This whole John Ramsdell thing is growing a bit in esteem, it seems. Still nothing from the team, but the Observer at least tweeted it when shown.
Nonetheless, outside the initial impact, it does, of course, give contingency to Mike Shula. That's not to say that the team intends to create some level of planned obsolescence with Shula, they want to give him the tools to succeed.
Coincidentally, if Shula doesn't quite fit, they'll have an intact staff and an obvious heir to the job.
It's very much the same situation as Steve Wilks, a favorite of this blog who worked wonders with scraps (some of which are now very highly paid scraps). Wilks was, at the very least, very highly sought by Carolina, and rumors had him not as DBs coach in 2011 when sought, but DC. Wilks wasn't allowed to leave, Sean McDermott was literally handed to Rivera by Andy Reid (that move, of course, doesn't get quite enough props for Reid being classy about it), they stuff Ron Meeks in there for a year (coincidentally, to do his worst coaching job in years).
I have no doubt that Rivera wanted McDermott to work, just as he undoubtedly would've preferred Rob Chudzinski stay. But, he had Shula on deck.
So, is Ramsdell on deck?
As it is, the mysterious "Senior Offensive Assistant" is not third tier assistant role. Ramsdell won't exactly be Proehl's lackey, learning the ropes. That's a special operations role, one that gives him a separate tie to Shula from the position coaches.
It'll be interesting. I, for one, don't want Shula to fail, and I don't think anyone does. But confidence wavers, and it's nice to see an on-staff choice for succession should it be required. Just as they have with Wilks. In the meantime, Shula has a veteran to advise him, to bounce ideas off, to help him succeed.
I'd neglected to notice on first sight that Ramsdell, who I identified with the Rams and Chargers, had Rams ties here. John Matsko was the line coach on the Greatest Show on Turf; Ramsdell its QBs coach. WRs coach Ricky Proehl, of course, was a slot receiver there for five years. Those teams, like the Chargers teams (where he worked with Rivera, Wilks, Chudzinski, and so on), are Coryell.
Now, as far as the staff goes, it's hard to say that any further change will happen. I do prefer they hire another intern-type coach for an Assistant WR coach role (remember, in '11, they had Fred Graves and Ricky Proehl coaching WRs, and Scott Turner was a defacto WR coach too, as offensive assistant). I still believe in an assistant DBs coach role (and far as I can tell, Bobby Babich - who was with the team '11-12, and then assistant DBs with Chud in the Browns debacle - is available again) under Wilks, and the last two years have been the first in forever I can't remember the team having two DBs coaches. Who knows, they might have signed one or the other, and no one's noticed yet.
Otherwise, that closes the book on the staff portion of the 2014 Panthers (though, post-playoff loss, Rivera said no staff changes would be made, and here we are, having added a 20+ year veteran in a mysterious new title). If the team was creating new roles, consider that Chudzinski himself is now with Indy in a similar sounding "special assistant to the head coach" ambiguity.