This started as a comment on HotHot's "In Theory: Shawn Watson's Offensive Philosophy" post, but was getting a little long. Now it is a FanPost.
We don't know exactly what's happening with the Offensive Coordinator position right now. Is Sanford going to remain on staff? Is Shawn Waston the new OC or just calling plays for the time being? Will we hire someone new in the offseason?
My first reaction, which a lot of you share, is this unusual and a little disconcerting. We're four games into the second rebuilding season. We all knew this is when we'd feel the worst of Kragthorpe's recruiting "strategy." Shouldn't Sanford, just like Strong and the rest of the coaches, be given at least a couple years to get talent and experience in place before making coaching changes?
Yes, the offense this year sucks. It wasn't great last year, but expectations were awful low and the offense was much improved compared to the previous year. And let's be honest, as the Marshall game painfully showed, offense wasn't our only problem. Everyone played and coached poorly. Penalties were equally bad on both sides of the ball. Intensity and urgency lacked on both the offense and defense.
The thought I've been dancing around this morning is "Was Watson brought in for this exact contingency?" Did Strong see something coming last season which prompted him to go out and get an "in-case-shit" OC? Because while performance on the field may have started pushing Sanford towards, it couldn't be the only reason. Whatever precipitated this change was about personality.
Obviously there was some sort of disagreement among the coaching staff this week. We do not, and may not, know exactly what happened, but I'm guessing it wasn't just about performance. A fair assumption would be either a philosophical difference reached a tipping point or Sanford was Exhibit A in Strong's case that the coaches were lacking passion and urgency. I think it's probably a combination of both, leaning towards the latter.
Thinking that way, perhaps Watson taking the role is less about scheme and more about attitude. Being content vs. pursuing the future. Because either way, new linemen aren't going to appear on the field today and we're still going to have a young team. A new offensive scheme will not be implemented in three days. So the best shot we have is doing more with the players we have. Perhaps Strong sees Watson as someone more capable of lighting that fire and working miracles than Sanford.
We'll see what happens today. Kick some ass Cards.