It has certainly worked before, and the Carolina Panthers are hoping the pairing of quarterback Cam Newton with an up-tempo offense can succeed again.
Head coach Ron Rivera discussed new offensive coordinator Mike Shula's plan to speed up the Panthers' offense in 2013 in a report from Jonathan Jones of The Charlotte Observer on Thursday, and it starts with making the play calls themselves easier and quicker to communicate. With that adjustment, the idea is to get Newton and the offense up to the line quicker.
"We want to be up-tempo," Rivera said in the report. The transition to a faster pace started after former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski left Carolina to take the Cleveland Browns' head coaching job. Shula was hired in January.
In the article, Rivera said Shula's ability thus far to whittle down complicated play calls has been important:
"I think it's a mouthful ... Now what you've done is you've taken these words and you've grouped them together. That was the whole idea. If this means this, and this means this with these two together, then let's just combine those.
"And that's kind of what they've started to do. They're really shortened the calls a lot simpler. The less you have to memorize, the easier it is."
Newton is also noted in the report as being an advocate for easier-to-say plays. And he's already proven how much he can thrive in an up-tempo offense. In his lone season with the Auburn Tigers in 2010, Newton, playing in then-offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn's offense, heavily predicated on speed to the line and an overall fast pace, basically set the college football world on fire for an entire season.
Averaging 360.7 yards per game offensively, Carolina ranked 12th in the league last season. Scoring was sometimes as issue, however, as the Panthers were tied for 18th in the NFL, averaging 22.3 points per game. This was a drop-off from Newton's rookie season, when the team scored 25.4 points per game (tied for fifth in the league) and piled up 389.8 yards per game, good for seventh in the NFL that year.