New OC or not, the important thing is Seahawks moved on from Tom Cable
The Seahawks have a new offensive coordinator in Brian Schottenheimer, and I couldn’t tell you if he’s going to be better than Darrell Bevell, the man he’s replacing. No one else can tell you that either. I didn’t think that Bevell should have been fired in the first place, feeling that the Seahawks’ offensive issues stemmed from a sub-par offensive line more than poor play-calling.
I’m more interested in who will be the next offensive line coach – I did think that Tom Cable needed to be fired, and he was. I’m happy for him that he’s already landed another job with Jon Gruden in Oakland and even happier that he’s not in Seattle anymore. Looking back, you can make a good case that a lot of the Seahawks’ success on the ground was related to Marshawn Lynch’s insane ability to break tackles. With average backs, aside from one good season from Thomas Rawls, the Seahawks could not generate a consistent running game.
Was it Cable’s fault? Not entirely. But I got sick of hearing people praise him all the time, as if he were God’s gift to offensive line coaches. I’m sure he’s very good but not as good as he was made out to be. He either did a bad job of evaluating players in the draft and free agents or failing to develop them to a passable level. I’m guessing it was a combination of both – the only two guys who are worth a darn right now are Duane Brown and Justin Britt.
The new offensive line coach needs to find competent starters at left guard, right guard and right tackle. Whoever the new coach is – and I don’t even care who it is – I like the idea of a fresh set of eyes and a new approach. I have a hard time thinking it can be any worse. There’s a greater chance that the new coach will make things significantly better, and I’d take slightly better at this point.
Schottenheimer is said to favor a power running game, and I don’t pretend to know what that involves, but I’m ready to see how that works. Cable’s zone-blocking scheme was supposed to help the running game while somewhat sacrificing pass protection. If you’re not going to get results on the ground, I don’t want it to come at the expense of protecting the far-and-away top asset on the team: Russell Wilson. Without him, you’re not going anywhere. I’m not sure if changing blocking schemes will be difficult or not, but the zone-blocking one wasn’t working.
Or maybe it will just take some fine-tuning from Schottenheimer and the new O-line coach. That could be the case. I say that because the same Seahawks’ offense that was 30th in yards gained and 31st in points in the first half was first in both categories in the second half. You were working with the same players in both halves.
When I heard that Schottenheimer was hired, I didn’t like the thought of a retread coming to Seattle. He’s bounced around and had mixed results. It struck me as a vanilla hire, but I’m not going to begin to think I know more about offensive coordinators than Pete Carroll, so if the Seahawks’ coach thinks he was the best candidate, let’s see how it goes.
From what I’ve read, Schottenheimer prefers a loose atmosphere, which he’ll have here. I like hearing that his mom taught him to trust his “gut,” and while I’m not sure what that means, I just think it’s a good thing when a coach won’t go by the book all the time.
And there figure to be more wrinkles added to the offense – I say this because I read where Schottenheimer can be a “sandlot” coordinator, favoring unconventional passing routes over more traditional ones.
In one very important respect to 12s, Schottenheimer will have something going for him – whatever happens with the Seahawks offense, he won’t be the guy who called a pass play from the 1-yard line in the Super Bowl. That was always held against Bevell, and whenever the Seahawks moved the ball up and down the field, it was as if they did it in spite of their sad-sack offensive coordinator. The dismissal will be good for Bevell too because wherever he lands, he won’t be the guy who chose not to hand the ball to Lynch.
The best thing I’ve heard about Schottenheimer might be the worst thing to you: he is expected to make better use of Wilson’s mobility. If that means more read-option plays with Wilson handing off or taking the ball himself, great, bring it on. I don’t care if he’s turning 30 next year and if it puts him more at risk of getting hurt – it’s a weapon that not all offenses have. Plus I think it will help the running game overall, giving the defense one more thing to think about.
I’m also hoping that Schottenheimer will help Wilson figure out when he should check down and take 5-yard receptions over longer incompletions. Maybe he’ll also help him get rid of the ball faster from the pocket, which is one of the few criticisms of Wilson. I’ve always felt that Wilson gets out of more sacks than the average QB, but I’m starting to see how he can run into some of those sacks too. As with a new offensive line coach, Schottenheimer will bring a new philosophy to a team that needs it.