Following the Seattle Seahawks Week 4 loss to the St. Louis Rams, head coach Pete Carroll was in search of answers for an offense that was struggling to find production.
The Seahawks were converting just 28-percent of their third down opportunities for the season and quarterback Russell Wilson had just thrown three interceptions in a 19-13 loss to the Rams. Wilson and the Seattle passing game had yet to throw for more than 160 yards in a game and Seattle had failed to score more than 20 points in three of their first four games.
Carroll decided to take a look at the success the Washington Redskins and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan were having with fellow rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III at the helm. Carroll went to school on how the Redskins were using Griffin and how they were relying heavily on the read-zone option offense that Griffin ran while at Baylor.
“I was impressed with how much they got out of it,” Carroll said. “…They’re way ahead of everybody else in terms of their commitment to a really college style of offense and it’s been very effective.”
In the weeks since, Seattle has added more read-option to their offense and Wilson’s productivity has taken sizable steps forward. Wilson has thrown for nine touchdowns with just four interceptions over the last five games and has three games with a passer rating of 96.8 or better. Success getting the ball in the end zone has improved as well as the Seahawks have scored touchdowns on six of their last eight red zone possessions.
Seattle has been able to continue to have success running the football with Marshawn Lynch out of the shotgun and mixing in their more traditional run game as well. While Wilson isn’t the athlete Griffin is, he does have the capability to run the zone-read option well enough to make defenses honest. Seattle then found success running play-action off the read-option to find completions down field against the Minnesota Vikings last week.
“It was a good move for me and it’s helped up a little bit,” Carroll said. “I was influenced a little bit more than I thought when I first looked at. You see some of our stuff coming to life and it’s helping us.”