KAPOLEI, Hawaii Picking up the Carolina Panthers’ offense has been a breeze for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and the other two quarterbacks on the Pro Bowl team coached by the Panthers’ Ron Rivera.
Brees, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers and Kansas City’s Alex Smith have all played in similar offensive systems as the Panthers’ – with longtime NFL coach Norv Turner the common thread.
Brees and Rivers played for Turner in San Diego when he was the Chargers’ offensive coordinator and later their head coach, while Smith worked under Turner in San Francisco when Turner was the 49ers’ coordinator in 2006.
Rob Chudzinski, who was with Turner in San Diego, brought the system to Carolina when he was the Panthers’ coordinator during Rivera’s first two seasons. Mike Shula, who was with Turner when both were assistants under Dave Wannstedt in Miami, has added to it since succeeding Chudzinski last year.
Because of the quarterbacks’ familiarity with the offense, Brees said Shula and Panthers quarterback coach Ken Dorsey have given them plenty of input.
“It’s funny because the system itself is actually what we ran back when I was in San Diego like 10 years ago,” Brees said. “As quarterbacks, they look at us and say, ‘Hey, you guys know what you’re doing, so if there’s something else you want to do just let us know.’ The Panthers’ staff has been great.”
New York calling: Rivera spent the entire one-hour practice on his cell phone Friday morning participating in a conference call with other members of the league’s rules subcommittee.
Rivera walked around the practice, held at the baseball field at Kapolei High School, with his ear buds plugged into his phone. Rivera said commissioner Roger Goodell’s suggestion to abolish the extra point was among the topics discussed.
Shop ’til you drop: Chicago Bears second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery, a former South Carolina standout, apparently hasn’t been hitting the tourist traps during his first Pro Bowl experience.
Jeffery said the highlight of his week has been “going to the mall with my girlfriend,” who was standing next to Jeffery while he spoke with reporters.
But Jeffery later said he’s enjoyed “just waking up every morning with a great view” of the Pacific Ocean.
Jeffery, who ranked sixth in the league with 1,421 receiving yards, has Bears receiver Brandon Marshall on Team (Jerry) Rice with him. Jeffery has played for a couple of offensive-minded coaches in South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier and the Bears’ Marc Trestman, although he said the two have different personalities.
Dysfunction Island: After the strict and strange, two-year regime of former Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano ended in December, Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis said he was glad the Bucs hired a proven coach in Lovie Smith.
“I heard he’s a good guy. He’s going to let us play,” Revis said. “We’re excited to have him.”
Schiano, the former Rutgers coach, didn’t let the Bucs do much of anything. His military-like approach rubbed players the wrong way, according to Revis.
“That’s how he wanted to run it. He wanted to discipline guys and that’s how he ran it,” Revis said. “At the same time, he was the boss so we had to do what he said.”
Revis, traded to Tampa Bay from the Jets last April, was glad to see the page turn on 2013.
“We went 4-12 and it was a terrible season for us,” he said. “But the good thing is a new year starts and we’ve got a new coach, so it’s a new beginning for us.”
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