Bump: Why Seahawks’ offense needs to use more RPOs

Nov 17, 2023, 8:54 AM

Seattle Seahawks Geno Smith Kenneth Walker...

Geno Smith of the Seattle Seahawks hands off to Kenneth Walker III against the New York Giants at Lumen Field on October 30, 2022. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks will look to avenge one of their three losses during their next game.

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Seattle opened the year as a heavy favorite over the Los Angeles Rams. The actual result? A 30-13 Rams win in Week 1.

So when the Seahawks go down to southern California for the rematch, what’s something they can do differently this time around?

Former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus pointed to the offense.

“More RPOs,” Bumpus said during Wednesday’s Bump and Stacy on Seattle Sports.

RPO stands for run-pass-option, meaning the quarterback can opt to hand the ball to the running back or pass the ball out of play-action. The decision comes down to the quarterback and what they see both before and after the ball is snapped.

Many teams utilize RPOs a great deal in their offense, but not the Seahawks.

“They are 22nd in the league when it comes to pass attempts on RPOs. They have 291 pass yards on RPOs, that’s 19th in the league,” Bumpus pointed out.

In this matchup with the Rams, RPO plays could help the Seahawks a great deal, Bumpus said.

“What I see from the Rams is they’re not a team that’s gonna blitz you heavily. They only blitz 24% of the time,” he said. “So you have to do things to get those linebackers moving. You run the football, you play-action, you do all of that. Once you’ve shown them play-action and you’re running the football, now you’re setting them up with those RPOs. Now you’re really getting their linebackers to bite … And you put the decision in Geno’s hand.”

Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith is coming off one of his better games as Seattle’s starter after throwing for 369 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Washington Commanders last week, but he hasn’t been as good or as efficient as he was in 2022 when he was a Pro Bowler.

That being said, Bumpus thinks having Smith make decisions with RPO plays is a good thing for the Seahawks.

“Say what you want about Geno and his accuracy has been off a little bit (this year), but for the most part he makes pretty good decisions. That’s just adding another dynamic to this offense,” he said. ” … Keep adding things to this. You’re not a real heavy RPO team, but I think to get to these backers, to influence these backers, because they’re not going to blitz you a lot, you get these RPOs going.”

And if the Rams do decide to blitz, RPOs could especially work out well.

“So now if they do show blitz … it’s a natural check,” Bumpus said. “You don’t have to walk up to the line of scrimmage and (change the play call). It’s good. Go ahead and bring the pressure because we’re going to RPO off of that. If that backer goes, I’m throwing right into it. So I think it just makes the game a lot easier for for Geno.”

Listen to the full second hour of Wednesday’s Bump and Stacy at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

Rost: Russell Wilson is playing well – how should Seahawks fans feel?
• Football 101: How Seattle Seahawks’ run blocking controlled the game
• Bumpus: How Seahawks’ Leonard Williams is impressing right away
• Seahawks Notebook: Carroll on Jason Peters, Dre Jones, injuries
• Bumpus: Seahawks’ Riq Woolen quietly playing better each week
• Rost: Seattle Seahawks’ Geno Smith shows why he’s Carroll’s QB

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