With Mike Macdonald in charge, we can expect changes in the Seahawks offense, especially with new OC Ryan Grubb calling the plays. I expect the three biggest jumps in production to come from these players. Even though the overall concept will be from Macdonald, the head coach will have to rely on Grubb to be in near total control of the offense.
Most of the failure of the 2023 Seahawks can be blamed on the defense. Despite the cottage industry of Geno haters, the stats don't lie. At least, not too badly. The Seattle defense ranked 25th in points allowed, 22nd in turnovers, and dead last in time of possession allowed. The offense wasn't great, but its rankings of 17th in points and 5th in turnovers were certainly better than the defensive showing. There's still a lot of room for improvement, of course, as they were 25th in time of possession.
I'd say the hire of defensive phenom Macdonald points to the team's emphasis on defense. The fact that Seattle has hired the defense-oriented Leslie Frazier as the assistant head coach and new defensive coordinator Aden Durde before an OC bears this out. Late Friday night, Seattle reportedly hired former Huskies OC Ryan Grubb as their offensive coordinator. Even before that hire, Macdonald outlined what he wanted to see from the Seahawks offense. Based on his comments, I expect these three players to take big steps forward this season.
The Seattle Seahawks will see Jaxon Smith-Njigba shine in 2024
I guess the lead-in photo gave it away, so there's no point in burying my first choice. No one can say Jaxon Smith-Njigba had a bad rookie year. There was some conjecture early in the season that JSN wasn't worth the first-round pick the Hawks used to bring him to Seattle. As I wrote then, the vast majority of those concerns were premature. Through those first four games, JSN had 12 catches, which isn't bad for a third wide receiver on a team whose tight ends also caught over 100 balls the previous year. The problem was that Smith-Njigba only had 62 yards and zero scores to show for those receptions.
As I detailed then, those weak numbers were far more a result of Shane Waldron's design than JSN's play. His average depth of target was just 3.2 yards. By the end of the season, that figure would nearly double to 6.1 yards. Thankfully, Waldron and his baffling play selection have moved on. You can be sure that JSN isn't going to miss him.
In his introductory press conference, Mike Macdonald said that the team would try to be explosive on offense. Okay, that "try to be" part bothered me for a minute, but we all know what he meant. A big part of being explosive is getting the ball into the hands of Jaxon Smith-Njigba where he can do something with it. The Seahawks clearly did a better job of this as the season progressed, but I expect JSN to take a huge step forward this year.