While we’ve been pondering the changes to the coaching structure I’ve been wondering about some of the patterns of the past season(s). There were a lot of patterns of play that emerged during the season that weren't discussed since Shanahan’s firing and the subsequent coaching search took over the news. I’d like to take a few minutes to look back at what was and to consider starting to plot a course out of the wilderness on the offensive and defensive positions. Starting with the one that we’ll probably (hopefully) change the least - offense - what do you see as the most important changes we have to make – or not make – by position?
QB – Bates and Cutler have a great relationship, but is Bates too inexperienced to groom Cutler without a guiding hand that can improve his decision-making? I think he is, and some of his play calling seemed suspect as well. Can he use a running game the right way to help Jay? And, do we draft a 2nd QB or will Hackney mature into someone usable?
O line – Is the zone blocking scheme going to stay? I think that most posters would agree that it should, but since Alex Gibbs left it seems to have diminished a little. With Weigmann in his last year(s), is there another direction we should look at, starting with our next center? Ten Tigers is a possible center, but also a great guard option. A lot of scouts preferred him there (being thrust into a game with no prep wasn’t a fair try-out – he was excellent in preseason), so we have decisions to make regardless. I was surprised that Hamilton was the weak link at times - do we consider a change? (A quick note on Tigers: His blocking consistency grade of 85.45% was the highest mark of any active NCAA center (grades compiled by The NFL Draft Report)...He averaged eight key blocks/knockdowns per game during his career...On 3,243 offensive snaps over four years, he allowed only one quarterback pressure and was penalized just four times during his career. So - guard or center?)
RB – Whether or not we keep Bobby Turner is up to the next OC and/or HC. Can we agree that you can’t plug anyone in and have them gain 1000 yards anymore, even if they aren’t cut down by bizarre injuries? What role is the RB position going to play in the next year(s)? Finally, is Tatum Bell going to return?
WR/TE – Why are our receivers dropping so many passes? Looking at some film slips, er, clips of how many and when, we might have lost at least one game (and hence the division title) because of this. Is this a coaching problem or something else?
TE – Do we draft or trade for a third TE or are Jackson and Mustard sufficient insurance? With Scheffler’s injury history, I can’t see losing him and his connection with Cutler but we might want to bolster this position in the draft or FA.
Thanks for helping me out. Any thoughts on scheme, coach or players would be appreciated.