Seahawks Schottenheimer is actually saying all the right things
Based on the criticism Brian Schottenheimer has taken the past few days, you’d think he said the Seahawks were running the single wing.
Pete Carroll hired Brian Schottenheimer to be the Seahawks offensive coordinator for two reasons. He wants new challenges for Russell Wilson, and he wants the running game to improve. Schotty said he was going to do everything he could to achieve those goals. You’d think he had announced he was running the single wing and benching Russell Wilson while he was at it.
The great Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times wrote this in-depth look at the changes coming to the Seattle offense. As always, it’s a terrific piece, full of enlightening quotes from both Carroll and Schottenheimer. I believe much of the online furor was caused by this quote from the Seahawks offensive coordinator: “we were able to run the football when people knew we were going to run it.”
At first glance, that sounds pretty boastful. Perhaps it sounds stubborn. Maybe even a little stupid. I mean, who runs the ball when the defense knows you’re running it? For one, Schotty does. I’ve gone into considerable detail on this topic before, so I’ll briefly summarize here. When Schotty had talent, he had one of the best rushing attacks in the league. In fact, the year his Jets led the NFL in rushing yards, his starting quarterback was rookie Mark Sanchez.
It’s fair to say Sanchez was more green than his jersey. He threw 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. His passer rating was 63.0, his quarterback rating was 34.8. Do you seriously think any team was surprised the Jets would run the ball as much as they could? The Jets ran the ball 607 times, and still averaged 4.5 yards per carry. So tell me again how you can’t run the ball when everyone knows it. Schotty’s Jets offense hammered the ball 38 times a game. They only scored 348 points, but when your quarterback accounts for just 72 points, there isn’t a lot you can do.
Schotty had a few weak years – still better than Seahawks last two years
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When he had players on the downside of their careers, the rushing attack suffered. Schotty’s worst ranking was in 2011, when the Jets running game ranked just 22nd in the league. His worst team was better than the Sehawks performance last season. Sanchez ran for 103 of the Jets 1,692 yards that year. You may recall Russell Wilson led the Seahawks in rushing in 2017. He gained 586 of Seattle’s 1,629 yards on the ground. So Schotty’s worst running backs outgained Seattle’s 1,589 to 1,083. Please read that again. Schottenheimer’s worst running team outgained last year’s Seahawks by nearly 47 percent.
Let’s go back to that quote, just in case there are still a few people who prefer hot takes to facts. Schottenheimer’s actual quote is as follows:
"“I think the biggest thing with the running game is it starts with the guys up front,’’ he said. “That physical mindset of ‘hey, we’re going to control the line of scrimmage.’ That’s easier said than done. It’s easy to have that mentality. But, when you emphasize things in coaching you normally get results… we’ve always been the best at places I’ve been when we were able to run the football when people knew we were going to run it. We could throw the football when people knew we were going to throw it. That just gives you that balance you need to be successful.”"
Oh, no! Schotty actually said we could THROW the football when people knew it was coming, too! And he said…wait for it… he said you need balance to be successful. Oh, the horrors of overreaction to a quote taken out of context. And really, hasn’t everyone talked about how awful Seattle’s running game has been the past two years?
Now we finally have a guy who would have called Number 24 on the goal line in “that game”, and he’s supposedly saying all the wrong things. It’s pretty difficult for even the great Russell Wilson to get a team into the playoffs by himself. Last season proved it.
Maybe some people just missed the entire 2017 season. You know, the one where Wilson threw 553 passes and Seattle missed the playoffs? In 2013 – 2014, the Seahawks went to two Super Bowls with records of 13-3 and 12-4. And other than his rookie year, Wilson had his fewest passing attempts in those two seasons. So tell me again how the Seahawks shouldn’t run the ball.