Imagine what they might end up doing with this spectacular-looking crew.
Nothing about the 2014 offense looks incomplete or out of sync — not after Russell Wilson and company rattled off 11 scoring drives in 13 possessions in the preseason. They had scoring drives of 74, 78, 62, 67, 61, 89 and 83 yards in blowout wins over San Diego and Chicago and finished with an easy four-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in Wilson’s only series against Oakland.
Granted, it was just the preseason, but the Hawks look ready to step on the gas this season and put 2013’s sputtering performance in the rear-view mirror.
Wilson has been stellar, looking like the dynamic dual threat who dominated late in the 2012 season and singlehandedly rallied his team from a 20-0 deficit in the second half of the playoff game in Atlanta.
Wilson was efficient in 2013, but he too often was running for his life behind a blocking line that was without its starting tackles for half the season and was rotating players at left guard.
Against Chicago, the Hawks had their starting line healthy for the first time this season, and Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin displayed the disparate talents that could make them the NFL’s top QB-RB-WR troika this season.
“I think we’re so versatile right now,” Wilson said after the Hawks hammered the Bears 34-6. “It’s really hard to play defense against us.”
The first drive against Chicago provided a sample of just how efficient and effective the Hawks can be behind Wilson, Lynch, Harvin and company this season.
Wilson scrambled for three yards on first down, and Lynch added three. Then Wilson found Jermaine Kearse for 17 yards for a first down. Lynch ran for six, and on the next third down Wilson hit Harvin for 25 yards. Lynch finished it off with a 7-yard touchdown run.
In one drive, the Hawks showed the dual pass-run threat of Wilson, the elite speed and shiftiness of Harvin and the power, savvy and quick feet of Lynch.
The Hawks had a great running game last season (fourth in the NFL), but Harvin should be an upgrade over Golden Tate, helping Kearse and Doug Baldwin in a passing game that appears ready to help the Hawks score a lot more points.
“We want to use our players the best we can,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell told reporters Monday. “We’re based on running the football and handing the ball off to Marshawn, and that’s still where it’s going to start. We want to be a physical football team and be able to dictate to the defense what we want to do and play that physical type of ball. We’ve upgraded our skill positions; we love our wideouts, we love our tight ends. There is good skill there, so we still want to make sure that we’re able to get them involved. “
It all starts with Wilson.
“He’s in great control of what’s going on,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s very, very comfortable. He’s playing faster than he has at any time. He understands better what we want. He really can play on the expectations of getting the ball out of his hands quickly and making sure that he can control rushing in that regard. He’s in tune with that better than ever. We have a large package of stuff that we can bring into a game plan that we’ve feel like we have command of.”
Asked if Wilson has taken a bigger step than expected from Year 2 to Year 3, Carroll said, “I’m thrilled about what we are seeing. I didn’t know how much farther he would go from that year to this year. It seems like he is really, really in control of what’s happening, so we will see if that translates, and it should. I would think he’s been so sharp, I hate to tell him that I’m a little surprised of him doing well, but maybe that’s the case.”
Check out more of Carroll’s thoughts about his roster.