt like at the end of the year across the board, there wasn’t a guy that wasn’t playing winning football. Now, we have to do that for 16 weeks."

What the Panthers did the second half of last season was return to a more conventional offense after getting off to a 2-8 start while leaning heavily on quarterback Cam Newton running the read option. Newton ended up as Carolina’s leading rusher.

Shula made it sound like the read option still could be used at times.

“It’s a delicate balance," Shula said. "It’s a topic that’s being talked about in Washington, in San Francisco and Seattle because we’re entering into this age when there are all these quarterbacks coming out that are so talented running and throwing and they’ve been well coached in college. You want to utilize that talent and get the most out of it, but not at the expense of getting a guy hurt. That’s something we talk about every day. We don’t just talk about it as a staff, we talk about it to our players."

But the read option may only be a small part of Carolina’s offense. Shula made it clear he wants to run a balanced offense that takes advantage of all of Carolina’s talent at the skill positions."

“You can’t just rely on DeAngelo (Williams) and Jonathan (Stewart) running the football and you can’t just rely on Cam," Shula said. “We have to spread that out. Hopefully, in doing that, with the guys that we have here personnel wise, we can keep teams off balance and make them understand they’re going to have to account for everybody on every part of the field."