Repulsive nucleon-nucleon correlations tend to reduce the dependence of pion-nucleus elastic scattering upon the off-shell pion-nucleon dynamics. However, optical potential calculations can in practice be quite sensitive to the particular choice of off-shell model parameters. It is argued that this sensitivity results from the nature of the optical potential as a one-body operator which introduces extra off-shell dependence not found in physical many-body process itself. Thus, one must be very careful in any attempt to extract correlation or off-shell information, or to predict pion-nucleus phase shifts, by means of an optical potential theory. Results of model calculations are presented for purposes of illustration.