Third downs get such a bum rap.
One of these days, we hope, Pete Carroll and his coaches will realize third-down success starts on first down. They never seem to get that, constantly droning on after losses about how third downs ruined their offense.
It was more of the same after the 24-22 playoff loss to Dallas, with Carroll telling anyone who would listen that their failure on 11 of 13 third downs was what did them in — as opposed to any play-calling mistakes on the preceding downs.
Brian Schottenheimer continued the refrain Thursday, telling 710 ESPN: “The biggest issue that we had — and it was kind of the issue for us throughout the course of the year when we struggled – was third down. We weren’t able to convert on third downs. We weren’t able to get momentum going. We’re kind of an offense, because we run the ball and we throw the deep play passes, that when you’re struggling on third down it kind of hurts your ability to get started.”
It’s true the Hawks put themselves in big holes on third down; they averaged third-and-8 and went three-and-out six times in 12 possessions.
But how do you get into trouble on third down? How do you get into a spot that is too challenging to overcome? By messing up on first and second downs. And the Seattle offense finished the season just as poorly as it started it.
Continue reading Coaches talk third-down failure, but it starts on first two downs
“The Seahawks are going to be a running team as long as Pete Carroll is the coach. If you can’t handle that then you probably should pick another team to root for.” — Bob Condotta on Twitter
Condotta is right: Pete Carroll is not going to change his philosophy — or his offensive coordinator. Nor should he.
Unlike some fans, we have no issue with Carroll’s overall tactic of controlling the game with the run and great defense. This is the same philosophy that took the Seahawks to two Super Bowls, and Carroll is very confident it will take them back.
But he will evaluate how the first year with Brian Schottenheimer went, and they hopefully will improve their in-game adjustments so they can avoid the kind of unnecessary playoff loss they just experienced in Dallas.
As Carroll said, “We have to adjust a little bit quicker.”
Continue reading Carroll’s Hawks will run, but they ‘have to adjust a little bit quicker’
When Pete Carroll hired Brian Schottenheimer to be his new offensive coordinator a year ago, skepticism was rampant. Many people thought he had made a lateral (or worse) move from Darrell Bevell.
We withheld judgment until after this season. Well, after poor scheming cost the Seahawks four games, ending with a 24-22 wild-card loss to Dallas, the doubters sure look like they could be right.
And how ironic the way it unfolded.
Carroll and Schottenheimer didn’t run the ball enough in the first two games of the season, losses in Denver and Chicago where Russell Wilson was under assault. Seattle committed to the run the rest of the season and ended up the No. 1 rushing team in the league as they won 10 of the final 14 games.
They took that rushing mentality into Dallas against the fourth-ranked run defense, but they could not run. Passing yards were clearly there for the taking, but Schottenheimer refused to take them.
Continue reading Shoddy finish to Schotty’s first season
As usual at playoff time, the injury list gets pretty small. Pete Carroll said J.R. Sweezy “has got a good chance.”
Earl Thomas had two picks against Dallas in Week 3, when the Cowboys did not yet have Amari Cooper. Bobby Wagner said the Hawks have adjusted to losing “a great, great player” and the only new thing about Dallas’ offense is Cooper, who “changes your offense.”
But which version of Cooper are the Seahawks going to see?
The last time Cooper played the Seahawks was in London when he was still with Oakland. He didn’t last long — knocked out by Bradley McDougald.
Carroll said Jerry Jones’ massive AT&T Stadium feels like a nightclub.
Well, that finale against Arizona wasn’t pretty. But this is all that matters: The Seahawks are headed to Dallas for a playoff game Saturday.
The last time they faced the Cowboys, the Hawks were just rediscovering Pete Carroll’s long lost preferred formula for winning.
It worked in that Week 3 game: The Seahawks hit the magic 50 (runs and completions), were plus-three in turnover differential and won the third-down battle in a 24-13 victory in Seattle.
The Seahawks didn’t run the ball very well (2.9 yards per carry), but they kept pounding it anyway (39 times) and Russell Wilson took advantage of some coverage holes for a pair of TD passes.
“We didn’t really kill it that day. We had a hard game against those guys,” Carroll said. “I think Chris (Carson) rushed 32 times in that game for 100 yards. That wasn’t what became a little bit more standard, what we were shooting for during the season, but it was a step in the right direction and the commitment came through. We were just getting started.”
Continue reading Roster review as Hawks prep for Dallas