JAKE AND STACY

Heaps: Why it’s OK if Russell Wilson has ‘growing pains’ in Shane Waldron’s new Seahawks offense

May 19, 2021, 2:13 PM
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson...
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is entering his first year with OC Shane Waldron. (Getty)
(Getty)

The Seahawks had perhaps the best statistical offense in franchise history in 2020 while winning the NFC West, but that unit struggled over the second half of the season and played a big part in Seattle losing in the first round of the playoffs.

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Now, the Seahawks have a new offensive coordinator coming to town in Shane Waldron, who coached under Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay the last four seasons. McVay is seen as one of the NFL’s top offensive minds and Waldron was a top assistant for him, serving as passing game coordinator for the last three seasons.

Waldron, who succeeds Brian Schottenheimer as Seahawks OC, is expected to bring a new offensive system to Seattle, which will be interesting to watch. That’s because since star quarterback Russell Wilson was drafted by the Seahawks in 2012, the team has had just two offensive coordinators, and they ran very similar systems.

Wilson is a top NFL quarterback and will undoubtedly master Waldron’s system at some point, but will there be “growing pains?” Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps shared his thoughts Wednesday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy.

“I think this is an important one to address because yeah, I do think there will be some growing pains, but I don’t think it will come in the form of bad performances,” he said. “Any time you have a new offensive coordinator and a franchise quarterback, there needs to be a learning process between the two of them.”

Heaps said the biggest and most recent example of a franchise quarterback and offensive coordinator working together through that learning process was last season with Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady spent 20 seasons with the New England Patriots before signing with the Buccaneers in free agency last offseason, and Heaps pointed out that with Brady was learning a new offense virtually during the pandemic. He also noted that the Tampa Bay coaching staff, led by head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, wanted to keep running their system rather than tailoring the offense to what Brady was comfortable with. This led to some early struggles.

Heaps said what wound up happening, however, is Brady and the coaches came together, Brady got more say in the offense and things clicked from there en route to the Super Bowl title.

“Shane Waldron is coming in with an offensive scheme and a system he knows works and that he is very confident in,” Heaps said. “He is not going to be changing his entire scheme or system, but (a big factor) is learning what your quarterback really is comfortable with, what he responds to best, how he operates best. I think those are things they are going to work out between the two of them.”

Heaps said that Wilson and Waldron have communicated well this offseason and Wilson is picking up the playbook well. But that doesn’t mean everything will be perfect going forward.

“I do think there will be some times where you’re going to have to look at it and really come together and say, ‘Alright, what’s best for our group and not just what is the playbook?'” Heaps said.

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