As I know you're an old school guy (read your reviews on varying websites over the years) so I know your knowledge and passion for comics past is near legendary. This means I know you're able to make a prescient point.
I agree both writers had ups and downs, in fact most writers do. I've only known three writers who have an extended stay on a comic (over two years) that was as strong at the end as it was at the beginning.
1. The first Layton/Micheliene run on Iron Man - started with Demon in A Bottle and ended with fighting Doctor Doom in Camelot.
2. J.M. De Matties run on Captain America - started off with a brutal run in with Baron Heinrich Zemo ended with him killing the Red Skull.
3. Roger Stern's run on Avengers - Started off by creating Monica Rambeau's version of Captain Marvel and ended with the Avengers Mansion siege by the biggest Masters of Evil team ever, run by Baron Zemo.
All during Jim Shooters editorial fiefdom. The irony of him giving me my three favorite runs when I believe he was a officious martinet is quite ironic.