RENTON — Without question, coach Pete Carroll said this week, the hiring of Shane Waldron has given Seahawks defensive coaches a better feel for how the Los Angeles Rams’ offense operates.

“Without question,” Carroll repeated for emphasis. “We’ve been talking about it the whole time, in all aspects. We really couldn’t have more help in that regard, you know. That doesn’t mean that it shows (on game day), but we do have a lot of insight.”

Since Sean McVay took over as their coach in 2017, the Rams have beaten the Seahawks more than anyone, winning six of their nine meetings entering Thursday night’s NFC West showdown at Lumen Field.

And as Carroll pointed out, his plucking of Waldron away from the Rams’ staff to be the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator this offseason was a clear indication of his respect for McVay’s schemes.

“Obviously so much that we brought it here,” Carroll said.


The flip side, of course, is the Rams (3-1) have a lot of history with Waldron, who spent five years working with McVay. And these teams play each other twice a year — three times last season — so it’s not as if they didn’t already have a grasp of what the other likes to do.


Still, McVay said Waldron has taken the Rams’ West Coast-styled offense and added wrinkles with the Seahawks. Another Rams assistant, Andy Dickerson, followed Waldron to Seattle and has implemented new outside-zone block concepts on the Seahawks’ offensive line.

“They’ve got a lot of playmakers, but I think Shane’s putting his own spin on it,” McVay said this week. “There are some elements of some things that would look familiar to you guys. But it’s certainly the Seahawks’ offense for sure. And he’s done a nice job for the first four weeks, without a doubt.”

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was involved in the hiring process of the offensive coordinator in January. Wilson and Waldron had never met before the interview process, and Wilson was impressed in their initial virtual calls.

“I had always been curious of what the Rams were doing, with up-tempo especially,” Wilson said. “ … When (general manager) John Schneider and Pete and I talked about who the guys could possibly be, that (tempo) was one of the things that stood out. For me, that was something that definitely mattered in the sense of, how can we be slightly different? What can we add? How can we continue to challenge?”

During a follow-up Zoom call, Wilson at one point asked Waldron to call a simulated drive. Waldron would make each call, and Wilson would visualize making the play.

“We had some fun,” Wilson recalled. “ … That was interesting, because his mind clicked in. I wanted to see how he would react.”


Waldron, naturally, called for up-tempo plays, knowing that’s what Wilson wanted.

“He knew he was selling,” Carroll said with a smile.

That simulated series was an important get-to-know-you step that helped lead to Waldron’s hiring. It almost helped the new OC get to know how his new QB’s mind works.

“He always wants to hear play calls, always wants to hear drives, always wants to visualize what’s going to happen out on the field,” Waldron said. “That was my first glimpse into what’s been a steady part of the process.”

Through Waldron’s first four games as a play-caller, the Seahawks offense has had mixed results. Wilson leads the NFL in passer rating, and the Seahawks rank 10th in scoring at 25.8 points per game. (The Rams rank sixth at 28.8.)

But the Seahawks have struggled to effectively run the ball — always a priority for Carroll — and rank 29th on third down, converting just a third (13 for 39). (The Rams rank second in third-down conversions at 54.3%.)

“Not good enough,” Carroll said this week.

Added Waldron, “It’s always going to come back to how efficiently we can play on some of those early downs.”


The Seahawks did have a breakthrough of sorts in the second quarter of their 28-21 victory Sunday over the 49ers. After the offense opened the game with five consecutive three-and-outs, Wilson and Waldron agreed to go up-tempo.

And it worked. With Wilson taking control at the line, the Seahawks mixed in no-huddle and hurry-up looks and marched 80 yards on six plays, capped by Wilson’s touchdown pass to DK Metcalf. That awakened the offense and helped the Seahawks snap a two-game skid.

Wilson, surely, would like to get the offense moving a little earlier Thursday night and always a lot quicker.