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Ron Rivera is all-in with offensive coordinator Mike Shula

The Panthers have shown they can compete with elite teams this season, but a blowout loss to the Bears is a cause for concern.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera promoted Mike Shula from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator in 2013, when his own job was under scrutiny.

And he’s apparently going to continue to repay the loyalty.

Via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, Rivera defended his play-caller, after his team lost to a team whose quarterback completed four passes Sunday.

Asked if he was happy with the team’s play-calling, Rivera was clear.

I’m happy with what we’re doing. Again, just watch the game and see what’s happening. OK?” Rivera said. “But I’m happy with what we’re doing.”

It was the second time this year the Panthers failed to score a touchdown, and they had a pair of turnovers become long defensive touchdowns for the Bears. Quarterback Cam Newton turned it over three times, and admitted after the game things needed to get better.

One step apparently will include simplifying things, as they’re now realizing that adding significant new parts to an offense that the quarterback couldn’t practice with all offseason because of shoulder surgery is an issue. While Newton was recovering, the Panthers signed an expensive left tackle and spent their first two draft picks on skill players who had hypothetical roles unlike any the Panthers had previously used.

“We’re in a situation now where you’ve got so many new guys as you’re going through this communication, it takes a little bit to register,” Rivera said.

Rivera has stood by Shula staunchly over the years, though he hired Ron Turner as an offensive consultant late in the offseason, and the only logical reason to hire a Ron Turner in June is so you’d have an interim coordinator in case things went off the rails.

Rivera obviously doesn’t think they’re there yet. And if he doesn’t now, you have to wonder if he ever will.