Heaps: What Pete Carroll meant with his confusing explanation of Seahawks’ new offense

May 18, 2021, 12:27 PM

Seahawks Pete Carroll...

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll did his best to explain the team's new offense Saturday. (Getty)


Coming out of the Seahawks’ rookie minicamp over the weekend, the biggest question wasn’t about any of the players who participated during the two days at team headquarters in Renton. No, the biggest question was: What on earth was Pete Carroll trying to say about his team’s new offense?

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Seattle’s longtime head coach has a new offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron, who comes to Seattle after a tenure on Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay’s coaching staff, and he’s bringing a lot of the principles from the Rams’ offense with him.

People are still trying to get a handle on what exactly the new offense will look like, and Carroll had quite the response when asked Saturday if Waldron’s offense is difficult to learn, with the reporter who was doing the questioning adding, “I don’t want to say simplistic but I’m guessing it’s not an Al Saunders 700-page playbook.” (Saunders had stints as an offensive coordinator with four NFL teams between 2001 and 2015 and, yes, reportedly used a 700-page playbook.)

Here’s what Carroll said in response:

“It’s very intricate and very precise. That (simplistic) is not the right way to describe it. It’s beautifully thought-out. It’s got such a complementary makeup to it, that’s why I fell in love with what (Waldron) was bringing. It really makes sense, it’s really smart, our guys have to really work hard at the discipline to execute it in the right manner. There’s a lot of terminology. It won’t look as much different as it sounds to us because the system that we’re putting in to make sure that we can utilize all of the variations and the complements that are packed in here, so it’s not a simple offense at all. I wouldn’t give Al that much credit, either.”

OK then.

Luckily for us, we have a former Seahawks quarterback on staff at 710 ESPN Seattle in Jake and Stacy host Jake Heaps, who tried his hand Monday during the show’s daily Four-Down Territory segment at explaining exactly what Carroll was trying to get across.

Here’s what Heaps said:

“The offense in and of itself as he described is ‘a beautiful thing’ from an X’s and O’s standpoint where you can have the same formation, the same motion, the same type of setup and keep it relatively simple that way, and yet be extremely complex in the way that you attack and utilize those things. The one thing that I have been so impressed about with this offense is the ability to take something simple and to be purposeful to make it more complex. The fly sweep motion has a purpose to it in terms of how it manipulates and moves the defense in the running game, the play-action pass game, the quick game, the screen game – it all has a purpose and a function along with everything else. And what other systems have a hard time with is they’ll say, ‘We’ll take a formation and we’ll have 15 plays,’ but they all don’t complement each other. They’re completely different.

“I think what Sean McVay in this system has been able to do is create something that is complex in a very simplistic way of same formation, same motion, same setup and everything, and it makes it really difficult on defenses and defensive coordinators to really get a true beat on what you’re going to do next.”

Dave “The Groz” Grosby, who was filling in as a guest host with Heaps on Monday, was thoroughly confused by what Carroll said, responding: “If you just saw that written on a piece of paper, you would think this is from someone without a grip on reality. It’s gibberish.”

Heaps didn’t disagree, but he said he understands why Carroll seemed to tie himself up in knots trying to explain the Seahawks’ new offense.

“It still doesn’t make sense, Groz,” Heaps said with a laugh. “There’s no excuse for what he said, but just trying to parse it a little bit for everybody out there and why it’s an exciting thing, why it might be difficult to kinda explain why Shane Waldron’s offense might be not be super complex but it’s complex at the same time.”

You can hear the full segment in the podcast at this link or in the player below beginning around the 18:45 mark.

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Heaps: What Pete Carroll meant with his confusing explanation of Seahawks’ new offense