I have never really bought the concept of head coaches being "offense guys" or "defense guys". True as it may be that head coaches have the final say on playcalling, a lot of head guys around the league don't get in the way of great coordinators. The problem in Carolina is that we've never really had even adequate coordinators with rare exception. A lot of us still pine for Jack Del Rio's defense from 2002 but who can we say other than Del Rio has been a star at the offensive coordinator position? Chud? Prior to Chud we had Jeff Davidson and Dan Henning for a decade.
Take for example John Fox and the dreaded "foxball era", we had here. Last year the Broncos had the 5th best offense in the NFL and this year they have the 2nd. He trusted Mike McCoy to make his own calls and they passed the ball 585 times. Much different than the 3 yards and a cloud of dust first and second downs we had here. So far this year even with McCoy's departure, they're sitting at 45 points per game through the first two games.
There has to be trust all the way down the line in the system. Carolina going with old time football guys who defer to the head coach on all matters is giving the head coach too much to think about. That's why I think the dynamic with Chud worked well here, because he had his own plans and he called what he thought would work and Rivera wasn't meddlesome. Now we have the best offense on paper we've had in a while and to the surprise of nobody Mike Shula can't make heads or tails of it. He has taken Cam's best asset, his improvisational running, and neutered him. Cam the past two seasons has averaged 50 first downs per season and this year he only has 4 so far and is getting about half as many carries. The reason that "option QB's", have never worked in the NFL before this recent fad came about was that coaches of Shula's era always attempted to make them pocket quarterbacks and thereby negated their strengths. The ideology of you'll never be a true QB until you drop back 30 times a game has died in this league but there are people out there still trying to keep it alive. The dinosaurs. We have one running our offense. Love him or hate him, Chud entirely disregarded the fact that Cam wasn't as strong in the pocket as other QB's and creatively called plays that allowed him to utilize his very particular set of skills. We don't have that anymore.
With that said, Rivera has done an awful job with the lead in football games. And a lot of that has to do with the fact that when we had the lead in close games down the stretch, our playcalling would change entirely. It was like a flip was switched to shut off the power. We started playing boring grind-the-clock football and we're not equipped to play that style. We don't have a back that can get 4 yards a touch in those situations. We're just as likely to lose yards as gain them between the tackles. Now, with Shula, we're playing that style of football for 4 quarters instead of exclusively with the lead. And we wonder what's going wrong?
I want the next hire we make to have limited control over his coordinators. I want the coordinators to do their jobs and be accountable. I want us to give them enough power to keep them here. We have most of the pieces we need on the field, we just need the play calls to match the talent.