October 18, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) calls a play at the line of scrimmage against the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE

How To Fix The Seattle Seahawk Offense

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.

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Tags: Deon Butler Marshawn Lynch Russell Wilson Seahawks Seattle Seahawks

  • Hawk_Eye

    You can add on 2nd and short, throw it. You can always come back and run on 3rd and short. EXPAND THE PLAYBOOK! Russell Wilson is one smart dude. He can handle it.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      That was actually in my original outside. I scrapped it because until they actually stop being stupid on 3rd down I’m ok with them running on 2nd and short and getting the first down to keep the drives alive.

  • Danfromspokane

    You can’t put the
    blame on a rookie quarterback when the offensive coordinator won’t show a
    little creativity. Our passing game
    doesn’t threaten anyone and the stats show it.
    Wilson is good on the bootleg also; a few more would loosen up the
    defense crowding the line.

    • 12thMan_Rising

      I’m not sure if you meant to imply that I did, but I never once blamed the QB. 3 of 5 are schematic/game planning choices that need changed, and the others are personnel alterations.

  • Leo

    Watching the game only told me one thing, the coordinator needs work on opening things up. Secondly, the receivers need to revisit the basic concept of catching the football. They are suppose to be professionals and yes, one can have a bad day, yet not every weekend. Now, I know that some of the receivers are fairly consistent, however when you get hit in the chest with the ball, it’s not the QB’s fault, its the receiver! Same things with laying the ball on someone’s hands! If you’re going to be a professional, than you have to catch that ball! The offense needs to get together for another face to face. Look each other in the eye and agree to get their act together as a team.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.turne James Turne

    I’m glad Bevell’s play calling is under scrutiny. I knew Wilson was getting very few pass attempts, annoying when people call for Flynn because our pass yardage is low. After seeing Leon Washington repeatedly take the field on 3rd and long….to run a draw plays, I took a look at the splits and I’m now convinced Bevells play calling is a serious problem. Through 7 games Lynch has only touched the ball 8 times on third down. I’m not sure in what game plan that makes sense. On third and long Bevell is just as likely to call a run as a pass, yes its really 50/50. At first I thought the low amount of pass attempts was just conservative play calling but this is just nonsense play calling.

    I don’t know whats going on or why Carroll isn’t dealing with it but it needs to be fixed.

  • http://twitter.com/Spokanedad Spokanedad

    Giaccamini (SP?) was dominated again. It was embarrassing after awhile. The right side of the pocket was continually collapsing. If they go into a single back or no back set on third down anymore-eliminating Lynch as a running threat, Bevell needs to be fired. I love Russell but with our right side collapsing and defenses obviously gameplanning an auto blitz on these sets, nothing will change. The only way to keep good defenses honest right now is to keep Lynch a threat on every play…

  • Hawkman

    WELL I WILL! Blame the QB! that is. He is not taking the right reads on the presnap D and thus going to the wrong recievers ( order wise ) in his reads . This is an ongoing problem and he should have been sat and watched this year. Put in Matt Flynn before it is to late!!!!!!!! Other points are excellent !

  • Hawkman

    Change the QB! Wrong reads at presnap leading to wrong progression in live reads. Other ideas are great too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.turne James Turne

    Passing on first down will be a huge boon to this offense. The only team as lopsided as us with rushing it on first down are the Redskins. Go figure. The vast majority of NFL offense will keep the run to pass ratio at about equal on first down. we have a two to one ratio of run to pass on first down. Why do this? A few reasons, as stated in the article on first down, when the defense has the most yardage to give up, they’re more likely to flat out bet on what you’re going to do based on what you’ve done in the past. This has certainly been happening to us. The next reason you don’t want to run it all the time on first down is simply because it will gain you less yardage per attempt. What’s the point of doubling up on the plays that are grabbing you less yardage? Actually its a good idea to pass more period, not just on first down, a good ground attack is there to keep the defense honest not rack up yardage. The final reason is that it puts you into a lot more second and shorts, thats when the play book is wide open and you can feel good about calling anything.


    Carroll isn’t changing QBs, he’s watched the games, looked at the stats, coaches them at practice. Two bad games against the Cards and the 49s, two top five pass defenses and a fluky game against the Rams hasn’t convinced most people Wilson is done. Thinking Flynn would do anything better than Wilson is pure speculation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/doink.phillips.5 Doink Phillips

    “occation”? Spell check is your friend.

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  • http://twitter.com/Spokanedad Spokanedad

    PA will support the passing game.. Ditch the one back and no back sets, keep Marshawn a constant threat to run to keep the D line honest, and either coach the right side of the line up on pass protection, replace Giaccomini, keep a TE in on that side to at least chip the DE, or a combination… One over looked topic is how quickly the right side is breaking down-leading to instant pressure on Wilson-not good for the rookie still learning his progressions.. If you look at RG3 who is clearly ahead of Wilson right now but has similar style to Wilson-everything they do is off of PA.. They don’t leave him on his own in empty sets…

  • Hanley H. Bonynge

    Darrell Bevell has to go. Period. I have seen no evolution in his play calling and no creativity. I’d rather go out taking chances and swinging than spinning our wheels. I’d also like to see the Seahawks attempt to get some points at the end of the first half instead of just taking a knee with a minute or so remaining. Points are a scarce resource for this team. Kneeling doesn’t show that that is understood.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gbilessr Gary Biles Sr

    Part of the play calling is based on not wanting to turn the ball over…this is info based on comments given by the coaches, not wanting to overload a young QB, so they are keeping it simple. But I agree…it is too simple and defenses are predicting what Seattle is going to do on certain downs. If you’re going to keep it simple and stick to a few formations to allow you’re QB to grow, at least change the look of the formations. Change the rhythm of the formations to keep defenses guessing. And as someone alluded to earlier…leaving an empty backfield only tells a defense what your intent is, allowing them to drop more people into coverage defending against the pass. The other aspect of the passing game and I’m not knocking the rookie…but if your intended receivers are covered, yet you have a wide open target on the other side…he has to find them to keep drives alive. Big example of this was during the 49ers game and his pick, the play was a deep pass to Braylen who was covered like a glove down the sideline, while Sidney Rice was all alone on the opposite side…he has to be able to do his check downs and if his intended target is not there, go back to the open receiver, that is a QB decision, no matter what play the coaches called. And of course as we are all aware of…the receivers need to catch the ball when it’s in their hands! Catch made…we would have beat the Cardinals…catches made…we could have beat the 49ers, it’s that close!
    One thing I know…is that the Seattle coaches believe in their players and they have too! They don’t want to disrupt or bring in other players at this point in the season, but would rather work with the group they currently have and keep the belief that these players will respond and get better as the season progresses, then address their issues during the off season.

  • birdofprey

    Love the article, it was crazy to read another fans thoughts are the exact same as my own but I’m sure many Hawk fans have it. I don’t understand empty back sets with the HB out wide. Deon Butler getting cut because of his height for Charlie Martin still bothers me. He was playing as good as Doug Baldwin when given the chance. If I watch Evan Moore drop one more pass I am going to question again why we cut Winslow.