O’Neil: New Seahawks OC gets to work on breaking some of Russell Wilson’s habits
RENTON – Stop.
That’s what Seattle’s new offensive coordinator wants Russell Wilson to do when he finishes dropping back.
Before he shuffles. Before he scans. Just stop.
It’s a small coaching point, but one that Brian Schottenheimer has been vocally adamant about through this first week of training camp in what is the most tangible sign of the new voice that Seattle’s franchise quarterback now has in his ear.
“It’s going really, really well,” Schottenheimer said, “but now it’s time to start amping it up and pushing buttons and things like that.”
The hope is that hiring a new offensive coordinator to push Wilson’s buttons will help him break some of the habits that he’s (understandably) developed through the past few seasons in which he has been under-protected and overly relied upon.
We’ll get to that in a second, but first, we need to acknowledge the obvious temptation to characterize the new offensive coordinator as being the antidote to every shortcoming the previous guy possessed.
That wouldn’t be fair to Darrell Bevell, though. And it certainly wouldn’t be accurate.
The Seahawks offense was pretty darn productive during Bevell’s seven years as offensive coordinator. Not only that, but Bevell helped Wilson develop from a rookie starter whose threat to run was a true X-factor into an MVP candidate who led the league in touchdown passes last season.
Bevell wasn’t fired because of anything he did. The Seahawks changed offensive coordinators in large part because of one thing he didn’t do. He couldn’t get Wilson to color within the lines more frequently. To take the throws that were there early in a play rather than running and scrambling and improvising his way to the possibility of a bigger play.
The willingness to scramble is understandable for two reasons, the first being that the all-too-frequent breakdowns in pass protection have made the evasive maneuvers a matter of necessity as opposed to a choice. The second reason is that Wilson is incredibly good at it, and some of Seattle’s biggest gains can come off what would be described as broken plays.
But that reliance upon improvisation can come at a cost. It’s going to be less consistent, less reliable, and finding a way to get shorter, more predictable completions would make both Wilson and Seattle’s offense more efficient.
That hope is the reason that Wilson now has a new voice in his ear. One that is more demanding and who’s telling Wilson that before he takes the next step as a quarterback, he needs to come to a stop.
That’s not a figure of speech. It’s an actual instruction. The quarterback needs to stop after he drops back, and the hope is that by coming to that stop Wilson will begin to see the options he has earlier in the play.