As the Seahawks open the season, one of the major points to watch will be the evolution of Russell Wilson and a fully Baldwin-less offense in Year 2 under Brian Schottenheimer.
The Seahawks put a lot of resources (financial and draft) into their passing game in the offseason, which led some to suggest (or hope) they are now building entirely around Wilson and are going to throw the ball all over the yard.
Clearly, people who think Carroll is going to sway from his run-focused approach are dreaming — and not really paying attention. Remember, Carroll is all about that circle of toughness — imposing his will on both sides of the ball.
As Carroll recently told 710 ESPN: “We want to play off the running game. … We want to run the heck out of the football. We love that part of the game, but we love everything that comes off that.
“We hopefully are going to show you a wide-open attack that makes you have to defend the run and makes you have to defend Russell sitting back there bombing footballs. We want to get the ball down the field and attack the heck out of it. That’s a big deal to us.
Continue reading Hawks will keep running, but will Wilson & Schotty be better?
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
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
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
John Schneider went back to the 2015 draft with two big moves Wednesday and Green Bay’s quarterback deals impacted Seattle’s QB picture for this season and beyond.
Schneider’s first move was not a big shock: Making a cheap deal with Green Bay to bring in QB Brett Hundley as Russell Wilson’s ostensible backup.
The other was slightly more surprising, but in a pleasant way: Guaranteeing Tyler Lockett $20 million in a three-year extension that could be worth $37.8 million.
And, in other Green Bay-Seattle news, Aaron Rodgers reportedly agreed to a four-year extension worth $33.5 million a year — setting the market for Wilson’s next extension.
Continue reading Lockett gets great deal, and Packers affect Seahawks’ QB picture
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
When the Seahawks put together the best run in franchise history, winning 36 games and a Super Bowl from 2012 to 2014, they did it with about two dozen core players — a third of them named Pro Bowl players during that time.
After “resetting” the team this offseason, the Seahawks have just six players left from that Super Bowl core — and a couple of those guys might not be long for the roster.
That brings us to the No. 1 goal this year, aside from trying to contend for the Super Bowl (we put their O/U at 10 wins): John Schneider and Pete Carroll need to establish the new core for the next championship window. It all starts Thursday when they begin training camp.
Continue reading This camp is about finding next Super core
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
Paul Richardson’s name came up all over the place Thursday, with a lot of chatter about his situation as he prepares to hit free agency.
Richardson was on the radio in his hometown of L.A., talking to the loudmouth with the goofiest name in broadcasting. Asked about possibly leaving Seattle for a passing offense, P-Rich said, “I do think about it. I think about it a lot, especially with my situation coming up with free agency.”
Richardson probably senses he will be leaving. The Seahawks apparently are willing to pay $5.5 million a year, per John Clayton, but Richardson seems likely to get at least $7 million from another team.
Continue reading P-Rich about to get paid by some other team
When Doug Baldwin pushed aside Tom Cable in the second quarter in New York, it was a perfectly timed expression of frustration that reflected what every Seattle fan was feeling.
Although some fans would love for Cable to be shoved out the door, Baldwin apologized for the physical move — but he also made it clear he, like all of us, was sick of how the offense was playing.
“At that moment, I was really frustrated with the offense as a whole,” Baldwin said. “Not the coaching staff — the players. Again, it goes back to our X’s and O’s. We had the play calls. We just didn’t execute. Whether it was passing the ball, blocking, catching, jumping offsides, false-starting, whatever it may be, we weren’t executing as players.”
Although Baldwin and the Seahawks came up with three touchdowns in the second half to win 24-7, the very poor first-half starts remain. And the red zone continues to be a black hole for Russell Wilson and company.
Continue reading Slow-starting offense frustrates everyone