The Carolina Panthers made another shrewd appointment with highly respected figure James Campen joining as their new offensive line coach.
It’s no secret that the offensive line was a complete mess from start to finish in 2021. The Carolina Panthers missed on their free-agent acquisitions and didn’t seem keen on giving their two rookies any meaningful playing time until late in the campaign – something that cost them in a big way with almost no consistent protection throughout a season that ended with five wins for a third-straight year.
Again, it was not a significant shock that offensive line coach Pat Meyer was removed from his duties almost as soon as the season came to a conclusion. Although the talent at his disposal wouldn’t be classed as stellar, the unit was rarely prepared effectively and couldn’t even handle basic concepts such as stunts that opposing teams took full advantage of.
Finding coaches with proper NFL experience seems to be the order of the day in Carolina. Matt Rhule got a reprieve from team owner David Tepper despite pressure increasing on his position, but this seems to be something of a stipulation for the former Baylor man to keep his job.
After a long process, the Panthers finally appointed James Campen as their new offensive line coach, who is one of the league’s most respected figures and left the same position on the Houston Texans to come on board.
James Campen comes to the Carolina Panthers with bags of success
Campen comes with a glowing resume and is also a former pro for good measure. He is perhaps famed for his work with the Green Bay Packers over a 14-year period, gaining a reputation for turning mid-to-late round draft prospects into successful NFL starters.
This included no fewer than seven Pro Bowlers under Campen’s watch and quarterback Aaron Rodgers lauded the coach on countless occasions throughout his time in Green Bay.
There is a big job awaiting Campen in Carolina. Only Taylor Moton is guaranteed to start at the right tackle position, with significant reinforcements needed elsewhere in pursuit of gaining some sort of stability within this critical area of the field.
Perhaps Campen can work his magic with Brady Christensen and Deonte Brown. There is also a high chance the Panthers will bolster this group during free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft after both Rhule and general manager Scott Fitterer stated a clear intent to make this one of their top priorities during the offseason.
Campen’s arrival already represents an upgrade on Meyer. His track record is first class and providing the necessary reinforcements are secured by those in power, there could be some light at the end of the tunnel.
When one considers Ben McAdoo and Chris Tabor are also on board, Rhule deserves credit for finding some useful coaches in difficult circumstances. There are still many fans calling for his head, but what’s important for him and the franchise is focusing on the task at hand rather than things outside of their control.
Obviously, this will count for nothing if things cannot improve from a results standpoint. But it’s hard to look at Carolina’s coaching staff right now and think it is a worse one that ended the 2021 campaign.