The Panthers are still searching for its next offensive play-caller after parting ways with Joe Brady earlier in the year. With some candidates currently in the playoffs, there's a possibility that a hire won't be made for a couple of more weeks.
So far, seven coaches have interviewed for the job and one has interviewed twice. Who are the candidates? Where do they come from? Let's dive in.
Scottie Montgomery (Colts running backs coach)
The one thing Matt Rhule mentioned that he wanted in his new offensive coordinator was a guy that has experience calling plays in the NFL. Ironically, Montgomery became the first candidate to interview for the job twice and has never called plays at this level. Montgomery, a former Panthers running back (2000), got his start in coaching as the receivers coach at Duke in 2006. He jumped up to the NFL for the same position with the Pittsburgh Steelers for three years before coming back down to the collegiate level to be the associate head coach and offensive coordinator under David Cutcliffe at Duke. From there, Montgomery earned his first head coaching job at East Carolina but it ended quickly after compiling a 9-26 record over the span of three seasons.
Jay Gruden (Not currently employed)
Gruden is a bit of a head-scratcher for me as well. Look, I know it's hard to cast a wide net when your roots in the NFL don't run as deep as they do in college, but there's no reason to even entertain Gruden as an option, right? I mean, not only did he fail as head coach of the then Washington Redskins but he had some off the field issues as well. For a guy that wants to establish a strong culture inside the building, hiring someone like Gruden seems to be contradicting to the plan. That said, he does have 16 years of experience in the league which may hold a lot of value to Rhule.
Mike Groh (Colts wide receivers coach)
I don't know where exactly Groh sits on Rhule's list but this one makes a lot of sense to me. He checks the boxes in terms of being a coordinator having done so in both college and the NFL and has a long history of working in the passing game - an area that is in dire need of improvement. Yes, Rhule wants to run the football and be a power football team, but you can't be one dimensional.
Ben McAdoo (Cowboys consultant)
I know a lot of folks were immediately turned off by the thought of McAdoo as the Panthers offensive coordinator, but I don't hate it. Would it be my first option? No. Hell, it probably wouldn't be my second or third, but once again, Rhule's ties in the NFL don't run deep. He's going to talk to as many people as he can that are looking for a chance to either establish themselves or perhaps reestablish themselves like McAdoo. His offenses in New York lacked creativity, but he did get them to produce. He led the Giants to an 11-5 record as his first year as head coach filling in for Tom Coughlin. The following year, things went south and it led to his firing.
Klint Kubiak (Vikings offensive coordinator)
Why would Kubiak want to leave the Vikings for the same position with the Panthers? Well, his future is a bit uncertain at the moment as Minnesota looks for its next head coach. After firing Mike Zimmer, there's no guarantee that the new head coach will keep Kubiak on his staff, especially after holding the OC position for just one year. Carolina will be involved in a lot of QB trade rumors this offseason and one that is already starting to make its rounds is a move for Kirk Cousins. Kubiak worked with Cousins exclusively in 2019 and 2020 as Minnesota's quarterbacks coach before being promoted to OC this past season. The familiarity between the two could potentially lead to Cousins landing in Charlotte. Then again, I don't believe they are interested in Kubiak for that very reason. He's a guy that is potentially on the market and has play-calling experience, albeit one year.
Luke Getsy (Passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach)
With Pep Hamilton turning the Panthers down, Getsy could be the perfect fit for this offense. He's been around and has worked with Aaron Rodgers for each of the last three seasons. No, Getsy didn't elevate Rodgers' game, but being in the same room as someone as cerebral as him can go a long way. However, the only play-calling experience he has is at West Virginia Wesleyan (2009), Indiana - PA (2011-12), and Mississippi State (2018). If the Panthers don't give him a chance, someone will at some point. He is very well-liked by everyone in the Packers' organization and is considered as one of the better young assistant coaches in the league that currently doesn't have a coordinator designation.
Tim Kelly (Former Texans offensive coordinator)
Much like Kubiak in Minnesota, the Panthers could see an opportunity to land Deshaun Watson and hire Tim Kelly, his former QB coach and offensive coordinator. Kelly was fired by the Texans alongside head coach David Culley last week. He has served in multiple roles with the Texans since the 2014 season and yes, he does have two years on the Penn State staff under his belt (2012-13 as a grad assistant), so it's easy to see Rhule's connection. The Texans ranked 26th in passing and dead last in the league in rushing this past season. To be fair, it's not like Kelly had much to work with in the first place.
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