The Seahawks’ offense with Brian Schottenheimer was a bit of an enigma. It worked efficiently but not against the Cowboys. That is an issue.
When Seahawks coach Pete Carroll got rid of former offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell in the offseason after the 2017 season, he did so because he wanted to get back to the kind of offense that had won him games during most of his career. Carroll hired Brian Schottenheimer to replace Bevell because Schottenheimer knew how to run the ball. Bevell had forgotten how.
Carroll knew that his Seattle team would be young on defense and have new parts among the offensive line. To save the defense from being on the field too much, just as they were in previous years, Schottenheimer would be brought in to run and run again and use Russell Wilson less than Bevell had. Eat clock by rushing the ball and not get Wilson beat up; That was the plan.
In the first two weeks of 2018, Schottenheimer seemed to forget why he was hired. The game plan against the Broncos and Bears was to throw the ball a lot and not use running back Chris Carson. Or so it appeared. The plan didn’t work and Seattle went 0-2.
But in week three against Dallas, Seattle got back to running the ball and won. The Seahawks continued to follow the same path the rest of the season and went 10-4 after those first two losses. Seattle finished first in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 160 yards per game. This was 8 yards more than second place Baltimore.
Seattle’s offense finished sixth in the NFL in scoring as well. No matter what people think about Schottenheimer as a play-caller in the regular season, most of the time his teams win games. That is, in the regular season.
The issue with Schottenheimer’s imagination and his offenses, though, is they are limited. Once his teams get to the postseason, and opposing defenses are normally consistently better, his offenses become too predictable to win important games.
In Seattle’s Wild Card loss against the Cowboys, Dallas rushed just four and loaded the box with linebackers and safeties knowing Seattle wanted to keep slamming the ball in the middle of the line with its running backs. Schottenheimer never adjusted his game plan until near the very end of the game. That wasn’t smart.
If Schottenheimer doesn’t have a great defense to go with his offense, the team will fail. When he was with the Jets in 2009 and 2010 – the last times that a Schottenheimer led offense made the playoffs – New York had great defenses. In the six games that the Jets were involved in the playoffs in those two seasons, New York averaged 20 points per game. That wasn’t enough to win a Super Bowl.
Time and again this season, Schottenheimer started drives by calling not just one run up the middle but two. If Schottenheimer did not have a quarterback like Wilson to make his offense look better than it was, Seattle would have been awful offensively.
The point is that Seattle will never win a Super Bowl with Schottenheimer as its offensive coordinator. The Seahawks may win enough games to get to the playoffs but will 12s be satisfied simply with being good but never being great? Because to be great, Seattle will need an offensive coordinator with more imagination and ability to adjust during games. That isn’t Schottenheimer.