Seahawks can definitely expect improvement under Brian Schottenheimer

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer celebrates with Plaxico Burress #17 and Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets during their game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on November 27, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27: New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer celebrates with Plaxico Burress #17 and Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets during their game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on November 27, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

Brian Schottenheimer has complete control of the Seahawks offense now. This is a good time for a deeper look at his track record.

For the first time since 2011 the Seahawks offense will be directed by a guy not named Darrell. At times he made you wonder which of the Darryls he was. Wrong spelling, but similar decision-making skills at the worst possible moments. Now the reigns to the offense has been handed over to Brian Schottenheimer. Pete Carroll expects big improvements on the offensive side of the ball. Makes sense, right, otherwise why hire the guy? So let’s look at the expectations, then at what Schottenheimer has been able to do in the past.

First things first. From now on, he’s Schotty. It would have been fun to go with Mr. Unlimited, but that’s taken. Okay, back on topic. Pete expects Schotty to do two things. First task: improve, revive, and basically resuscitate the running game. Second task: make Russell Wilson even better. Those are two very different jobs, to be sure. Luckily, Schotty appears to be highly qualified to pull off both. Again, probably why Pete hired him.

Of course we’ve already written about Schotty a couple of times. But it never hurts to take another look, especially when the future of the Seahawks offense is at stake. There is simply no way Seattle can return to the playoffs with only one touchdown generated by someone not named Mr. Unlimited. So can Schotty make it happen?

Seahawks can absolutely expect improvement under Schotty

Seattle Seahawks
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Seattle Seahawks

How can I be so confident? Because he’s done it before, with lesser personnel. He became the Jets offensive coordinator in 2006, and promptly took them from 29th in points scored to 18th. That was with Chad Pennington puling the trigger. Throw in one year of a 39 year old Brett Favre, then you have two years of the Sanchize himself. Overall the Jets ranked 18th, 25th, 9th, 13th and 13th again in scoring under Schotty. Then in 2011 the wheels came off (mainly off future Hall of Famer LaDanian Tomlinson) and the offense dropped back to 25th in touchdowns again. Schotty needed a new job.

He wound up with what was then the St. Louis Rams and noted offensive genius Jeff Fisher. Fisher was so brilliant he managed to hold his coordinator Josh McDaniels to 193 points in 2011. All Schotty did was coax an extra 106 points out of Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson in his first season with the Rams.

Now Bradford did miss six games under McDaniels, but Schotty bumped his passer rating from 70.5 to 82.6. It’s not like McDaniels was new at the job, as he’d had three years as a coordinator and was just coming off two years as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. The way I see it, Schotty did better work with Bradford that McDaniels did. Seriously, how hard is it to get a good performance out of Tom Brady anyway?

Now I’m the first to admit that Russell Wilson is no Sam Bradford. For one thing, Mr. Unlimited actually suits up for his games. He’s certainly no Mark Sanchez, either. Unlike Sanchez, Wilson has thrown more touchdowns than interceptions in his career. That’s right, Mark Sanchez threw 86 touchdowns and 86 interceptions in his seven years in the league. And Schotty turned that guy into the Sanchize.

Seahawks will run run run under Schotty

As for the running game, Schotty’s record shows he needs a good running back. Imagine that, right? What’s most intriguing to me is the Jets rushing performance in 2009 when they led the league in attempts (607) and yards (2,756). Now, who has mentioned the Seahawks running the ball 600 times in the past? Oh yeah, that would be Pete Carroll. The Jets were led by the 5’10” 220 pound Thomas Jones, a fine player, but certainly not a Hall of Famer. He didn’t even become a lead back until his fifth year in the league. Granted, Dave McGinnis was his coach for his first three years, so I’ll give Thomas a pass on that.

Jones was rock solid in 2009 with 1,402 yards on 331 carries. The difference came in the play of the backups. Rookie Shonn Greene added 540 yards on the ground. Despite ending his season with a broken leg in week seven, Leon Washington added 331 rushing yards. Hopefully you remember he joined the Seahawks the very next year as a dynamic return specialist. Finally wide receiver Brad Smith chipped in 207 yards on 18 carries.

Sounds like Schotty knows how to identify a lead back, and still have a full committee supporting him in the backfield. With Rashaad Penny, Chris Carson, Mike Davis, C. J. Prosise and J.D. McKissic all in the mix, the Seahawks have plenty of weapons at their disposal.

In case you were wondering – because I was too – Schotty did employ a fullback in his schemes. In his first two seasons with the Jets they made little use of the fullback. They ranked 20th and 19th in rushing those years. In 2008 fullback Tony Richardson came aboard after more than a decade of plowing holes for guys like Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson.

Schotty’s running game really kicked into high gear then. Once T-Rich was in the Jets backfield, New York jumped from 19th in rushing yards to 5th. Of course they shot to first overall in 2009, and 4th in 2010 as Tomlinson and Greene combined for over 1,600 yards. Then they dropped to 12th in rushing in 2011, and the Sanchize couldn’t carry the team after all.

There’s an Easter egg in the Jets 2011 season for the Seahawks

That Easter egg goes by the name of Tony Richardson. The key is, he was no longer with the Jets in 2011. Richardson was an absolutely devastating blocker. Without him, New York’s running game suffered. In case you need proof, he made three Pro Bowl three times. In those three Pro Bowl Seasons, Richardson rushed for 129 yards and had 283 yards receiving.

That’s combined for all three seasons, so it’s safe to say he was honored for his blocking. Because of those blocking skills, Richardson is in the Kansas City Chiefs Ring of Honor. Our sister site Arrowhead Addicts named him to their all time Chiefs team. It’s safe to say the Schotty knows a great blocker when he sees one.

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Sadly, Richardson is now 46 years old, so it isn’t likely he’ll be joining the Seahawks for 2018. His history does show that Brian Schottenheimer – time to get respectful, wrapping this one up – values the fullback position as the key to the running game. Who we’ll eventually see there is a topic for another time.  Just know that Schottenhemier has a track record of getting the most out of his quarterbacks and running backs.