The Seahawks offense has struggled so far this season. Denying that is denying reality. Even against the Patriots, when the offense it’s best game by far, the offense struggled to move the ball in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. This team has to get this figured out, or their playoff hopes are going to evaporate pretty quickly.
Here are 5 things the Seahawks can do to help make things better. None of them involve going back in time and doing something different in the draft or free agency, and none of them have to wait until this next offseason. All are things that the team can, and should, do right now to help this offense get closer to a level of competency.
1) Stop using shotgun on 3rd and short – This is absolutely infuriating and frustrating as a fan. This is a power run team. Marshawn Lynch is averaging 4.4 yards per attempt, even with teams stacking the line to try and stop him. It makes no sense that the Seahawks continually drop back into shotgun and throw the ball every time they get to 3rd down.
Dropping into shotgun takes the entire threat of the run away from the Seahawks. The Defense knows that they are going to pass. The DEs widen. The Linebackers widen. The Seahawks are doing half of the defenses job for them by telling them that the run is not an option.
They would be much better suited to always have Lynch and Robinson in the I-formation in that situation, and use a balanced combination of run and play-action passes. At least then they’d have a chance of succeeding on occation.
2) Pass the ball more on 1st down – On first down, Wilson is completing 69% of his passes, has a 9.1 yards per attempt average, and a 101.4 rating. On all those downs his completion percent drops under 60%, just yard per attempt is in under 6, and his rating is in the 50′s.
Why the difference? Because teams are stacking the line trying to stop Lynch in those situations. Play-action or not, Wilson and the offense has been much for effective at finding mismatches and making things happen on first down, and they need to take advantage of that.
3) Stop going empty backfield - Every time the Seahawks go empty backfield, their opponents are automatically checking to a blitz that sends more pass rushers than the Seahawks have blockers. Until Wilson shows he can find the mismatch and get the ball out fast enough to victimize the blitz, they are going to continue to do so.
So far, the strategy has worked every time. The Seahawks need to keep a back in backfield help protect Wilson, or at least to stop teams from checking into their overload blitz.
4) Bring Back Deon Butler, and drop Charley Martin (Or Bring back Kellen Winslow, if his knee can handle it) – Martin was a good story in camp, but when Doug Baldwin is out the middle of the field is a void that opposing defenses just don’t even bother defending. The Seahawks need someone who can help Wilson by reliably getting open on 3rd down in the middle of the field. Martin isn’t getting it done, and Butler has shown the ability to do so in the past.
5) Keep Leon Washington on the sidelines – Leon is a great kick returner, but he is simply unsuited for this offense. There’s nothing that he does that Robert Turbin doesn’t do better. Running, Catching, blocking, Turbin deserves the snaps, and does more with them.
I have nothing against Washington. He’s a good player and a major asset for the Seahawks, but not putting their best players on the field in key situations is never going to help this struggling offense find it’s footing.