Huard: Expect the Seahawks to look similar on offense in 2020
Rather than fighting for the NFC Championship on Sunday, the Seahawks were at home, season finished, while the San Francisco 49ers dominated the Green Bay Packers to advance to the Super Bowl.
In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs and their high powered offense, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, were too much for the Tennessee Titans.
Mahomes threw for 294 and three touchdowns and led the team in rushing yards with 53 and added a rushing touchdown for good measure.
While the aerial game led the Chiefs to the Super Bowl, the 49ers ran the ball to victory. Led by Raheem Mostert’s 220 rushing yards and four touchdowns, San Francisco had 285 rushing yards. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed just six of eight attempts for 77 yards.
With the two Super Bowl teams showcasing entirely different offenses in their respective championship games, does Seattle change their offense towards what one of those two teams accomplished on Sunday?
Brock Huard joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Monday morning and said to expect more of the same from the Seahawks next season on offense, even if some want quarterback Russell Wilson to pass more to try and avoid slow starts that they had throughout the year, including their playoff loss to the Packers.
“I think that they’ll really want to be as they were this year, a blend of both of those systems,” Huard said. “The ability to throw it down the field and (quarterback Russell Wilson) is as good as anybody … and you also had a 1,100-yard rusher in Chris Carson.”
During the regular season, Seattle was ninth in scoring offense, 14th in passing yards and fourth in rushing yards.
“I think (head coach Pete Carroll) always says it man, ‘We’re not a run-first team, we are a balanced football team’ that is able to do whatever you’ve got to do to win each and every week against your opponent,” Huard said.
The Seahawks running game stalled in the postseason, due largely to Carson and backup Rashaad Penny suffering season-ending injuries during the final few weeks of the regular season. Despite struggling to get the rushing attack going, the Seahawks still handed the ball to running backs 32 times those two games for 58 yards.
The Seahawks were able to win against the Philadelphia Eagles and nearly steal one from the Packers because of Wilson’s stellar play. He led the team in rushing in both playoff games as well.
“I think the fact that you’ve got the most Mahomes-esque and Mahomes-like quarterback of just about anybody else in this league, you feel great about Russell and this thing should give you plenty of optimism going forward,” Huard said.
The 49ers are one of the more creative offenses in the league in terms of how they utilize their running backs and how they run the football, and their health with their running backs, tight ends and offensive line was a big reason why they ran for nearly 300 yards against the Packers.
When the Seahawks played Green Bay, they were down to their fourth running back in Travis Homer and Marshawn Lynch, who hadn’t played in more than a year before he signed with Seattle.
The Seahawks were also playing their third-string left guard in Phil Haynes, a backup center in Joey Hunt and were without tight end Will Dissly, who is an excellent run blocker in addition to a great receiver.
“I for one was watching that game yesterday really bummed that we didn’t get to see Chris Carson, we didn’t get to see Rashaad Penny, we didn’t get to see the full onslaught of what I think the Seahawks could have been able to do to that nickel and dime built defense of Green Bay,” Huard said.
San Francisco also does something seen as “old school” in their rushing attack that the Seahawks don’t really utilize.
“The one thing they do have that I have clamored for the Seahawks getting back to and that is the fullback,” Huard said. “When you’ve got the best fullback going in the league (in 49ers fullback Kyle Juszcyk), it gives you even more versatility and I think even more depth in your run game … They do more (creatively) than Seattle, mostly because that fullback is an absolute weapon for them, and then they couple it with a creative play action game off of it.”
The Seahawks will have big decisions to make on both sides of the football this offseason in order to take a step forward in order to reach the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl.