Seahawks Takeaways: OC Waldron details several key positions
The Seahawks are entering a year of transition on offense, and that’s saying something considering there was a pretty similar narrative a year ago.
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Offensive coordinator Shane Waldron’s first year with the Hawks was 2021, and the installation of his principles on offense wasn’t exactly smooth sailing. That was mainly because of the loss of quarterback Russell Wilson to a midseason finger injury and Wilson’s struggles upon his return.
If you want to talk about a transition, though, nothing is bigger than the one Seattle is going through now following Wilson’s trade to the Denver Broncos. The Seahawks will have a new starting quarterback for the first time in a decade, and they’ll still be working to solidify Waldron’s system in his second year on the staff.
Waldron joined Seattle Sports Station’s Mike Salk Show on Wednesday morning and talked about some key positions on his side of the ball going into next season. You can listen to the full conversation in the podcast at this link or in the player below. After that, we’ll break down some of the biggest takeaways.
What’s Waldron looking for at QB?
The Seahawks currently have three quarterbacks expected to compete to succeed Wilson as the starter: Drew Lock, who was acquired in the Wilson trade from Denver; Geno Smith, who was Wilson’s backup and played four games in 2021; and Jacob Eason, the former UW Huskies quarterback who Seattle picked up from Indianapolis off waivers prior to last season.
Waldron provided his view on what he’ll be looking for out of the QB competition.
“I think the biggest thing for the guys with Geno, Drew and Jake is they’re taking over a new role, so to speak, in terms of not having Russ in the room,” he said. “Just their process, how they come to work every day, I think leading by example (is the) starting point. And in this league, the guys around the locker room, they see guys working hard, showing up early, taking great notes, being in the front of the room, really trying to bring the meetings to life where they’re asking great questions and taking the lead on certain installs. I mean, those are the little things in the offseason program that the guys notice, the guys pick up on, and then obviously the play on the field.”
And how can a QB succeed in his system?
“It’s just a guy that does a great job of taking care of the ball, and that (the) decision (making), timing, and accuracy that they bring to the table is on point and allows the the the offense to function as a whole.”
Will Seahawks get more out of TEs?
A lot was made of how much use the tight ends would get in the Seahawks’ passing game last season due to the arrival of Waldron from the Los Angeles Rams’ staff. Not only have the Rams relied a lot of tight ends, but Seattle added Gerald Everett from L.A., adding more fuel to the fire.
Everett had a strong year in Seattle (he’s since moved on in free agency to the Chargers), but the tight ends overall didn’t see that much action in the passing game. Waldron provided his insight on why and said he has hope Will Dissly will get more chances this season.
“I know Gerald had his most productive season to date, but Will I’d love to see get a few more opportunities, and I think the key word there is more opportunities, (which) comes from more plays,” Waldron said. “And I think for us as an offense as a whole, we had the chance to be really explosive last year in terms of those big plays, we had a chance at times to produce points, but overall big picture, we didn’t run enough plays, we didn’t execute well enough on third down.”
Waldron’s comment seemed to allude to the tight ends not getting many targets because the Seahawks’ offense didn’t run enough plays to keep them involved.
Running back rotation
Rashaad Penny had an explosive stretch over the final month of last season out of Seattle’s backfield, but he has a bumpy injury history in his career and fellow running back Chris Carson’s availability is up in the air due to a neck injury that ended his 2021 campaign. The Seahawks addressed potential depth concerns by drafting Kenneth Walker III in the second round in late April. Waldron spoke on the importance of that depth.
“I think throughout the course of an NFL season, now with the 17 games plus, you’re gonna have chances for these running backs where they’re taking hits and it’s a lot of wear and tear on their bodies,” he said. “So I think anytime you have multiple guys that can have touches and get carries throughout the game, that just helps us as an offense.”
Even with Walker in the mix, though, Waldron remains encouraged by Penny.
“As far as Rashaad goes with the the amount of carries, you know, he’s a big back. I mean, he’s 230 pounds plus with that speed. So anytime we get a guy like that, he’ll have some runs that are a couple of yards here, a couple yards there, but it only takes that one time for that angle on the tackle not to be perfect, and we saw what he’s able to do when that happened where he’s able to get through the second level and into the third level. So speed and power combination really comes to life there. And that’s just naturally going to happen the more touches he gets, the more chances there’s going to be for that that one-off to turn into an explosive play.”
Seahawks’ new athleticism at tackle
Another big story coming out of Seattle’s draft class is their selection of two offensive tackles in the first three rounds – Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas. They’ve both been lauded for their athleticism, something Waldron said will be crucial in the Seahawks’ system.
“We talked about these defensive linemen that these guys are having to block on the edge. Especially the athleticism, the length, I think those things are paramount to the position,” he said. “And I think those guys fit the mold of bringing that athletic ability where they can be quick off the ball, they can get off into the second level. But most importantly – and this will be part of their growth process – is being able to handle that pure speed off the edge. When you got a Von Miller rolling off the edge in a road environment when it’s loud, that athleticism and being able to play and match the athleticism on the defensive side of the ball I think is really important.”
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