The hiring of John Ramsdell as a Senior Offensive Assistant did not get a lot of press this past March. However, Ramsdell’s expertise and success transforming quarterbacks made him the Carolina Panthers‘ number one “free agent” acquisition this offseason.
Current Offensive Coordinator, Mike Shula has been an adequate promotion, but how bright is his star shining in the Charlotte sky?
His style is more conservative than Ramsdell and could be what is holding back Cam Newton. Shula was a good quarterback coach for Newton, but Shula’s approach to the game might not fit what our roster is capable of producing.
If anything, the hiring of Ramsdell and overhaul of the Panthers’ offensive weapons raises eyebrows as to GM Dave Gettleman’s long-term allegiance to Shula.
Ramsdell has thrived as a quarterbacks coach during his 38 years in football, but wasn’t appointed to that same role here in Carolina.
John Ramsdell descended from the Don Coryell coaching tree, alongside Mike Martz, Dick Vermeil and Norv Turner. To say that this man understands offense is an understatement. A more accurate statement would be that John Ramsdell will elevate Cam Newton to the greatness that he is capable of.
The names and teams that dot Ramsdell’s previous stops on his NFL journey, speak to the genius of this man’s abilities.
The St. Louis Rams fielded “The Greatest Show on Turf” en route to bringing home a Super Bowl ring in 1999. They were arguably the most entertaining offense in the NFL as the 2000′s materialized. He was the mastermind behind molding both Warner and Bulger from nobodies to elite gunslingers.
During his coaching tenure in St. Louis, Ramsdell oversaw the wide receivers, tight ends and H-backs for a year. He also spent four years as the quarterbacks coach, implementing his high-octane “Air Coryell” offense. The man just loves to immerse himself and his players in offense, regardless of position.
If you have ever watched highlights of those receivers lighting up the scoreboard and the precision that Warner and Bulger conducted games with, all of Panther Nation should be excited with this hire. Ramsdell was not the OC in St. Louis, but his grasp of the X’s and O’s were on the same level as Mike Martz, according to Marc Bulger.
In 2006, Philip Rivers took over the reigns at QB in San Diego, as Drew Brees headed down to New Orleans. Prior to the beginning of Rivers’ first game, Ramsdell was brought back to southern California and landed the Quarterbacks Coach gig in San Diego. Ron Rivera was the DC in San Diego at this time, so the history is already in place between these two.
Rivers has enjoyed being at or near the top of the quarterback ranks since taking over the starting job for the Chargers. His aerial attack and comfortability in the system has allowed him to maintain a successful career over the past eight seasons. The Chargers’ offense might not be the Greatest Show on Turf, but it has constantly been explosive, high-scoring, and frustrating for opposing defenses.
Cam Newton is next in line for Coach Ramsdell to mentor and take under his wing.
Ramsdell will be able to work with Newton 1-on-1 and take his athleticism and skillset to the next level. The Panthers have been running a tweaked version of the Air Coryell since Rob Chudzinski was the OC. Newton showed a smooth comfortability in Chud’s scheme during his rookie year in 2011.
Shula has since modified the system to be more run-heavy, and diminished the role of the tight end.
Ramsdell has a veteran tight end in Greg Olsen that can stretch the seam, and the acquisition of Ed Dickson from the free agent market will add back that multi-TE wrinkle that has been missing for the past two seasons. WR Kelvin Benjamin will look to shake the rookie jitters off early and be a reliable downfield bulls-eye for Newton.
The pieces are in place for Ramsdell to assist this year, and Shula will be given the opportunity to prove that he is capable in this position. If Shula falters or the offense continues its’ dull play again this year, look for the new kid on the block to be ushered into place in 2015.