In his first season as Carolina's offensive coordinator in 2011, Rob Chudzinski directed an offensive turnaround as the Panthers set team records for total yards (6,237) and first downs (345) one year after experiencing franchise lows in both categories. Their 48 touchdowns scored were the second most in team history, also one year after recording a franchise low. The Panthers jumped from last in total yards to seventh in the league - the biggest improvement in offensive ranking since St. Louis improved 26 spots from 27th in 1998 to first in 1999.
The centerpiece of Chudzinski's offense was rookie quarterback Cam Newton, who became the first player in NFL history to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 500 yards in a single season. Another weapon in Chudzinski's offense was veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, who produced his first 1,000-yard receiving season since 2008 and helped the Panthers lead the league in explosive plays of 20 or more yards with 90. The running game was equally effective as the Panthers became the first team in NFL history to have three players with 700 or more yards in the same season: running back DeAngelo Williams (836), running back Jonathan Stewart (761) and Newton (706), who set an NFL record for quarterbacks with 14 rushing touchdowns.
Chudzinski followed head coach Ron Rivera from the San Diego Chargers to Carolina to be the Panthers offensive coordinator. In 17 previous seasons as an NFL and college assistant, he had success leading offenses and earned a reputation for developing tight ends.
As the Chargers' tight ends and assistant head coach in 2010, Chudzinski helped San Diego rank first in the NFL in total offense with an average of 395.6 yards per game and second in scoring with an average of 27.6 points per game.
Tight end Antonio Gates excelled during both of Chudzinski's two-year stints on the Chargers coaching staff from 2005-06 and 2009-10. Gates made his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl in 2010, one year after producing a career-high 1,157 yards. In 2005, Chudzinski's first season as San Diego's tight ends coach, Gates registered the only other 1,000-yard receiving season of his career with 1,101 yards on a career-high 89 receptions.
In between Chudzinski's stints with the Chargers, he served as the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator for two seasons. In 2007, the Browns won 10 games - their most wins since 1994 - and Chudzinski's offense played a key role in the team's success. Cleveland ranked eighth in the league in total offense and scoring, accumulating 5,621 net yards and 402 points.
Four players went to the Pro Bowl: quarterback Derek Anderson, wide receiver Braylon Edwards, tackle Joe Thomas and tight end Kellen Winslow II. Anderson threw 29 touchdowns, while Edwards and Winslow combined with running back Jamal Lewis to give the Browns two 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher.
Chudzinski began his pro coaching career as Cleveland's tight ends coach in 2004 and worked with Winslow, the team's top draft choice. He was elevated to offensive coordinator for the final five games of the season under interim head coach Terry Robiskie after the resignation of head coach Butch Davis.
From 1994-2003, Chudzinski spent 10 years as an assistant at his alma mater, the University of Miami (Fla.): three seasons as offensive coordinator, five as tight ends coach and two as a graduate assistant.
During his three years as offensive coordinator, he guided a unit that went 12-0 and won the national championship in 2001 and set school records for points, total yards and rushing touchdowns the next season. In addition, Chudzinski worked with numerous future NFL players, including them wide receiver Andre Johnson, running backs Frank Gore, Willis McGahee and Clinton Portis, tackle Bryant McKinnie and quarterback Ken Dorsey.
Promoted from graduate assistant to tight ends coach in 1996, Miami's tight ends flourished under Chudzinski's tutelage. He mentored Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey and Winslow, all of whom were All-Americans and became first-round draft picks and Pro Bowl players in the NFL.
A three-year starter at tight end for Miami (Fla.) from 1986-90, Chudzinski played on national championship teams in 1987 and 1989. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1990 and added a master's degree in business administration in 1996.
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