DeAngelo Williams criticizes former Panthers OC Rob Chudzinski

Tom Szczerbowski

The Panthers running back claimed his early success in 2013 can be credited to Chudzinski's departure for Cleveland, and trolled his former offensive coordinator for the Trent Richardson trade while he was at it.

DeAngelo Williams believes his hot start to the 2013 season can be credited to the departure of his former offensive coordinator, Rob Chudzinski, according to David Newton of ESPN.

Having piled up 291 rushing yards through the first three weeks, the third-highest total in the league, the Carolina Panthers running back said he has flourished in the absence of Chudzinski. Chudzinski left Carolina after the 2012 season to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

After qualifying that he wasn't going to "start anything or push anything out there," Williams started something and pushed something out there when asked about the factors behind his early success:

"I can say this, though -- a different offensive coordinator. I can definitely say that. The last offensive coordinator got rid of his starting running back."

The statement about getting rid of his running back is a jab at Chudzinski's role in the Trent Richardson deal, which sent the Browns' top offensive player and 2012 first-round draft pick to the Indianapolis Colts last week and drew hefty criticism from around the league.

Williams, who rushed for 120 yards in a 38-0 beat down of the New York Giants last Sunday, then launched into a defensive lecture over what taking a shot entails:

"Did I take a shot? Or did I speak facts? A shot is just like it can be factual but it's really not. That was all facts. I wasn't taking a shot at him -- he knows what he's doing."

You can argue over the semantics of Williams's assertion, but it is obvious that his workload has increased with Chudzinski out of Carolina. According to ESPN, Williams has carried the ball at least 17 times in each of the Panthers' first three games. He received 17 carries in a game only three times during the entirety of last season under Chudzinski.

Williams is not the first Panther to criticize Chudzinski this year. Wideout Steve Smith had his own choice comments about his former coach before the season opener.

"The prior offensive coordinator really was positioning himself to just apply for that head coaching job. I think our offense suffered a little bit because of that," Smith said, adding that the offense was "too cute" and under-utilized running back Mike Tolbert.

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