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Steve Smith: Chudzinski was problem

Carolina Panthers veteran wide receiver Steve Smith said some of the team's problems on offense last season were caused by former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, now the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

"The prior offensive coordinator [Chudzinski] really was positioning himself to just apply for that head coaching job," Smith said Wednesday on a conference call with Seattle Seahawks reporters. "I think our offense suffered a little bit because of that.''

Smith, 34, a five-time Pro Bowler, felt Chudzinski had the Panthers get away from some of their strengths last season.

"At times, we got cute," Smith said. "We did things that weren't necessarily us, like the underutilizing of [running back] Mike Tolbert. But we're out of that. The past is the past."

Mike Shula, the former Alabama coach who was Carolina's quarterbacks coach last season, is the club's new offensive coordinator.

"I think Coach Shula is going to change things up, and he has so far," Smith said. "He just does little different things. Some of it looks small, but we're focusing more on the details, and that's the difference."