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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mike McCoy Gone; Rip Scherer Likely In?

Mike McCoy has left the Panthers to become the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos under new head coach Josh McDaniels. The former QBs coach/"Passing Game Coordinator" was granted permission to seek new employment by the Panthers, something they could've disallowed by rule. He'll join McDaniels, outgoing Broncos OC Rick Dennison as the new line coach, and Mike Nolan as DC. McCoy, a Panthers coach since 2000, would have the coordinator title but would not have play-calling duties with the team.

This leaves Carolina with a hole at the quarterbacks coaching job, and they have a few ways of filling it. The in-house option is current Panthers TEs coach Geep Chryst, a former QBs coach and coordinator in the league. Chryst would move over from TEs to QBs, more directly assisting coordinator Jeff Davidson as well as tutoring the quarterbacks. The potential move from there would include, most likely, the hiring of either Indianapolis offensive assistant and former Bills/Panthers TE Pete Metzelaars or hiring a recently deposed TEs coach like the Chiefs' Jon Embree.

Chryst is already familiar with the offense and staff, as well as the players. However, there are potentially more qualified candidates out there, and the Panthers have already interviewed one - Rip Scherer. The former Cleveland Browns assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach had interviewed with the 49ers mid-week (the 49ers have yet to decide on an offensive coordinator) and came to town to interview with Carolina on Saturday. He has a past with Jeff Davidson, having been on staff together as assistants with the Browns. Davidson, as interim coordinator late in 2006, was said to have relied on Scherer's support in putting together drives.

Scherer, before coming to the Browns four years ago, had spent his career as a college coach, mostly as a coordinator (most recently, Southern Mississippi and Kansas) but spending the 90s as a head coach (James Madison, Memphis from 91-2000). He's given a lot of credit for being a good QB technician and being personable to his staff and players; there are numerous reports of his integrity and hard work shining through where his recruiting fell short in the college arena.

The next part is simply waiting - possibly until the coaching employment fair that some scouts call the Senior Bowl, or possibly depending on whether the 49ers hire Rob Chudzinski as their coordinator. They've already been told no by Scott Linehan, and Chudzinski is vying against Clyde Christensen of the Colts for the job. That hire may not impact the Panthers' wishes, if Scherer does choose to come here instead, of course.
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