By Eric Schmidt

Cam Newton had a disappointing first half of the 2012 fantasy football season. He struggled on the field as the Carolina Panthers lost seven of their first nine games. The Panthers turned things around later in the season, finishing with five wins in their last six games. Expectations were were surrounding Newton in 2012 after his remarkable record-setting rookie season. While he didn’t equal his 35 total touchdowns he recorded in his rookie season, he finished with a strong month of December for fantasy owners. In five games, Newton recorded 10 total touchdown against two interceptions for the month.

Fantasy owners should closely watch the coaching situation now in Carolina in order to guage his valuation in 2013. The Panthers lost offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who took the coaching job in Cleveland. This leaves the Panthers without an offensive coordinator moving forward.Former Chargers head coach is currently unemployed, but is likely to join Chudzinski in Cleveland according to reports this morning.

Speculation surrounding the Panthers at this point, suggests that the team might promote Mike Shula to the offensive coordinator position. This would be a big blow to Newton’s productivity.

Despite some offensive struggles this season, Chudzinski’s offense in 2011 shattered team records, racking up over 6,000 yards of total offense with 90 plays of over 20 yards and scoring 48 touchdowns.

Shula has experience running an offense, if you can call it that. Shula was the offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996 to 1999. As someone who watched his offense in all of those games, I can tell you Tampa ran a very predictable, vanilla offense in those years.

If Newton is going to be running a Shula led offense for the Panthers in 2013, you’ll need to adjust your rating for Newton moving forward.

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