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
If Russell Wilson had found his receivers more often against the 49ers, the Seahawks quite probably would have won — despite all of the other errors by players and refs in the game.
A lot has been made all season of Seattle’s renewed running game and the magic 50 number (completions plus rushes), but the X factor really has been Wilson’s targets.
Including the loss to the 49ers, Seattle has lost four games despite big rushing days and is just 7-4 when hitting the magic number, so those stats obviously have not fully predicted results.
But Wilson’s targets have: Seattle is 0-5 when under 50 percent of his throws go to his wide receivers, 8-1 when over half go to the wideouts.
Continue reading Wilson needs to throw to his receivers more
As good as the Seahawks’ defense has been over the first month, it is about to face its biggest test of the season — and that means Seattle’s offense is going to have to be a lot better than it has been if it is going to win a shootout.
Seattle ranks seventh in overall defense, fifth against the pass and sixth in takeaways — rankings built against some of the league’s poorer offenses. Now, without Earl Thomas, they go up against a Rams unit that ranks first overall and second in passing and scoring.
It’s the ideal time for Russell Wilson and company to find themselves.
Under Brian Schottenheimer, the offense still is having trouble figuring out what it wants to be when it grows up.
Continue reading Hawks need a complete game from offense
With a defense in training, the Seahawks absolutely need Russell Wilson to play his best this season. And it starts on first downs.
That’s what made it so disappointing when Seattle came up short in the opener in Denver — Wilson holding the ball too long and taking unnecessary sacks and Brian Schottenheimer doing very little to help him as the Hawks basically ran their old playbook.
Continue reading It starts on first downs
With Dontae Johnson now questionable or worse with a hip injury, it looks very possible that the Seahawks will end up starting two rookies in Denver — Tre Flowers joining Shaquem Griffin.
Flowers, a 6-3, fifth-round pick who converted from safety to corner for Seattle, played a ton in the preseason as he learned Pete Carroll’s very specific technique (kick-step, etc.). And he got a lot of up-close tutoring from the coach himself.
Continue reading Is Carroll’s project ready if needed?
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.
Continue reading Offense developing consistency, creativity
In the last two weeks, the Seahawks’ special teams have undergone a major upgrade — and they might get better yet.
Sure, the field goal game is again a question — the team apparently relying on a 40-year-old who missed last season with a back injury and can’t kick from 50 anymore. But the rest could be really strong, thanks to a new punter, another dynamic returner and potentially big rule changes.
Continue reading Special changes could net big returns
After a steady three-year slide that ended with Seattle out of the playoffs this season, Pete Carroll apparently is ready to re-forge control of his team and re-establish his principles.
Carroll recently said he plans to make his team more disciplined while rejuvenating a once-strong running game that is the identity of the offense.
To do that, he needed some new voices in his coaching staff. So he reportedly is bringing in some familiar enforcers who will command players’ attention and be loyal to Carroll’s approach to winning.
Continue reading Familiar enforcers will drive Carroll’s club
Tom Cable’s offensive line failed because it was passive and predictable and did not use the players’ skills as well as it should have, and the lack of creativity by Cable and Darrell Bevell made it easy for defenses to beat Seattle — according to some great analysis by former Seattle first-round tackle Ray Roberts on 710 ESPN.
Roberts confirmed what we have said for a long time: Cable’s zone scheme has not worked partly because the Seahawks have not incorporated enough pre-snap motion. There has been almost no misdirection to make defenses wonder what is coming.
“There’s no other thing for linebackers or defenders to read,” Roberts said of the running game. “They know exactly where it’s going and they can come right downhill and defend it.”
Continue reading O-line expert: Cable & Bevell were passive, predictable
If one positive comes from Seattle’s playoff streak ending after five years, it appears it might be Pete Carroll finally figuring out that it’s time to change some of his coaching approach (and maybe coaches).
“Unfortunately, the truth came out that you do get what you emphasize,” he said last week, admitting he has preached so much about finishing strong that he has ignored starting well. He also lamented Seattle’s team-record penalty count and poor running game and made fixes for those issues his offseason priorities.
Continue reading Will missing playoffs motivate Carroll to make changes?