A lot of posters seem to feel that Shula's offense will be productive, if not prolific. They cite the enthusiastic comments from players, particularly Cam.
I tend to be a student of history. Here are Shula's offensive numbers as a coordinator and head coach:
Total offense: 28th, 29th, 22nd, 28th
Scoring offense: 30th, 23rd, 18th, 27th
Alabama (03-06) (head coach, but the team ran his offense and he had a lot of influence over OC Dave Rader)
Total offense: 79th, 94th, 67th, 65th (out of 117)
Scoring offense: 69th, 64th, 85th, 68th
In eight years where he has been directly or ultimately responsible for an offense, he has never hit even the midpoint of these two key metrics.
Some would say that with strong defenses at both Tampa and Alabama, the offensive philosophy was necessarily tailored towards ball control and conservative play. Some would say that he was limited in terms of offensive talent. Some would say he's never had a player with Cam's physical talent.
Those may be valid points, to a degree. But here we have a guy who is almost 50 years old, doing something he hasn't done (indirectly) in 7 years and directly in 14 years. Aside from Cam, he has (collectively) average talent at best, and he won't have the luxury of a defense that will allow him to just put 14 on the board and win a game. It's illogical to me that he could be expected to be successful at it, because he never has been, regardless of whether he was ever really called upon to be successful at it. In the NFL, gameday success doesn't fall into your lap in mid-life just because you can write a playbook.
I agree that it's too early to draw any definitive conclusions, but I don't agree that it's too early to be concerned, perhaps deeply concerned. Shula has never led an offense, college or pro, that was anything other than decidedly below average in points and yardage. You can argue that was a result of relying on strong defenses, but knowledge doesn't easily translate into results in the NFL. The sidelines of college teams and insurance agencies are littered with guys who could light up an NFL coaches' meeting room with all manner of impressive technical output, but who couldn't take that knowledge and put it to winning purpose on Sundays with the pressure squarely on their shoulders. I don't think this team can win with the quality of offense Shula has run his entire career---I don't think Cam's good enough to save them, I don't think the defense is good enough to overcome a mediocre offense on more than a few occasions, and I don't think Ron is good enough to avoid a third straight slow start to the season whereby the playoff picture is effectively blacked out by mid-October.
No outside coach with OC experience (and any sort of established reputation) is going to think for a minute about the job. Ron is widely viewed around the league as being in his last year absent a miracle that is highly unlikely to occur. You can forget about Mularkey, Whis, whomever. For better or worse---worse, most likely----Shula will be promoted.
Posted by scratchy1
on 19 November 2012 - 05:14 PM
You guys calling Rivera a "POS" and similar names need to get a life. I don't like the team's performance any more than the rest of you, and I agree that Ron should be fired at the end of the season absent some sort of miraculous turnaround. But Ron is a gentleman, has treated everyone in the organization--and I mean EVERYONE, top to bottom--with decency and respect, and has done nothing to bring shame on himself or the team. He may or may not be NFL head coach material--sometimes a different situation can be a new lease on life. But no one can deny that he's been a successful NFL coach, and that he's a good man who works his butt off and sincerely cares about his players. That won't be enough to save his job, but it ought to be enough to persuade you to take a respectful tone and understand that failure in business does not equate to moral or ethical lapse.