Bumpus: ‘Disconnect’ led to Seahawks moving on from Schottenheimer
Just a few hours after the Seahawks made waves by inking general manager John Schneider to a long-term extension, Seattle made another big move by announcing that the team was parting ways with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer after three seasons.
Schottenheimer’s dismissal came as a bit of a surprise because on Monday, head coach Pete Carroll told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant, and later reporters, that he expected to have Schottenheimer and really his entire coaching staff back next year, pointing to that the Seahawks scored more points than any team in franchise history in 2020.
But on Tuesday, the Seahawks announced that the two sides were going their different ways due to “philosophical differences.”
Brian Schottenheimer is a fantastic person and coach and we thank him for the last three years. Citing philosophical differences, we have parted ways.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 13, 2021
On Wednesday, former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus shared his thoughts with Danny and Gallant on the move to get rid of Schottenheimer and why he thinks the Seahawks fired him after an overall successful season.
“There seemed to be a disconnect,” Bumpus said. “Something wasn’t right with that offense.”
During the first half of the season, the Seahawks had arguably the NFL’s top offense with Russell Wilson looking like the frontrunner for league MVP. Seattle scored more than 30 points in seven of its first eight games and started the season 6-2 in that span.
But for a brief stretch from Week 7 to Week 10, quarterback Russell Wilson had 10 turnovers and the Seahawks lost three of four. That prompted a change from the pass-heavy approach to a more balanced look.
While Seattle started to run more, the passing game started to really slow down as teams started to play with two-high safeties and took away deep passes. That led to far fewer explosive plays and even though those deep passes weren’t there, the Seahawks weren’t operating with a quick passing game like you’d expect, leading to a dramatic decrease in offensive production over the second half of the season and in Seattle’s playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
“What I saw, what it looked like on film was that there was no flow,” Bumpus said. “There was no short game, everything’s super long, you’re asking your O-line to block for like 4.5 seconds, Russell Wilson doesn’t have any outlets right now or he’s not seeing the outlets. It seemed like there was a disconnect with Russell in the pass game and then Russell knowing where he was supposed to go.”
Bumpus said people expect Wilson to make everything happen because he’s paid $35 million annually, but that he can only do so much given what the coaches give him with plays and schemes.
“If he’s not comfortable with something, if he’s not seeing it down the field, yes he has to take ownership with that, but there has to be something with the coaching or there’s a disconnect,” Bumpus said. “We saw an offense that put up a bunch of points in the first half of the season, it seemed like teams started to figure them out and you couldn’t adjust … I’m talking about if you’re looking at film and this is what teams are doing to take our stuff away, how do we get our ballplayers the football? And it just seemed like Schotty wasn’t able to do that.”
The question of why Schottenheimer wasn’t able to adjust during those struggles is one that people are trying to figure out.
“Was he being held back by Pete? Was Russell in his head? Who really knows?” Bumpus said. “At the end of the day when you look at their offense, you look at their success and their failures, it starts out with Schotty and it goes down to Russ.”
Danny O’Neil believes that Schottenheimer’s dismissal, coupled with Carroll’s comments to the media on Monday, signal that Carroll is trying to get back to the style of offense he’s comfortable with, which is running the ball, controlling the clock, taking calculated shots down the field and pairing that with a solid defense. Bumpus also thinks that’s the case.
“I think he’s just comfortable with running the ball, having a running back who can 20-25 carries and really set the tone and take pressure off of Russell Wilson,” he said. “I think Russell wants to throw the rock. He’s a quarterback, he’s elite. He wants to show that he’s elite. So you’ve got to find a nice little balance. How do you put the run game and the pass game together?”
Bumpus pointed to the Rams and San Francisco 49ers as two teams who pair their run game with their pass game in great and unique ways. When the Rams beat the Seahawks in the playoffs, he said the Rams used the same formation with a player in motion on a pass play and then later on a running play.
“I haven’t seen that same look from the Hawks where you don’t know if it’s a run or a pass until Russell makes a decision. So you have to put the run and the pass game together,” he said.