BROCK AND SALK

Huard: Tom Cable deserves equal blame as Darrell Bevell for Seahawks’ offensive woes

Dec 27, 2016, 3:51 PM

Mike Salk says Darrell Bevel deserves credit for designing an effective offense but is a poor play-...

Mike Salk says Darrell Bevel deserves credit for designing an effective offense but is a poor play-caller. (AP)

(AP)

The questions about Darrell Bevell’s decision making as the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator are nothing new and stem from criticism beyond that of cornerback Richard Sherman. But 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard said some blame for the Seahawks’ inconsistent offense needs to start being cast beyond the Bevell piñata, specifically to include offensive line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable.

“Why and where does Tom Cable fit in this?” Huard asked Monday. “Because I would contend very strongly that much of their issues (in Sunday’s loss) is run game in the first half. Like, you can’t run the ball. Why can’t these guys pick up stunts? How are you air-balling a protection to leave a D-tackle to run right through the middle of it? … Tom Cable, if he’s the assistant head coach; he’s the run-game coordinator, at what point is there some association? At some point it has to be a Bevel-Cable conversation.”

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While many are willing to jump in on the Bevell blame game, especially after the Seahawks’ uneven performance during Sunday’s narrow loss to the Cardinals, Huard tweeted Sunday that he’s wasn’t the issue.

His co-host Mike Salk disagrees.

“You’re the only person in America who doesn’t blame Darrell Bevell,” Salk said.

And thus began anew the debate that’s been waged among many Seahawks fans since Pete Carroll hired Bevell in 2011. Entering this season, Bevell’s groups finished 28th, 17th, 18th, ninth and fourth in total offense. Bevell has heard plenty of criticism, especially for the decision to throw the ball at the goal line in Super Bowl XLIX but even well before that.

This season – the first full one without running back Marshawn Lynch – the offense has failed to show consistency, ranking 15th with one game left to play in the regular season. Seattle has scored 10 or fewer points on four occasions in 2016 and the team’s 21.9 points-per-game average ranks 20th in the NFL. The offense, though, has been hampered by a variety of injuries at running back and an ineffective offensive line.

The Cardinals game was symbolic of the year-long offensive inconsistencies. As Danny O’Neil wrote, Seattle’s offense gained just 90 yards the first half before scoring 13 points in 164 seconds in the dramatic ending.

“As devastating as that first half was, that second half was exhilarating,” Huard said.

Carroll said in his postgame press conference that Seattle’s game plan didn’t come together at all in the first half because of the issues on offense. Salk said the onus is on Bevell for not figuring it out sooner and sticking to what worked later.

“That’s got to go on the offensive coordinator at least in part, if not entirely,” Salk said. “The fact that you come back in the second half and run the ball down their throats with Russell Wilson and Alex Collins, and for the first time you have some burst and some excitement, and you get down into the end zone and get the ball right back and what do you do? Six straight pass or seven straight pass plays. What is that?”

Salk said his feelings are not isolated to this season.

“This goes back to a failure with Percy Harvin, failure so far with Jimmy Graham, failure to continue to run the ball when you’re having success in doing so, failure to develop any sort of an offensive identity,” Salk said.

To which Huard countered: “Success to win a Super Bowl, success to shatter franchise records, success to have the second-most efficient quarterback in the history of the NFL. We can go back and forth and debate this thing. What he’s been asked to do, he’s done a pretty good job over five years. And this year, he’s got slop at running back. Christine Michael is this team’s leading rusher. This year he’s got a power forward playing left tackle, he’s got a revolving door at right tackle, he’s got a right guard that’s not getting better, he’s got protections that can’t pick up stunts, he’s got a basic protection of a tackle that can’t pick up a D-lineman. He’s got all of these factors that play a role into it, too, and I guess this is just his responsibility when he’s the O-coordinator and he’s in that position and he’s second in line to the head coach, he’s going to take the brunt of the criticism.”

Salk gave Bevell credit for designing an offense around the skills of the talent he’s had but criticized his ability as a play-caller.

Huard cautioned Seahawks fans about placing all of the blame into one basket.

“Before you just run him out and want Kyle Shanahan or some other great coordinator in here who is going to solve all these problems, those coordinators are going to look at that situation and say, ‘I want to go coordinate that group? With that O-line? Where’s there’s running back?'” Huard said.

“I don’t want a great coordinator,” Salk responded with a laugh. “I want a bad coordinator who I can continue to be mad at.”

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Huard: Tom Cable deserves equal blame as Darrell Bevell for Seahawks’ offensive woes