The Panthers will decide among three candidates to fill their offensive coordinator's role – each a former head coach.

Panthers quarterbacks coach Mike Shula, former Cleveland coach Pat Shurmur and ex-Oakland coach Hue Jackson are the three finalists, a source with knowledge of the search told the Observer on Thursday.

The Panthers had considered bringing in other candidates to replace Rob Chudzinski, who bolted for Cleveland last week to become the Browns' coach. Former Arizona Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt was mentioned as a possible target.

Instead, the Panthers decided to interview the two external candidates and Shula, the former Alabama coach who has drawn praise for his work with Cam Newton. Shula met with coach Ron Rivera and new general manager Dave Gettleman on Wednesday, according to the source.

Promoting Shula would allow the Panthers to make the most seamless transition. The Panthers want to run an offense similar to the one employed by Chudzinski, who combined a downfield passing attack with a zone-read package to take advantage of Newton's running ability.