'Continuity' is the tenuous phrase being liberally applied to most moves by the Carolina Panthers this off-season. A phrase, it seems, that only applies when it suits the situation. Bringing back Sean McDermott and Ron Chudzinski was pitched as 'continuity', yet firing wide receiver coach Fred Graves wasn't (despite Brandon LaFell having his best season as a receiver. It's acceptable to believe the team thought there were better people available, but the latest pitch of Mike Shula as continuity doesn't hold water.
Step back from the hiring objectively and Carolina made the least qualified hiring they could. With the exception of quarterback coach, he's a man who has failed at every stop in his coaching career -- whether it was as an offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay, or a head coach in Alabama. Excuses can be made for these failings, but they're just that -- excuses. Arguments can be made for the lack of offensive talent the Buccaneers had during his tenure, but it's important to note the wholesale offensive improvements they made in 2000 -- after he was fired. Pat Shurmur, formerly of the St. Louis Rams took a team with a lack of talent, and made them effective -- that's why more than one team was interested in him.
The largest red flag should come from Rob Chudzinski. If Mike Shula is the offensive mind we're being sold now, why didn't Chud make an effort to bring him to Cleveland? Surely the idea of continuity should apply to the coach the team is looking to continue from? This is why you should be concerned. Rob Chudzinski is far from perfect -- but he was probably the best option for 2013. Taken off the table due to his promotion, it made more sense for the Panthers to get the best man for the job -- not the safest man for the job.
What we're getting set up for is a clean house. Dave Gettleman has been saddled with a head coach he didn't hire, and now a coaching staff he doesn't know. While it may be a delayed process, the Panthers aren't giving Ron Rivera much to work with by way of his coordinators -- which could very well result in a spate of mid-season firings and the organization looking for their long-term coach in 2014.
In bringing in Gettleman the team made a smart decision to get a 'grinder' as their leader. Someone who wouldn't make knee-jerk decisions, but in electing to continue the status quo at every level, it doesn't inspire confidence that they're serious about improving on that 7-9 record. In fact, it's more likely that this flawed continuity will result in Dave Gettleman finding 'his guy' in 2014.