MIKE SALK

Matt Hasselbeck Show: What changed with Seahawks’ offense for Russell Wilson

Sep 15, 2021, 7:29 PM | Updated: 7:43 pm
Seahawks Russell Wilson...
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson looks to pass during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 12 in Indianapolis. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Before Russell Wilson, the face of the Seahawks was the man who was Seattle’s previous franchise quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck. So who could be better to provide insight on what Wilson and the Seahawks’ offense did in the first game of Wilson’s 10th season with Seattle?

Heaps: Breaking down Russell Wilson’s TD passes in Week 1 win

Lucky for you, The Matt Hasselbeck Show made its debut Wednesday morning on 710 ESPN Seattle, and host Mike Salk took the opportunity to get Hasselbeck’s thoughts on the Seahawks’ offense in their 28-16 win over the Colts in Week 1 of play last Sunday.

It’s no secret Wilson had a desire to be sacked less this season, as he was third in the NFL in 2020 with 47 sacks, and solving that is something new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron has been tasked with. While Wilson did take three sacks on Sunday, Hasselbeck saw a focus on protecting the quarterback in Seattle’s gameplan.

“One of the things that was probably a point of emphasis was Russell not getting sacked as much,” he said. “You talk about how they script the first 15 plays the night before – and I would sit in those meetings all the time with the (play-caller), and instead of saying like, ‘Hey, what are your favorite seven or eight passes in the first 15 plays?’ they would start out with, ‘Hey, here are the plays that the offensive line is going to like,’ you know? ‘Are you OK with that?’ And it’s a great way to view the gameplan.

“If you look at how they started that game, they got the ball out quick, they got the ball out on time, and there were quite a few runs. And really I think that’s probably the thing that I would say fit. So they probably went into this game, maybe into the offseason, saying, ‘We gotta have less sacks.’ For as mobile as Russell Wilson, he’s been sacked way too much. I want to say he was top five in sacks last year, which is kind of unheard of because he’s Houdini back there.”

Pete Carroll at 70

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll turned 70 years old on Wednesday, yet he is showing no signs of slowing down. Hasselbeck knows Carroll well as his last season with the Seahawks was Carroll’s first with the team. Salk asked why Carroll continues to be successful.

“I think because he’s willing to change and adapt and grow as a person and a coach,” Hasselbeck responded. “I know as a quarterback, when you look at your schedule, you’re like, ‘Oh, who do we got? Oh, we got this team. Who’s the coordinator? Got it. That guy will never change, here’s what he does.’ I don’t think you can say that about Pete. … He seems to adapt and change, and I think it’s one of the reasons they’ve had so much success.”

There’s another factor Hasselbeck pointed to.

“The pieces of the puzzle that you have on a coaching staff – kind of good cop, bad cop – there’s some real science to that. Some people have mastered it, and I think Pete Carroll’s as good as there is.”

The Matt Hasselbeck Show airs from 9-10 a.m. every Wednesday during 710 ESPN Seattle’s Mike Salk Show. Listen to the debut episode in its entirety at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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