Patriots South?

New offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson won three Super Bowl rings working as an assistant coach under Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis with the New England Patriots, so he readily admits there will be some Patriots influence in what the Carolina Panthers do on offense this year.

But while he'll apply many of the things he learned from his mentor Weis, Davidson said it's important to evaluate this team's strengths and finds ways to utilize them.

"What I would like to do is use my background and the information I learned while I was there (in New England), but I want to create the Carolina offense," said Davidson, who spent eight years with the Patriots before leaving for the Cleveland Browns in 2005. "When we start talking through this with the coaches first and then with the players later, from the first time we walk on the field I want to make sure the players feel like this is OUR offense.

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"I can tell you this. With the background I have in this offense, there is enough flexibility in the system to get this to where this is our offense and do the things we're capable of doing and get good at it by week one. If that requires us running in a power-type running game we will do that and we will find the guys that are capable of doing that. If we aren't capable of doing that we will find a different way. But we are going to be a tough-minded football team. That doesn't always mean it's power running, but there is in an attitude we're trying to create with the running game."
-- Panthers offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson on using running backs DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams.

"This is not New England's offense and Carolina is running it, it's going to be Carolina's offense and we developed it."

That, said Davidson, could mean some adjustments as he goes through the process of learning his personnel.

"This is not a dictatorship," he said. "We will find what is best for us. There is flexibility in the system and I have flexibility in the ways I coach.

"There's a lot of people that come in and will say, 'We're only going to run the ball,' and there are guys that will come in say they're going to throw the ball. To me, it's not going to be 50-50, but it's going to be pretty close. I think it's important that we're able to take advantage of teams that are willing to play eight in the box against us. I don't know what we have to sit there and just beat our heads against the wall running the ball. We have to be able to threaten all three levels of the field in the passing game (short, intermediate and deep routes) and also have that toughness I want to instill in this offense. When we come out of games, we want the defense we play against to know that we were the more physical team."

Davidson was asked what brought him to Carolina.

"The most important thing in my mind was the camaraderie I felt on the staff," Davidson said. "I think there's a good mix of good young coaches and more experienced coaches. There are things I feel like I can learn from this situation and there are things I can bring to this situation. So I think there's a good trade off. Just the little time I spent in the offensive room I knew there was going to be a good exchange of information. I think that's important."

Davidson said he's always had respect for coach John Fox.

"He's been here for five years now and that is something that has always stuck in my head -- that if you make a mistake you're going to lose. They are well coached and their defense has always been very good and I think that is the strength of the team," Davidson said. "I hope that we can get this to the point where we're more balanced. To me we have to understand our presence in the game and what our job is. Our job is to get conversions, make first downs and put drives together and ultimately score. That is the offense's job -- to put points on the board, not just to keep the ball away from the opponent. We want to put points on the board."

Davidson also said screen passes will be a big part of Carolina's offense.

"I love them," Davidson said. "I consider them possession passes that we will work on early and often and get it to where the timing of it is something that is second nature for our linemen and our backs."


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