Carolina Panthers Hire Norv Turner as Offensive Coordinator
We have seen Norv Turner in three full seasons as an offensive coordinator. He was with the Browns in 2013, and then the Vikings in 2014-2015 until stepping down during the 2016 season. History shows that Turner loves to feed the ball to his No. 1 receiver and his tight end. Under Turner in 2013, Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron received a total of 277 targets, which resulted in 167 receptions.
This carried over to Minnesota where Greg Jennings received the majority of the targets in 2014, and Stefon Diggs emerged as the top receiver in 2015. Aside from the high volume passing game, Norv Turner hasn’t shown much consistency in his play-calling. He accommodates to his roster and is good at adjusting when needed. For example, Turner gave Adrian Peterson 320-plus carries in 2015 and rode him all the way into the postseason. With some explosive weapons in every facet of the Panthers’ offense, Norv Turner is going to have some fun.
Since Turner adjusts to his offense’s strengths, we could also see Christian McCaffrey in an extended role. Although McCaffrey accumulated almost 200 touches in his rookie season, he could be in for even more. Playing to McCaffrey’s strengths should help him surpass the 80 receptions he made this past season. Under Turner in 2014, Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon combined for 71 receptions in a timeshare. With Jonathan Stewart slowly fading out of the picture, McCaffrey’s volume could see an uptick.
This should also translate well for Devin Funchess. Even if the Panthers go out and draft or sign another big name receiver this offseason, Funchess is going to be Cam Newton’s top target. The departure of Kelvin Benjamin left Funchess in the spotlight and he did not disappoint. With Norv Turner depending heavily on his top receiving option, Funchess is set up for a breakout 2018 season. The addition of Turner should also be good news for Panthers TE, Greg Olsen. After being a huge part of the offense for the past seven years, Olsen’s productivity is not going away. The 32-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down, and he’s poised to continue being a threat in Carolina’s offense.
It will be interesting to see how Turner calls games with a mobile quarterback like Cam Newton. The closest thing to Cam Newton that he’s had to work with is Teddy Bridgewater. Although Bridgewater is not as much of a threat in the run game as Newton, Turner was still able to utilize his mobility. Newton could reach a career high in pass attempts over a season under Turner, and it will be interesting to see how the 2018 season unfolds.
Mark Ingram’s Value After a Disappointing Postseason
Coming off a 2017 season during which Mark Ingram finished as a Top 5 PPR RB, everything started trending downward over the last two postseason games. At times during the season, it looked as if both Ingram and Alvin Kamara could produce RB1 numbers and not eat into one another’s workload. What these two accomplished down the stretch was incredible. It is rare to see two running backs get such high usage in the same offense.
However, as the postseason showed us this productivity could not continue. In the two playoff games combined Kamara out-touched Ingram 26-21 while being much more efficient. This might not look like a big deal when considering volume, but let’s look at what they did with their touches:
With Ingram closing in on 30 years old, time is against him. As Fantasy rankings begin to come out for the 2018 season, Ingram will likely be a consensus Top 10 RB. Most will forget that these two playoff games even occurred. This should not be looked at as an outlier, but an example of what the future might hold for the Saints’ backfield. Ingram will not be completely faded out in 2018, but it is something to keep in the back of our minds. Kamara’s explosiveness gives the young superstar a much higher ceiling than Ingram, and even though they are both going to get work, there is a lot more to like about Kamara in 2018.