Bumpus: Seahawks should use more spread looks on offense

Jan 17, 2020, 3:25 PM
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson...
Michael Bumpus wants Seahawks QB Russell Wilson to have a more spread offense in 2020. (Getty)

The Seahawks finished the 2019 season with a top-10 scoring offense, but slow starts and an insistence on running the football despite little to no success has led to frustration that the offense isn’t utilizing the skillset of its star player, quarterback Russell Wilson.

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That was evident during two of the team’s final three games. They entered halftime down 21-3 in their 28-23 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round and failed to score in the first half of the team’s 26-21 loss in Week 17 to the San Francisco 49ers.

With Wilson under contract for the foreseeable future and head coach Pete Carroll being signed for the next two years, will Seattle’s offense change next season from the run-first style Carroll loves?

It’s unlikely, but Michael Bumpus, a former NFL receiver, joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant and said if the Seahawks do want to add some different wrinkles to their offense, they should use more pass-heavy formations earlier in games.

“I think you just open up the playbook, run more quick game, and don’t be afraid to spread them out,” Bumpus said. “I think because the Hawks are so intent on running the football, they don’t spread it out. They don’t get in a five-wide (receiver) set too often because they like to run the football. Only when they’re down do they get in the five-wide set.”

Bumpus isn’t saying that Seattle should completely get away from its identity of running the football, which has been its backbone since Carroll took over in 2010, but that the offense needs to get more diverse.

“Come out one series and run the football, have your two tight ends, and come out the next series and run a bunch of three-receiver sets on one side, one receiver on that side and give this offense more looks,” Bumpus said. “You don’t have to be balanced. Take advantage of what the defense is giving you … I think sometimes they get so content on running the football they miss things and then when it’s time to pass the ball, everyone knows you’re passing the ball. Everyone knows how you’re going to pass the ball. You’re going to play action, roll out, boot and take a shot downfield.”

Bumpus said since Doug Baldwin after the 2018 season, the Seahawks’ pass game has been more reliant on deep plays downfield. He thinks the current group of receivers can accomplish what Baldwin used to excel at, which was catching passes on quicker routes and getting first downs.

“Maybe they don’t think they have a guy that can do that. I think they do,” Bumpus said. “I think Tyler Lockett is great at it and DK (Metcalf) is getting better at it. I even think David Moore can contribute with that.”

Wilson was an MVP-caliber player in 2019, so Bumpus has no reservations in adding more to his plate in terms of formations and play calls.

“Russell has shown he can handle it,” he said. “If you spread them out, the defense is most likely going to blitz you, and if they blitz there’s going to be guys open or Russ can do his magic thing and get first downs with his feet.”

Listen to Bumpus at this link or in the player below.

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