Russell Wilson says Seahawks got “a little bit passive” offensively

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As the Seattle Seahawks try to figure out a way forward offensively after cratering in the second half of the year, quarterback Russell Wilson says he thinks one of the reasons for that dip in production was due to the offense becoming too passive.

In an interview with Colin Cowherd of FOX Sports, Wilson gave several reasons as to why the offense suddenly couldn’t move the ball or score as efficiently as it had in the first half of the year when Wilson was considered to be a front-runner for MVP. But perhaps the most interesting part of his answer was the comment about the offense becoming too passive.

“I think the thing for us, we had such an electric, amazing start at the beginning of the year. We were able to do everything. We went for it every game, every play, every possession,” Wilson said. “We hit some bumps in the road. I could have played better. I should have played better. I can do my part, too, obviously, as well. I think what happened was that we had several guys go down up front, we didn’t have our starters, necessarily, and everything else.

“But also as our defense kept continuing to play better, that’s the time for us to really take off and keep going and keep preparing at the highest level. That’s something we really wanted to be able to do throughout the rest of the season. Unfortunately, we didn’t go for it as much, I don’t think. I think we got a little bit passive. And we got to make sure that never happens again. We got to make sure we do everything we can to be playing this Sunday. That’s what it takes. We got great players, we got our best players, we got to let it go, go for it and everything else.

“I think on offense, we didn’t adjust great throughout those tough (games). We had a couple games we could have adjusted better. That was last year, and I think that ultimately this offseason is really about ‘How can I be the best version of myself?’ And across the board. Ultimately, like I said, my mindset is we should be playing today – or I should say this weekend – so I think that’s really what matters most to me. When I wake up every day, every morning, you have that itch.”

The Seahawks averaged 34.25 points per game over the first eight games of the season in compiling a 6-2 start to the year. Over their final nine games, including a playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the production plummeted to just 22.8 points per game. Take out a 40-point effort against a then winless New York Jets team and the average drops to just 20.6 points per game, essentially two touchdowns a game less than they managed the first half of the year.

There could be a problem in that Wilson and head coach Pete Carroll don’t appear to view the reason for the dip the same way. While both have said they didn’t do enough to adapt to what defenses were throwing at them the second half of the year, Wilson thinks the offense throttled down. Carroll has said that he thinks they didn’t pivot quickly or effectively enough to get more balanced when teams were taking away their deep passing game with certain coverages.

I want to see if we can run the ball more effectively to focus the play of the opponents and see if we can force them to do things like we’d like them to do more, like we have been able to do that in the past,” Carroll said after the season. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to run the ball 50 times a game. It means we need to run the ball with direction and focus and style that allows us to dictate the game.

“I mean I just, frankly, I’d like to not play against two-deep looks all season long next year. And so we have to be able to get that done. It’s not just the running game. It is the style of passes that will help us some, but we have to get after it a little bit differently. As it unfolded in the end of the season, it became really obvious. In the last four or five games, it became really obvious.”

The Seahawks did not suddenly shift to a “three yards and a cloud of dust” offense in the second half of the year. They became a relatively bad passing team. Counting all Wilson’s attempts, scrambles and sacks, Seattle was still calling pass plays at over a 60 percent rate in the second half the year. Chris Carson never had more than 16 attempts in a game all season. Only three times all year did they have more rushing attempts than passes in a game, two of which came in the first five weeks.

Wilson was completing 71 percent of his passes with 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions though the first eight games. Over the final nine, he completed just 64 percent of his attempts with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.

The team needs to game-plan better and get better play out of its offensive line. Wilson will need to play better too.

The Seahawks fired Brian Schottenheimer after the season and hired Shane Waldron to run the unit moving forward. He will be tasked with finding the right way to move the group forward while melding Carroll’s and Wilson’s views on what needs to be fixed to get the offense back in form.

19 responses to “Russell Wilson says Seahawks got “a little bit passive” offensively

  1. This is a brewing storm. Wilson wants to air it out more, and Pete wants to be more conservative. Waldron is going to have his hands full keeping both guys happy.

  2. They didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t run the ball so teams knew they could sit back and take away the deep ball that worked in the first half of the season. They never adjusted their passing game to take advantage of what was given, instead they continued to try to force what was being taken away. Schotty stunk it up second half of the season.

  3. Seattle is up against the cap, they’ve squandered pick after pick. Personnel department is abysmal. Schneider is vastly overrated. The game has passed Pete by. Wilson will never win another Super Bowl. Time to move on and blow it all up…….

  4. Seattle is up against the cap, they’ve squandered pick after pick. Personnel department is abysmal. Schneider is vastly overrated. The game has passed Pete by.

    1 for 5.. maybe 2 for 5..

    They’ve made the Playoffs 8 of the last 9 years. Haven’t had a losing record since 2011. So we’ll start there, if you want to talk about the personnel dept. If you want to talk abysmal, take a look at the Lions or Bengals…

    They have made some really bad trades. Harvin, Graham, Richardson.. Adams sure looks like more of the same. But, they also made a couple trades that really worked out; Clowney, Carlos Dunlap.

    Hate going back to it, but the Super Bowl loss decides this conversation. With a win, this entire conversation is different. People would just now be souring on Pete. Even with the loss, undeniably, he is the greatest coach, and most prominent figure in team history.

    The future depends on the D. The game may have passed Pete by. I never thought I’d see the day he fielded a bad defense. I’m not sure what it will take to get it right. They have issues everywhere, even at LB as KJ and Wagner can’t sustain that level of play forever.

    Russ is going to keep doing what he’s always done. If they can’t fix the other side of the ball, it won’t matter, and they definitely won’t get back to a Super Bowl.

  5. The problem was primarily schematic. Schottenheimer’s version of the Air Coryell is capable of dictating defense’s reactions so long as those defenses do not correctly anticipate the play call. At the beginning of the year, the Seahawks offense put defenses on rollerskates by not doing what they expected, which was to run on neutral downs. Minnesotta finally figured out that the Seahawks were just not pounding the rock like they had in seasons past. That allowed them to anticipate the Seahawks’ playcalls. To make matters worse for the offense, with that anticipation, first Minnesotta’s defense and then everyone else’s defense were able to dictate plays to the offense. They did so by disguising their coverages and pressures at the line of scrimmage to get Wilson to check to a specific concept which would then run right into the teeth of the defense that was actually called. That was what that explosion of turnovers in the middle of the season was about. That rattled Wilson, and you could see him lose trust in plays, which led to him missing a wide open Tyler Lockett on several occasions. Lockett had 100 catches, but he earned a tremendous amount more. What got Schottenheimer fired was that once the offense got on its heels, he just kept going with the same scheme that Minnesotta cracked. Teams just sat in two-high looks all season, as Carroll said, and neutral downs got wasted on every drive. It is honestly inexplicable that, with a stable full of studs at running back, they just kept letting those seven-man boxes go unpunished.

  6. People talk about the Green Bay Packers ‘wasting the career of Aaron Rodgers’, despite getting to the NFC Championship game 3x since 2015. The Seahawks haven’t sniffed a NFCCG since the 2014 season, despite Russell consistently putting up huge numbers and leading his offense to top 10 in the league. Is Seattle wasting Russell’s career? Discuss.

  7. Packers V Seahawks??

    Pretty similar, I’d say. Something is missing, just not complete teams.

    Pretty clear what it is going to take for Seattle to get back to the top. They have to fix that D.

    Green Bay.. after that loss to Tompa… I think they’re out of chances, outside of an amazing Draft that turn the script on its head.

  8. By definition, pass protection is passive. It’s offensive defense of the QB.

    Sorry Mr. Wilson, when you got “aggressive” you made turnovers. Work smarter, not harder. Paul Brown didn’t revolutionize gridiron football by being more aggressive. That’s like a race car accelerating too much in a corner and spinning out. Perhaps race car driving would be good cross training? It requires 7.5x faster reaction time at 150 MPH, compared to Metcalf running at just 20 MPH.

    Those “bumps in the road” were INJURIES to the offensive line. Seattle needs a better strength & conditioning unit, and should have re-signed Justin Britt instead of playing a third string center. It’s the ghost of Bud Grant haunting Pete Carroll, all over again.

    It’s not run first or pass first, it’s BLOCK FIRST!

    And BTW, Alex Collins looked good. Bring him back.

    Good comment: themaskettaman

  9. It was the strangest thing though, early doors, the offence was on fire and the defence was hot trash, then it totally switched.

    Would have been nice if the two could have been in sync for once.

  10. If Wilson would learn to throw off of a 3 and 5 step drop that would bring the safeties up. His scrambling and running around makes for good TV. But every DC knows that you don’t need to worry about the 3-12 yard pass attempt. So you can stay in 2 high.

    Metcalf cannot be covered 1-on-1. By alternating their attack – running more, throwing short passes – the safeties will come up and you’ll get Metcalf isolated.

    My wife is a Seahawks fan. I call out their play about 70% of the time presnap. I’m a dummy. So I assume DCs know what they are going to run 95% of the time.

  11. Yes, seahawkscritique, the injuries on the line were huge. When Brandon Shell got hurt and Dwayne Brown was fighting through something that looked like it seriously hurt, Wilson started getting hit from both sides at once. Heck, I would say that was precisely why they lost the Wild Card game. The Rams sent loops and stunts at the Seahawks’ tackles the whole day, and they got just torn up by them. There are not enough good linemen in the league to have any depth.

    Speaking of which, they need to bring back Ethan Pocic. He looked solid at center, and he is built perfectly for the wide zone running game that Waldron may install (Who knows? He has absolutely zero tape out there). Pocic is small but athletic, and he has a great burst to the second level. He is just the kind of guy you want in the middle to seal off pursuit.

    I agree about Alex Collins. Dude ran Hungry with a capital “H.” He and Pocic are two guys who are sure to be cheap but highly valuable contributors.

  12. Great QBs can carry team with problems only for a while, winning a few more games than they should, keeping them in contention until they correct their shortfalls. The Seahawks did not adequately do so and Wilson wore down towards the end of the season. No SB.

  13. Winning will fix the whole situation. How do they get there? Running has to be a legitimate threat or teams drop back and better stop the passing game. The pass game can thrive with an improved run threat, better offensive line play and imagination/in-game adjustability.

    I’m not sure the coach & players are on opposite ends of the spectrum. They simply see the same spot from the exact same point of view.

  14. Seattle’s offensive line could not push anyone back…it caused big problems…they actually got bullied by the Giants and the Rams because of this issue…Seattle’s air attack isn’t the problem….

  15. > themaskettaman Re: Ethan Pocic.

    I absolutely agree that Pocic — with A PFF grade of 62.4 — did very well by Seahawks current standards. I still think trading Max Unger killed the O-Line for years.

    Britt was unsigned and available when both Pocic and Kyle Fuller were injured. Second string Fuller had a PFF grade of 32.2, and third stringer Damien Lewis was a fish out of water. With A PFF grade of 62.0 in 2019, Britt would have been, and still can be, the killer backup or tandem, particularly since he is already up to speed on Mike Solari’s system.

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