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Seahawks OC on play-calling criticism: ‘We’re very comfortable with the way we play football’

Seahawks OC Brian Schottenheimer is entering his second year with Seattle. (AP)

One of the loudest critiques coming out of the Seahawks’ Wild Card loss to the Dallas Cowboys last weekend centered around Seattle’s offensive play-calling. But while offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said this team is always looking for ways to grow and improve, he reiterated that the Seahawks’ offensive philosophy isn’t going anywhere.

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On Thursday, Schottenheimer joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk to reflect on his play-calling both in that game and throughout the season.

“The biggest issue that we had (against Dallas) – and it was kind of the issue for us throughout the course of the year when we struggled – was third down,” Schottenheimer said in response to a question about why the team didn’t lean into the pass more. “We weren’t able to convert on third downs, we weren’t able to get momentum going. We’re kind of an offense, because we run the ball and we throw the deep play passes, that when you’re struggling on third down it kind of hurts your ability to get started.

“There were certainly things that we wanted to do… but we got behind the sticks. And so I think we’ve got to be better. Myself, (that means recognizing) OK, these are calls that can get us back on track, get us into third-and-3’s and 4’s, instead of third-and-9’s and 10’s… We didn’t get (the right plays) dialed up like we needed to, that starts with me, and again we didn’t execute perfectly.”

Is there enough evidence out there to say it’s more effective to throw the ball than to stick with your offensive philosophy?

“Well again, I think you look at our success against, arguably, the two best offenses in the NFL: The Rams and the Chiefs,” Schottenheimer said. “We beat the Chiefs in a shootout. We played great here against the Rams in the first game, we came up just short. But it was a fun game to watch. So the way that we play, it doesn’t prevent us from scoring.

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“There are certainly things we need to get better. There are certainly things that, as I learn these players and we learn the staff, and we get into another offseason (that we can improve upon). But I believe that the identity that we play with, the way that we played this year, was really cool because it was different. And it didn’t really slow us down. We didn’t get to where we want to go, but there’s still so much room for improvement. Again, you watch Russell grow, you watch Chris Carson’s development, you watch Tyler Lockett – what an unbelievable year he had. That’s the thing that as a coach you get excited about. And so we’re very comfortable with the way we play football — not that we don’t want to add things.”

Schottenheimer implied that while the Seahawks are sticking to a run-first offense, 2018’s season won’t necessarily be a blueprint for 2019.

“I think we’re always looking to grow,” he continued. “Hey look, we’re always going to be physical. There’s no question about that. We’re always going to run the football. We were the best in the league at doing it this year. We’re always going to do that. We’re always going to emphasize taking care of the football. We were the best in the league at that this year, almost historical. We’re always going to find ways for explosive (plays). But we’re always looking to grow.

“I know more about Russell today. He knows more about me. I know more about Pete, I know more about some of our skill players. So we’re going to go into this offseason excited, thrilled about the things that we did. ‘Hey what can we add?’ ‘You know, we really thought we were good at this, but in reality we really weren’t good at that, so let’s just take that out, and let’s add this in.’
“You’ve got to evolve in this game. And that’s what we’re excited about. But again, to say that we’re disappointed with the way it worked out at the end, for sure. Are we satisfied? No. But you tell me after year one, in our development, the process we’re going through, we’re really, really excited about where we’re going and what the future holds.”

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