|Panthers hire former Ravens coach Matsko; talk with Shula|
|Written by Steve Reed|
|Thursday, 20 January 2011 20:18|
CHARLOTTE – The Carolina Panthers continued to fill their coaching staff at a rapid fire pace.
John Matsko, who worked with the prolific offenses of the St. Louis Rams as well as three playoff Baltimore Ravens teams, was named offensive line coach of the Panthers, the team announced Thursday. In two of three seasons under Matsko the Ravens were in the top five of the league in rushing, finishing fourth in 2008 and fifth in 2009.
Even more than that, Matsko brings the emphasis on teaching that coach Ron Rivera likes.
“John is regarded as an outstanding teacher in both the rushing and pass blocking aspects of offensive line play,” Rivera said. “A good offensive line is vital to the success of any offense and John has a history of overseeing some outstanding units.”
Matsko was offensive line coach for the Rams Super Bowl championship team and played a role in the development of Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Pace as well as two-time Pro Bowl honoree Adam Timmerman as St. Louis led the league in total offense three straight seasons. After leaving the Rams, Matsko spent two seasons with Kansas City before going to Baltimore where the Ravens allowed 33 sacks, second fewest in team history, while featuring the NFL’s youngest offensive line in 2008.
He began his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals in 1992 and spent two seasons there before coaching with the Saints (1994-96) and Giants (1997-98). A Cleveland native, Matsko played college football at Kent State, graduating in 1973, and later coached in college at Miami (Ohio), North Carolina, Navy, Arizona, and Southern Cal before joining the NFL.
The Panthers interviewed Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach Mike Shula for a spot on their offensive staff, presumably as quarterbacks coach and possibly as an assistant head coach, a league source confirmed Thursday.
Shula has spent 23 years in coaching, including 19 in the NFL, and has previously worked as an offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay.
He is the son of former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history.
In other league news, the Minnesota Vikings have hired former Panthers offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson as their new offensive line coach. Davidson spent four years with the Panthers but his contract was not renewed.