Skip to main content

Complimentary Coordinators

CHARLOTTE – Every Monday during the season, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Mike Shula answer questions from the media about their respective sides of the ball.

This Monday, they showed respect for the other side of the ball.

"What I feel like we do well is play complementary football in all three phases," McDermott said. "One week if somebody isn't having their best week, the other phase is picking it up. Whether it's special teams, offense or defense, it makes no difference.

"It's a very unselfish group in that locker room, a very dedicated and committed group. When you blend that high level of character and talent, you've got a chance to be pretty good."

The Panthers are pretty good, standing as the NFL's lone unbeaten team while ranking third in the league with 30.2 points per game and third with just 18.6 points allowed per game.

"We've won more so as a team than probably any other place I've been – including teams I played on," Shula said. "That's a little bit of a reason why people can't quite figure us out at times. They're so used to being, 'Here's the reason,' but it's not like that with us. It's the whole team pulling their share of the load, and that helps with the guys in here every week. They want to continue it."

In addition to crediting both sides of the ball, Shula complimented the man who ultimately oversees both sides – head coach Ron Rivera.

"He's unbelievable," Shula said. "He's always out in front, providing direction and clarity, and he never wavers. He's very approachable. He communicates really well with us and the players. The success we've had has been a direct reflection of his leadership."

Speaking of head coaches, success like the Panthers are enjoying usually leads to speculation about whether members of the staff will move on to head coaching opportunities.

"That's not my focus," said Shula, who was head coach at his alma mater Alabama from 2003-06. "We expect 100 percent focus by our players, so we need to expect that from ourselves. I'm doing whatever I can this week to win. That's all I want to focus on. I don't have time to think about it."

On this subject as well, Carolina's coordinators are on the same page.

"Yes, that is a goal of mine; a goal of mine is also to be the best," said McDermott, who has never been a head coach. "Having the best defense and best team we can possibly have, and that's the goal right in front of us.

"I'm focused on this football team and this organization. You don't get to 11-0 very often in this league – in 16 or 17 years I've never been 11-0. This is a special situation, but having said that, it's a one-week-at-a-time focus, and you don't get to 11-0 by not being focused."

View the top photos by team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez from Carolina's game against Dallas.

Related Content