Huard: Seahawks coaches deserve more blame than Wilson for poor offense
When the dust settled and the Seahawks’ season was over after a 30-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the first round of the playoffs, the finger pointing began for why Seattle’s season was cut short. Specifically, blame was flying around for who was most at fault for the offense’s struggles.
The three obvious targets who drew the most blame from Seahawks fans were quarterback Russell Wilson, offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and head coach Pete Carroll.
Wilson completed just 11 of 27 passes for 174 yards, two touchdowns and one interception against the Rams, and he had a few other passes that could have been intercepted as well. His lone interception, however, was a backbreaker for the Seahawks, as Los Angeles cornerback Darious Williams intercepted a screen pass and returned it for a touchdown.
And after it was clear that the offense wasn’t going to be able to accomplish much the way it was operating to start the game, the game plan didn’t seem to change from a play-calling perspective, which led many to believe that Carroll and Schottenheimer were most at fault for the offensive dud.
Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Monday morning and explained the order in which the blame lies for that poor offensive showing.
“It’s going to lie with Pete Carroll first. That’s where it lies,” he said. “He’s the head coach … it has to lie with him because ultimately, he oversees it and he meddles. And he even said so after the game that the reason they (committed a false start) and broke the huddle (late) in the most critical junction of the fourth quarter when at least there was some sense of life still after a five-minute injury (timeout) was because he kind of meddled in the play call and everything else. That can’t happen, so I think it starts at the very top.”
The play Huard mentioned was a killer for the Seahawks, who despite the rough day on offense, were still within striking distance most of the game. With under 10 minutes left and down 10, the Seahawks had a fourth-and-one situation and were going to try to pick up the first down rather than punting. Seattle was aided in some ways by an injury timeout, giving them more time to get situated, but the offense broke the huddle late and rushing to get the play off before a delay of game, guard Jordan Simmons was called for a false start.
After the game, Carroll told reporters the Seahawks broke the huddle late because he was getting involved with the play call. Seattle punted, forced a three-and-out, but D.J. Reed fumbled the ensuing punt return and the Rams scored the game-sealing touchdown.
After Carroll, Huard believes Schottenheimer, who calls the Seahawks’ plays on offense, is most at fault.
“(The Seahawks ran) a plan that was just infuriating to me,” he said. “Everything we talked about (last week) as we kind of readied for this game of ‘you can’t huddle up and just line up and think you’re going to beat those guys physically because you haven’t done it in years and years and years’ happened.”
Huard pointed out that after the game, the Rams made it clear they were upset that members of the Seahawks celebrated very hard after their Week 16 win over Los Angeles to win the NFC West. Safety Jamal Adams was seen smoking a cigar at his postgame press conference, which Rams quarterback Jared Goff pointed out after the game. Plus, Huard said, the Rams were the more physical team and the Seahawks weren’t very unique on offense.
“So you had a highly motivated group that you couldn’t block, you mixed very little tempo in, very little screen game and when you did, it was catastrophic because yes, it was telegraphed and Freddie Swain didn’t do his job. So yes, it was pretty messy,” he said.
Huard calls NFL games for FOX Sports during the regular season and he was on the call when the then-winless New York Jets upset the Rams in Week 15. Huard said Jets head coach Adam Gase, who has since been fired, told him that the No. 1 thing he was telling his quarterback Sam Darnold was to get the ball out of his hand quick due to how great the Rams’ defensive front, led by All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, is.
“And the fact that you held it and took sack after sack and deep play action and (deep shots) and no tempo and huddling up, man, I just could not understand that,” Huard said.