Two weeks after the Seahawks announced the firing of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, the search for his replacement appears to be coming to an end on reports that Los Angeles Rams passing-game coordinator Shane Waldron will take the Seattle OC job.
And maybe it’s that void in news that had Seahawks Twitter — and wherever else Seahawks fans gather on social media — aflutter over a comment made this week by receiver DK Metcalf.
Appearing on the “I Am Athlete” podcast with former NFL players Brandon Marshall and Chad Ochocinco, Metcalf was asked what happened to the Seahawks’ offense the second half of this season.
“Teams just started to figure us out,” Metcalf said. “We’ve been running deep in the past — ever since (Seahawks coach) Pete (Carroll) got there. It’s play-action, run the ball, run the ball, run the ball, go deep. Teams just said we’re not gonna let you go deep.”
That comment wasn’t necessarily all that different from Carroll’s at the end of the year saying that he wanted to get opponents from not playing so much two-deep zone in 2021 as they did at the end of the 2020 season — a defense designed to take away the deep pass.
“It’s not just the running game,” Carroll said. “It is the style of passes that will help us some. But we have to get after it a little bit differently. As it unfolded in the end of the season, it became really obvious. In the last four or five games, it became really obvious.
“… I want to see if we can run the ball more effectively to focus the play of the opponents and see if we can force them to do things like we’d like them to do more.’’
Essentially, Carroll agrees with Metcalf — teams figured out what the Seahawks were good at in the first half of the season and devised schemes to take it away in the second half.
Of course, the focus on scheme doesn’t take into account that Seattle incurred some personnel issues as the year wore on — the starting offensive line playing together only twice in the final 13 games, including playoffs, due to injury; injuries also held out backs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde for a while.
That focus can also obscure that Seattle played what were statistically better defenses in the second half of the season than in the first, including the top-rated Rams three times. (Any scheme with Jalen Ramsey and a healthy Aaron Donald is better than one without them.)
There’s also the idea that Seattle simply was not throwing deep because opponents were playing them to throw deep is giving in a little bit and voluntarily taking away what Seattle does best: Russell Wilson annually ranks at the top of the most accurate deep passers in the NFL, and Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are obviously well-suited to the deep-passing game, as well.
Metcalf’s comment — and the reaction that greeted it — shows it’s a coaching decision that might be as scrutinized as any Carroll will ever make as Seahawks coach.