It's another vote for 'continuity': Steve Smith's optimistic about Panthers' direction | "It eventually was going to happen, and it did. Now you just take it with a grain of salt. Chud's left and Shula's there," Smith said. "You never know what's going to be moving forward. You never know what's in store. You're optimistic and you're high in spirits and you think and assume that a man who has been promoted is going to take it seriously, which I think he is. We're ready to go." The Panthers finished seventh and 12th in total offense in Chudzinski's two seasons. Coach Ron Rivera cited continuity – particularly where quarterback Cam Newton is concerned – in promoting Shula, the team's quarterbacks coach. "You always want to hire a guy that doesn't set you back or changes up. And how a guy sets you back is all of a sudden you have to change up everything," Smith said. "I think that is a vital role. That's important to keep in perspective, and I think that's what we did."