Seahawks Takeaways: Carroll on Geno-Waldron chemistry, Walker comp
Nov 7, 2022, 12:15 PM
(Norm Hall/Getty Images)
We’re officially past the halfway point of the 2022 regular season for the Seahawks, and they’re 6-3 and in first place of the NFC West after a 31-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
The Seahawks have been one of the biggest surprises this season, and that’s largely because of the offense and their quarterback.
Geno Smith is in the top 10 in passing yards and touchdowns, leads the league in completion percentage, and he led two second-half touchdown drives to seal the win in Arizona in Week 9. Seattle is 11th in yards per game and fourth in points per game with Smith leading the show.
During Monday’s Pete Carroll Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM, the Seahawks head coach shared some insight into Smith’s play and the offense’s production.
Smith did have a big blunder on Sunday when he threw a bad pass on a screen that the Cardinals picked off and returned for a touchdown. But Smith bounced back immediately and led back-to-back touchdown drives.
“It was as smooth as you hoped it could be. That was the first real play (this year) that he’s faced that was really a shocker,” Carroll said. ” … He just handled it. He’s been ready to do that. I think he’s been preparing to be the epitome of poise under the most duress and stress and all that, and he did it beautifully and came right back.”
Something former NFL quarterback and current Brock and Salk host Brock Huard has noticed is the Seahawks’ offense getting to the line of scrimmage faster than in previous years and not fighting against the play clock as much.
Huard wanted to know about Smith and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron having such a good thing going in Smith’s first full season as the Seahawks’ starting quarterback.
“He’s getting everything he can get out of Shane. That’s a really important part of it,” Carroll said. “Shane helps him all the way through to the 15-second point (when communication shuts down) … They’re just communicating to get it done and there’s this conversation that goes on, so they work it out, and Geno was taking advantage of all of that.”
Carroll said Smith also has something going that’s helped, too.
“If you notice, Geno’s going off the wristband, and that’s a big help,” he said. “It’s smoothed things out, sped things up, cleaned things up. And that’s part of it, too. We never did that before. There was resistance to that, so we didn’t do that before.”
Carroll also said Smith and Waldron have great trust in each other, which has been key in the offense’s production.
“When Shane says something to Geno, he’s not doubting it. He’s just going with it, so there’s a real immediate flow and that accelerates all the process,” Carroll said. “… He’s functioning really comfortably regardless of what the circumstances are.”
“He’s handling everything so well. Let’s just keep it going. Next week, we’ll do it again. But he has given us the confidence,” Carroll added later when discussing Smith’s play. “I mean he hit 75% (completions) again. Come on. That’s something … To be in that realm for this long is really special, and hopefully we just keep on going.”
Dickerson and the OL
Something else different with the Seahawks this year aside from Smith being under center is the offensive line.
Seattle has rookies at both tackle spots in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas, as well as a new center in Austin Blythe. Additionally, the Hawks have a new offensive line coach in Andy Dickerson, who was promoted after serving as run game coordinator in 2021.
“He is doing a brilliant job, really,” Carroll said of Dickerson.
Dickerson and Waldron have worked together for a long time, which has really helped the offensive line and the offense as a whole, Carroll said.
“They’re communicating on such a high level,” Carroll said. “And he’s really, really bright, and he makes sense. He’s always ahead of the game, he’s always giving the guys the heads up and the anticipation of it. He’s got great terminology, great lingo in how he communicates his stuff … and really, the result is obvious in those two young pups doing what they’re doing. They played terrific football in the game yesterday.”
Walker keeps on rolling
Speaking of young pups, the Seahawks sure have something special in rookie running back Kenneth Walker III, who ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals on Sunday.
Since taking over as the lead back with Rashaad Penny out for the year, Walker has rushed for 512 yards and seven touchdowns over his last five games.
What stands out about Walker?
“His makeup. He’s tough as (heck). He just has a great mentality about the game,” Carroll said. “… He just wants more, and it starts there. He’s highly competitive, he’s really physically tough, he’s got a great body and strength and power. You can see him, he pulls out of tackles, he runs through (defenders) and over and around and all that. His instincts are really good. You can see him just sneak between tackles and hits and things and he looks like he’s gonna pop all the time.”
Huard said during Monday’s Brock and Salk that Walker reminds him of Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas. Carroll instead went with another Hall of Famer for his Walker comparison.
“I thought LaDainian Tomlinson was a guy that was a really good comp for him, too, because he just had that kind of extra little something to make another yard, and then it looks like he’s gonna get away,” Carroll said. “It’s really exciting watching him in those situations.”
Listen to Monday’s full Pete Carroll Show at this link or in the player below.