A few points and counterpoints:
First of all, I do not claim to know the answer, but I have been around the game my entire life as a player, coach, and fan. Here is what I have learned in response to these issues:
`1. People are concerned because Shula has a conservative history.
a. Shula's Tide and Shula's Bucs had no real QB. Historically, here at Carolina and everywhere else, you get conservative when you do not have a strong QB.
b. People in the NFL die on the vine if they do not evolve. People are comparing his offense at Tampa when the focus there and league-wide was on defense. Shula never had more than a game manager and that is what he was told to do.
c. Shula was a QB who coached Cam for 2 years. His job, for 40 games (including the preseason) has been to focus on Cam Newton. This is the reason he was retained and it is not a small reason. He has spent thousands of hours watching Cam Newton. He knows Cam's quirks, his strengths and weaknesses better than anyone on the planet. As Cam goes, this offense goes. As Cam goes, the Panthers go.
d. IF we get more conservative, that is not a bad thing. We were three and out a lot last year. Our defense got tired, which is why we sucked in the fourth quarter. Silatolu and Kugbila (I think he will start) will be better as run blocking. We have Tolbert, Barner, DWill, and Stewart. Play action would make the offense harder to defend. Stop the run, then the pass, then the QB from running. Watch Tolbert and Barner in the flats, cover the TE with 4.5 speed, double Smitty, and still contain the 250 lb running QB---a nightmare. If you take the run element out, the Panthers are defendable. Think about last year--how many yards did Double Trouble get? When this team has succeeded, they have run the football. 25 yard pass completions are nice, but give me five, five-yard runs instead. That is ball control, resting the defense, and when you have the ball, their team does not.
e. Do not judge Shula by what he did 13 years ago with QBs like Dilfer and King. Would you open up the offense with Altstott and Dunn in the backfield?