Huard: How Seahawks can get their offense back on track

Dec 27, 2022, 12:32 PM | Updated: 1:20 pm

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith...

Seahawks QB Geno Smith throws under pressure against Chiefs DE Carlos Dunlap on Dec. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Offense has been harder to come by for the Seattle Seahawks in recent weeks.

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Not only has Seattle lost five of its last six games, but the Seahawks were held to 10 points by the Kansas City Chiefs in a loss last Saturday, which came after they scored only 13 on Dec. 15 against the San Francisco 49ers. Go back one more game, and Seattle was limited to 17 points in a loss to Carolina until a touchdown with 16 seconds left when the Panthers had already locked up the game (Carolina won 30-24).

How do the Seahawks get the offense going again? Brock Huard heard something from Seattle quarterback Geno Smith’s postgame press conference in Kansas City that he agreed with.

“Geno alluded to this after the game, and it’s always easy to say and it’s harder to do in real time because it puts, frankly, even more burden on a defense that in this losing streak has been challenged,” Huard said Monday on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk, “but I think you got to go up-tempo.”

Tempo was in fact something Smith, who was named to his first career Pro Bowl last week, brought up numerous times after the 24-10 loss to the Chiefs in which he threw 25 of 40 for 215 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Here are a few quotes from that press conference.

Smith on Seattle’s improved play on offense in the second half: “Overall, we just played with more tempo and more passion, more of a fight.”

On playing up-tempo in a two-minute drill at the end of the first half that resulted in a field goal, Seattle’s first points of the game: “I think it got us into a rhythm, we started to move the ball, got our confidence up. I think guys started to get their feet under themselves. When you start making positive plays, even if it’s just a few yards a play, it makes you feel good. The more you progress the ball down the field, the more confident the guys get, the more confident the play callers get. I feel like we were really good in the middle of the season with our tempo and playing fast but something slowed us down. We have to get back to it.”

On the Seahawks not getting a first down in any of their first four drives against the Chiefs: “We’ve got to start fast and get into a rhythm early. We can’t not have any first downs in the first couple of drives. It hurts our offense but it also hurts our defense. It makes them have to play out there more than they should. When we get into a rhythm where we control the clock, we control the tempo; it really helps our team overall. We’ve got to get back to that. We look forward to these next two games and trying to get there.”

Huard, a former NFL quarterback who is now a FOX football analyst in addition to his Seattle Sports hosting gig, heard loud and clear what Smith was saying.

“Geno talked about it after the game, I think he likes it,” Huard said about playing up-tempo. “It’s what he did (in college) at West Virginia, playing pretty fast, (and) this year, especially the first half of the season when we’ve seen him so efficient and so good at the line of scrimmage.”

Huard explained that because the Seahawks had a slower pace of play in Kansas City, the Chiefs’ defense was “messing around,” meaning it could change the looks that Seattle’s offense was seeing on the other side of the line of scrimmage.

In a must-win game on Sunday against the Jets, Seattle may need to amp up its pace to stop that from getting in the way of its offense again.

“I think you settle much of that down and you clear the picture if you go up-tempo, and you don’t allow them to… do that, mess with you the whole time versus, ‘Nope, here we go, we’re gonna get to the line of scrimmage, we’re gonna go,'” Huard said. “… Especially with the Jets, the Jets are a crew that I don’t know if you want to just line up and let them dictate (the pace).”

That being said, the Seahawks shouldn’t exclusively be aiming to play up-tempo on offense, because it could result in their defense spending more time on the field.

“Mix it in. I’m not saying full-time,” Huard said. “… I am not saying first possession of the game and every possession’s gotta be up-tempo, but if you get in a little bind, you get stuck like they did with the punts (in Kansas City)… go ahead and start mixing it up, especially with a crew like Kansas City that was trying to change their picture so much pre- and post-snap.”

You can hear Huard’s full explanation in the Blue 88 segment of Monday’s Brock and Salk in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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