Seahawks OC Brian Schottenheimer on Seattle’s evolving offense: ‘We’re so far ahead of where we were last year’
710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard had a chance to speak with Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer Thursday.
Schottenheimer answered a few questions about OTAs and minicamp; he spoke about the development of quarterback Russell Wilson and how the wide receiver group is coming along without longtime veteran Doug Baldwin. But he also took a step back to explain how Seattle’s offensive system, which has received its share of criticism for a reliance on the run, could evolve in its second year.
Schottenheimer alluded to the idea that the team would like to be more balanced — but don’t expect them to change their identity anytime soon.
“Without a doubt (we want to attack more in the passing game),” Schottenheimer said. “Russell in year two with what we’re trying to do, understanding the concepts, understanding the coverages. Again, we want to be balanced. People look at us and say, ‘They run the ball all the time.’ It’s not about rushing attempts or passing attempts, it’s about production. And we don’t apologize for the way we play. We scored the second-most points in team history last year. Is that what we want? No, we want to win a Super Bowl. But we’re always evolving. We’re thrilled about where we are today in the passing game, we’re maintaining, obviously, the running game, but it’s a constant work-in-progress that we’re excited about. But we are so far ahead of where we were last year to where we are now, and as a coach, that allows you to go into (the six-week break) with excitement.”
You can listen to Huard’s full interview with Schottenheimer in the audio clip embedded above, or on Brock and Salk’s podcast page.
Here are a few highlights:
What was your message to this offense as you enter this break? “The big message was to continue to spend time working in the book, continue to stay sharp mentally, have a plan for what you’re doing physically to stay in shape. This is a long break, and we need the break, but the vets do a good job of kind of teaching those young kids, ‘Hey, have a plan, mark out your calendar.’ But also stay in touch with each other. This is a special group of young men. I’m telling you. I’ve been doing it 22 years. This is a special group of young men. They love one another, they care about one another, they work hard for each other, they don’t want to let each other down. And that was the big message: spend time in your book, take care of yourself physically, but keep working those special relationships and bonds that you have.”
What do you feel this offense accomplished in the offseason? “We got a lot done (this offseason). We had a lot of fun. The theme all offseason has been about growth. Last year we thought we got off to a really, really good start for what we’re trying to get done here. We changed the mindset, became much more physical than maybe we were able to do in previous years, got the running game going, obviously big gains in the passing game. But the emphasis has been growth. These guys having a teachable spirit, really just diving into year two and learning even more of the specifics. Like we talked about at the end of the year, we’re just always evolving. And I finally see the guys reacting and not thinking. For a play-caller, for a coach, that’s such a good feeling because you can see that they’re just playing football — they’re playing like we play out in the backyard, and that tells you that they’ve got it down, which is going to help us play fast and execute.”
How do you see them reacting and not thinking? What exactly are you seeing? “I see the ability for us to communicate, to change plays when maybe we’ve got a bad play that doesn’t look very good. Before the quarterbacks are always the one, they know the check, you get that, but now we’ve got our guys anticipating, ‘Hey, we’re getting a certain look, so we’re going over here.’ A couple things today: you watched a play that we’ve run a handful of times where we isolate D.K. (Metcalf) on the backside, (today he had) probably the best slant I’ve seen him run all camp. He kind of pushes the guy, gets him running outside, because they’re afraid of the go ball… that was a good example of a guy that’s not thinking about, ‘Oh OK, it’s three steps, it’s this–,’ he’s just playing football.”
Russell Wilson really looks good when you watch him throw out there. Can he still benefit from that reacting theme? “Absolutely. He’s such a great player, he is a great player. I’ve been blessed, I’ve had some great ones and he’s certainly up there, I don’t want to compare those guys. But again, you see him solving problems, you see him get the ball out of his hands so fast. Obviously there was too many sacks last year, we know that. Some of it was protection, but some of it was Russ being Russ. But you just see the decisiveness… But the thing you fight with him, which is good, I got on him a little bit today, we were running a little option route on third down and he tried to throw a backside — a little corner route to the tight end — I was like, ‘Hey man don’t get bored, come on, why are you gettin’ bored?’ and he’s like, ‘Ah, you’re right, you’re right,’ but then he came back the next play. So it’s been fun to watch him get going and he’s just playing at a great level.”