Heaps: Seahawks’ disheartening offensive issues aren’t on Shane Waldron

Oct 26, 2021, 1:45 PM | Updated: 3:33 pm
Seahawks RB Alex Collins...
Seahawks RB Alex Collins runs for yards during the first half against the New Orleans Saints at Lumen Field. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

If you were expecting the Seahawks’ offense to be effective and efficient against the New Orleans Saints on Monday, you definitely walked away scratching your head.

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The Seahawks put up just 10 points, had 219 total yards, and their running backs combined to average less than 3 yards per carry. Yet that didn’t stop Seattle from rushing the ball 28 times against New Orleans’ second-ranked run defense.

So what was the worst part of Seattle’s offensive performance? Former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps didn’t hold back on Tuesday’s edition of Jake and Stacy on 710 ESPN Seattle.

“I believe everybody is pointing to Shane Waldron as the new offensive coordinator and the hire that was made there (saying) ‘Shane, what the heck man, why aren’t you better?'” Heaps said. “And I believe there is some aspect to that, that you can look at and say, ‘OK, is this guy worth all of the conversation that happened in the offseason?’ I still believe he is. I think there’s a bigger issue that’s going on in terms of the way that they want to play and the way they are trying to get through the stretch without Russell Wilson.”

With Wilson out for at least one more game while he heals from finger surgery, the Seahawks have gone run-heavy with Geno Smith at quarterback. That worked well in the second half last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers but not so much against a very good Saints run defense.

“Looking at this matchup that we all saw on paper and said, ‘Hello, there is a clear mismatch going into this game,’ yet there is this conviction and style to win through the running game,” Heaps said. “I have no problem with that. But what disheartened me about this was that they acted like they didn’t have (wide receivers) DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and (tight end) Gerald Everett as their weapons. They acted like they could walk into this game and physically outperform the Saints and that they could physically dominate the line of scrimmage and that it didn’t matter that the Saints had eight guys in the box or nine guys in the box at times. They were going to continue to keep running the football.”

Overall, Metcalf, Lockett and Everett totaled 11 targets, catching seven of them for 119 yards, but 84 of those yards came on one pass to Metcalf in the first quarter. Metcalf didn’t get his second target until the fourth quarter, and the Seahawks continued to run the ball despite having little success.

“I just don’t understand that and I don’t believe that it’s coming from Shane Waldron,” Heaps said. “But I do believe that when you’re talking about scheming up the run game, it’s got to be done so much better than we saw last night. You’ve got to give your guys a chance.”

Heaps thinks the Seahawks are running like they did early in Pete Carroll’s tenure when they were one of the best running teams in the game, but they don’t have the personnel for that right now.

“That’s not who this team is, that’s not who Alex Collins is. You need to be able to run the football out of spread formations and be a little bit more dynamic in the ways that you were going about it so you can get favorable boxes,” Heaps said. “… If you are not doing that and you are allowing the Saints to stack the box without any fear whatsoever of the passing game, you are not going to be successful in the run game, I’m sorry.”

Stacy Rost, Heaps’ co-host on Jake and Stacy, said she has a hard time believing that when tasked with building a run-first offense that the gameplan against the Saints is what Waldron went to given his background with the Rams under Sean McVay.

Heaps agreed.

“I would just tell you that there is a lot of dysfunction that is going on behind the scenes right now and and I believe that when you were looking at that, I would like to see and put a little more onus on Shane Waldron to come up with more creative styles in the way that they are running,” he said. “But also at the same time, when everybody knows and you’ve made no bones about it in what you want to do going into this game, what do you think the Saints are going to do? They were going to load up the box. They are not dumb. They get paid, too. They understand how to play football and they understand what the Seahawks want to do.

“Are they going to allow you to take shots downfield or give you one on one opportunities and dare you to throw the football? Yes. Because they are not fearful of Geno Smith and they know that this Seahawks offense wants to run the football, that Pete Carroll wants to run the football and they answered the challenge. Kudos to the Saints. They came ready to roll.”

You can hear Heaps’ full thoughts in the Four-Down Territory segment of the podcast at this link or in the player below. Episodes of Jake and Stacy upload each weekday at 3 p.m., and you can catch the show live on 710 ESPN Seattle from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Heaps: Seahawks’ disheartening offensive issues aren’t on Shane Waldron