We’re two preseason games into Seattle’s new offensive era, and the reviews on Brian Schottenheimer and Mike Solari have been pretty glowing so far.
Last week, Pete Carroll reiterated that one of his concerns about the old offense was that coaches were starting to “jam our players into the system” rather than play to their strengths.
The obvious example there is Jimmy Graham, who was forced to become a blocker and was not used downfield as well as he should have been. But Carroll also meant the offensive linemen. As he said in May, “We needed to shift gears a bit to match up with the guys we have here.”
Well, after two preseason games, they seem to be making progress.
Even though they had trouble finishing off drives against the Chargers, Russell Wilson and company moved the ball very well against a good defense. Schottenheimer dialed up a handful of deep passes (Wilson hit Jaron Brown and David Moore a couple of times each), mixing them with Chris Carson’s powerful running, and the Hawks drove into the red zone on their first three possessions.
Some protection issues and Carson’s fumble on the 1 cost them touchdowns, but Carroll was at least pleased with the way they moved the ball. And the issues in pass protection against star rusher Melvin Ingram did not diminish Carroll’s opinion of the progress his line has made.
“I really think we are much more solid than we’ve been (at this point in the past),” he said.
A big reason: Solari has kept the same starting five all camp, something Tom Cable hadn’t done for several years. Wilson said the Seahawks have had the same line for the first time since 2013, “and that consistency is huge.”
Meanwhile, Schottenheimer’s scheme tweaks have brought the creativity Carroll wanted. Tyler Lockett appreciates it.
“I think it’s allowed me to be able to play my game a lot more,” Lockett told 710 ESPN. “Being able to be more patient, being able to set people up more – kinda do some of the things that I was doing at Kansas State, because I have more time, especially when I’m in a slot to be able to pick and choose which way I want to go and how I want to run certain things. I think that’s the thing that kinda brings out a lot of my game.”
Carroll told KJR, “I think we’re going to be able to fit the diverse things that we’re doing to the people that we have even more than we have in the past. I kind of felt like we were starting to jam our guys into the system as opposed to using the players for what they could do.
“This is something that Schotty has brought us,” Carroll added. “He’s got a diverse, diverse, big-time background with all kinds of systems. He has a tremendous brain in that he can see what we’ve done, take that into account … and help us piece together the kind of offense we think can really feature the guys we have.”
Wilson has definitely bought in.
“I really, really like what we’re doing,” the QB said after the loss to L.A. “I think coach Mike Solari is doing a great job with the offensive line, and I think coach Schottenheimer is dialing up the play. You guys saw how fast we were moving the ball up and down the field. You’re talking about one play here, one play there, and the score is 21-7 against a really good football team. … I feel really confident about who we have and what we’re doing.”