The Cincinnati Bengals are betting on David Shula to put the zip back into their passing attack.
The Bengals hired Shula away from the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday to be wide receivers coach. He'll replace Mike Stock, who is taking over for retiring tight ends coach Bill "Tiger" Johnson."He's been around a lot of good coaches," Bengals coach Sam Wyche said of Shula. "And he's been around a lot of systems, so he's not a dyed-in-the-wool one-system type coach. We like that flexibility."
Shula, the 31-year-old son of Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula, will have his work cut out for him in Cincinnati.
The Bengals averaged 226.1 passing yards a game two years ago under former offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet, who worked hard with receivers. After Coslet left to coach the New York Jets, the Bengals' average dropped to 183.9 passing yards per game this year.
"When Sam first talked to me about the job, I was interested because of the reputation that the Bengals have and because of what Sam does with the offense here," Shula said. "The offense is on the cutting edge of what is being done in the NFL."
Shula, who spent a year as a wide receiver for the Baltimore Colts, began his coaching career in 1982 under his father. He worked with Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino when Marino set NFL passing records in 1984 and 1986.
During two years with Dallas, Shula was demoted from offensive coordinator to quarterbacks coach, and then to passing game coordinator on Jan. 9. The Cowboys were last in the NFL in points scored.
With Cincinnati, Shula will be responsible for coaching receivers and will assist in developing the game plan and calling plays during games, Bengals assistant general manager Mike Brown said.
"We think he's a good young coach that should fit us well," Brown said. "We think he'll be a good help to us."