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Potential Offensive Coordinator Candidates for the Carolina Panthers

A look at who could be calling the shots next season for the Panthers.

After only 28 games with the organization, Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady was relieved of his duties on Sunday morning. The Panthers currently rank 28th in total offense, 26th in passing, and 23rd in scoring after 12 games this season. 

Head coach Matt Rhule announced that senior offensive assistant/running backs coach Jeff Nixon will coordinate the offense for the remainder of the season but that may not be the long-term play. So, who could be in the running for the Panthers' offensive coordinator position in 2022? 

Here are a few names. 

Jeff Nixon

Nixon's relationship with Matt Rhule goes back to the late '90s when the two got their start in the coaching profession at Penn State as grad assistants. They rejoined forces at Temple in 2006 where Nixon coached the running backs and receivers while Rhule was the defensive line coach of the Owls. When Rhule was hired to be the head coach at Baylor in 2017, he hired Nixon to be the offensive coordinator and play-caller. In 2019, the Bears were tied second in the Big 12 in scoring offense averaging 35.2 points per game.

Although Nixon does not have any experience calling plays in the NFL, he does have several years of coaching experience in the league serving stints with the Eagles (2007-10, offensive/special teams assistant), Dolphins (2011-15, running backs), 49ers (2016, tight ends), and the Panthers (2020-present, senior offensive assistant, running backs). Following the news of Joe Brady's firing, it was announced that Nixon will assume the role of offensive coordinator for the remaining five games of the season. However, it is unknown as of Monday morning if Nixon will call the plays. If so, this could be his audition to earn the job full-time. Considering Nixon has called plays for Rhule before, this makes the most sense.

Sean Ryan

Ryan is in his first season as the Panthers' quarterbacks coach and although the quarterback play has been well below average, it's hard to really place much blame on Ryan's shoulders. Some blame? Yes, but not at all. Sam Darnold just doesn't have what it takes to lead an offense and it's hard to judge him solely on that when Darnold also struggled in New York. Ryan does have a strong resume with some big-name quarterbacks such as Eli Manning (2012-13), Deshaun Watson (2017-18), and Matthews Stafford (2019-20). Ryan has never called plays in the NFL from the information that I've gathered but that doesn't completely rule him out as a possibility. Regardless, I would think the Panthers would like to keep Ryan around to help develop the next quarterback the team brings in. Prior to coming to Carolina, Ryan coached with Rhule at the New York Giants in 2012.

Jake Peetz

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Peetz has an almost perfect blend of college and NFL experience and was most recently in the league with the Panthers as running backs coach in 2019 under Ron Rivera and quarterbacks coach in 2020 under Matt Rhule. Following the 2020 season, Peetz departed to accept the offensive coordinator position at LSU. With Brian Kelly now the head coach at LSU, there's no guarantee that Peetz will be retained. In fact, it seems like Kelly wants to bring in his own guy to call plays hence the offer to Notre Dame OC Tommy Rees who eventually declined to stay in South Bend.

In his first year on the job in Baton Rouge, the Tigers' offense didn't post great numbers but did toss the ball around with a fair amount of success. LSU finished fourth in the SEC averaging 264.2 passing yards per game. However, the offense ranked 12th of 14 SEC teams in scoring (27.1 ppg), and 13th in rushing (109.3 ypg). Again, the numbers aren't great but there's a lot of really good offenses in the SEC with over half the conference averaging over 30 points per game. With only one year of calling plays and only one year with Rhule, I'd be surprised to see Peetz get the job but it's a name to watch. 

Marcus Satterfield

Satterfield spent the 2020 season as an assistant offensive line coach for the Panthers before receiving an opportunity to go call plays at South Carolina this past season. Satterfield and Rhule first coached together at Western Carolina in 2005 where Satterfield served as the Catamounts' wide receivers coach. Rhule hired Satterfield to the offensive coordinator when he was named head coach at Temple in 2013. He led the Owls offense for three seasons and then became the head coach at Tennessee State for two years. Rhule brought him back on staff at Baylor for the 2018, 2019 seasons to coach the tight ends and then brought him to Carolina in 2020. Satterfield has a ton of experience calling plays, however, has yet to do it in the NFL. 

Thinking out of the box

Now, with Matt Rhule only having one year of experience in the NFL prior to being the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, there's not going to be many ties to other guys around the league. With that said, if Rhule doesn't feel comfortable handing over the offense to any of the names mentioned above, it's because he wants someone with NFL experience handling the play calls. The one name that comes to mind as "out of the box" is Doug Pederson. Yes, the Doug Pederson that the Panthers selected in the 1995 expansion draft. I know what you're thinking, these are not realistic options but who knows? Pederson is not coaching this season and one would have to imagine that he is far from being done. After being fired as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, I don't see many teams that will be making changes at the end of the season considering him as an option as head coach. Pederson is going to have to get back in the league as a play-caller and who needs an offensive coordinator more than the Panthers? 

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