Panthers coach Ron Rivera acknowledged that he stayed in-house to promote Mike Shula to offensive coordinator in order to maintain continuity for Cam Newton's sake.
"That was it," Rivera said. "... The bottom line is familiarity with who we are as a football team." Over Carolina's final six games, Newton combined for 14 touchdowns and only two turnovers, and the Panthers went 5-1. "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."