Monday, July 20, 2009

Defending Ron Turner, Part II, Turner vs. Shoop

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Bears fans have seen some pretty idiotic offensive coordinators over the last decade. Matt Cavanaugh replaced Ron Turner in 1997 and while its not completely fair to blame him for the Rick Mirer-Steve Stenstrom-Moses Moreno debacles of the 8-24 1997 and 1998 seasons, most of us don't have a kind word to say about him. Gary Crowton came in with Jauron in 1999, acted like he'd invented the spread offense, called it "the razzle dazzle," introduced the wide receiver screen (worked for about half a season, then failed miserably for Crowton, Shoop, and Shea from 1999-2004), racked up a ton of yards at first before getting stuffed the next year, failed to score very often at all, forgot that the run game existed, and exposed Cade McNown for the fraud he was before heading off to fail miserably as head coach at BYU. Terry Shea asked for a shit ton of money, then brought a massive and ineffective playbook with him, but perhaps no mistake of his is greater than inisting that Jonathan Quinn could be an effective back-up. But only one moron rouses the ire of Bears fans to nearly Wannstedtian levels of rage. That man is John Shoop.

Shoop, the former offensive quality control assistant and quarterbacks coach under Crowton, was promoted upon Crowton's resignation in 2000. Shoop called the plays for the last three games of the season, with a 24-17 win over the Patriots, a 17-0 loss to the 49ers, and a 23-20 win over the Lions. Shoop called for a balanced offense, something lacking under Crowton, as he had a 50.6/49.4 Pass-Run ratio. His offensive was cheered by fans tired of Crowtons wide receiver screens and idiotic pass plays, and it was nicknamed the "Run'n'Shoop." Head coach Dick Jauron then decided to name Shoop the offensive coordinator on a permanent basis, and the reign of stupidity began in earnest, with the continued use of the wide receiver screen and other pass plays designed to get 4-5 yards on 3rd and 10, short dives up on the middle on nearly every run play, play action quarterback draws for Kordell Stewart, and declining offensive numbers across the board. Shoop was heckled so vociferously that Jauron was Forced to move him up into the booth, and many feel Jauron's loyalty to Shoop cost him his job.

In 2007, and at various stretches last year when the Bears offense struggled, I heard several fans derisively call Ron Turner "worse than John Shoop." While they were surely exaggerating, a thorough comparison of the two should eliminate the possibility of future comparisons outright.

So where to begin with the comparison? How about the Pass-Run Ratio. Both coordinators were criticized for running run-heavy offense, and Turner certainly does, with a career 51.4-48.6 ratio (league average 54.2-45.8). Shoop actually threw the ball more often, with a 54.7-45.3 Ratio. That ratio is heavily skewed by the 2002 Bears, however, as that team was 4-12 and were forced to play from behind early and often, requiring Shoop to put it up in the air 57.8% of the time. In 2000, 2001, and 2003 Shoop was far more conservative, with Pass-Run Ratios of 50.6/49.4, 52.6/47.4, and 53.8/46.2 respectively.

Another question worth asking is how effective each coordinator's offenses were When they put the ball up in the air, and exactly how deep those passes were. Two areas that are telling in this category are Yards per Attempt and Yards Per Completion. In Turner's career, the Bears average 6.3 ypa, while Shoop's quarterbacks averaged just 5.9 ypa. When Turner's quarterbacks have completed the passes, they've gained an average of 10.8 ypc, Shoop's gained just 10.3. Turner's numbers in this category are somewhat skewed, however, by the 2005 season, when an injury to Rex Grossman forced rookie Kyle Orton into the lineup and forced Turner to scale back the playbook drastically. When the 2005 numbers are removed, the new averages show that Turner is much more willing to throw it deep with a veteran quarterback. The adjusted ypa average becomes 6.5, and the adjusted ypc becomes 11.1, nearly a full yard more than Shoop managed.

Overall, the passing game has fared much better under Turner, with a line of

2303 comp./3993 att./57.7% comp./25,268 yds/197.4ypg/147 tds/132 ints/6.3 ypa/10.8 ypc, 75.0 Rating.

Minus the aforementioned 2005 season, those numbers jump to

2084 comp./3575 att./58.3% comp./23,067 yds/205.95 ypg/136 tds/117 ints/6.5 ypa/11.1 ypc, 76.6 Rating.

The passing line under Shoop:

946 comp. /1671 att./56.6% comp./9,788 yds/191.9ypg/57 td/55 int/5.9 ypa/10.3ypc. 71.3 Rating.

In total yards and points Turner also has a significant edge, as his teams have averaged 20.1 PPG (20.7 minus 2005) and 294.5 ypg (299.99 minus 2005), and they've also converted 36% of 3rd Downs (37% minus 2005), all better marks than Shoop's 18.6 PPG, 278.4 YPG, and 33% 3rd down percentage. Under Turner's guidance the Bears have scored at least 20 points 62 times, at least 30 points 24 times, and at least 40 points 5 times. Under Shoop they managed 20 points a respectable 29 times, but had just four games of 30 points, and never scored 40.

Last, but not least, a look at the win loss records of both coordinators. Although there are far more telling statistics than W-L record for coaches, it is still important to note that Turner is 72-56 as the Bears' offensive coordinator (40-24 under Lovie, 32-32 under Wannstedt), while Shoop was 26-25 (11-21 in 2002-2003). So, Bears fans, whatever frustrations you may have with Ron Turner, at least don't insult the man with a comparison to Shoop.