Seahawks’ new offense isn’t just about tempo — it’s allowing more freedom for Russell Wilson

Aug 11, 2021, 12:39 AM
Seahawks Russell Wilson Shane Waldron...
Russell Wilson gets to call more plays at the line in Shane Waldron's offense. (Getty)

The Seahawks’ scrimmage at Lumen Field on Sunday was the first chance for many to get a good look at Seattle’s new offense under first-year offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, and there’s a big buzzword that’s being used a lot to describe what was seen: tempo.

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One person to use that exact word was quarterback Russell Wilson during a press conference after the scrimmage.

“I think the tempo for us on offense allows us to get to the ball, do all of the plays we want to do and really attack the defense based on their coverages, based on their looks,” Wilson said. “Also too, it just puts pressure on (the defense). … For us, that’s been a really positive thing over the years, and I think that we really want to capitalize on that and put the stress on the defense.”

That’s all well and good, though not exactly unexpected. It’s what Wilson said next, however, that’s arguably more interesting:

“I can call everything at the line.”

For former NFL linebacker Dave Wyman, who now co-hosts 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob and serves as color commentator on Seahawks Radio Network broadcasts, that’s a good sign about the relationship between Wilson and Waldron, who was previously the passing game coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams and is entering his first season as an OC in the pros.

“I think it’s a good thing that Waldron has not been a play-caller in the past and that he’s coming here to help Russ,” Wyman said. “Russ does sound giddy. And the translation to me on that is ‘More of the offense runs through me.'”

Wilson also mentioned Sunday that the ability to make calls at the line is something he did before under previous Seahawks OC Brian Schottenheimer, but there’s a significant difference between then and now.

“I’ve always been able to change the play for the most part,” Wilson said. “Along my career, ‘Schotty’ allowed me to call the plays and stuff like that at the line of scrimmage when we needed to. I think the emphasis of being able to do it all the time, all throughout the game is the key. I think it’s a little bit different in that sense. I have freedom for sure. The fun part is there’s so much we can do and so many reasonings and so many whys to it. It’s been really exceptional.”

That further underlines the increased control of the offense now afforded to Wilson, according to Bob Stelton, Wyman’s co-host.

“It sounds like now it’s just, ‘Hey, you want to change the play? Change the play.’ It doesn’t matter the situation,” Stelton said.

Based on what Wyman saw during the scrimmage, the added freedom for Wilson seems to be working well.

“I didn’t see a whole lot of mistakes… when Russ was out there,” he said. “… One of the things you see is that offense really splits the defense in half. You have half on one side, half on the other – you have to honor all the motions, all of the shifting. There was empty backfield, and then they would have two tight ends in and line them up and then have them go in motion, and all the sudden they’re there to cut off the back-side rusher after they go in motion and Russ rolls out the other way. Little, easy, dink-and-dunk type of throws, and then he went downfield a couple times, as well. It looked really good.

“The one thing about tempo that I will say is that sometimes it can be hurry up and three-and-out if you don’t execute, so I think there’s times to do it. And listening to (Wilson) talk after the game, it sounds like they’re really tuned in to each other. They really get that.”

You can listen to the full conversation in the podcast at this link or in the player below beginning around the 25:35 mark.

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Seahawks’ new offense isn’t just about tempo — it’s allowing more freedom for Russell Wilson