RENTON — Just like everyone else who is a Seahawks player, coach or fan, Brian Schottenheimer said he wishes the team didn’t have to climb out of as many first-half holes to win games as it did a year ago.
Seattle was outscored 91-77 in the first quarter last season, and quarterback Russell Wilson led the NFL with four fourth-quarter winning drives and five game-winning drives.
To many fans, the fix is simple — just “Let Russ Cook!!!” from the opening snap.
Wilson gently added to the debate earlier in camp when he reeled off an oft-cited stat — that Seattle is 57-0, including playoffs, since 2012 when it goes into halftime with a lead of four points or more.
“Let’s treat every quarter as the fourth,” said Wilson, undoubtedly cognizant of the fact Seattle scored 126 points in the fourth quarter last season, 49 more than it did in the first (though to be fair, most teams tend to score more points in the second and fourth quarters than in the first and third).
But asked about the 57-0 stat Tuesday and Wilson’s comment, Schottenheimer repeated a version of what he’s said before when asked about the team’s overall offensive philosophy, that starting faster isn’t just a matter of throwing more or earlier.
“We all know Russ is an elite player,” Schottenheimer said. “We all know that. I’ve been blessed. I’ve had some great ones (having also coached the likes of Drew Brees and Philip Rivers) and I’m not saying who is the best. But he’s a great, elite football player and want him to be involved. We want him to impact the game early. We want to start faster. But how does that look each and every week? We don’t know that. It all depends on the opponent we are playing.
“If Russ can impact the game for us, we are going to win a lot of games, which is what we have been able to do. It doesn’t mean he has to throw the ball 50 yards down the field to DK (Metcalf) to do that. It doesn’t mean he has to scramble around and run for his life and make plays. It could be him checking out of a bad play that I called. He does that a lot. I call bad plays and he’s like, ‘This ain’t going to work,’ and he gets us out of it.
“Again, we recognize how lucky and fortunate we are to have this type of quarterback, and being around him now, going into year three (with Schottenheimer as offensive coordinator) there’s really nothing he can’t do. He’s terrific. But how that looks each and every week, that remains to be seen based on the opponent that we are playing and what does each situation look like. Those are lots of factors that sometimes don’t get talked about.”
Schottenheimer’s answer was much more expansive than that of coach Pete Carroll on Saturday, when he was asked about the “Let Russ Cook” debate, a phrase that first came to life via Seahawks fans on Twitter.
“We’re just going to hammer the rock,” Carroll said sarcastically. “That’s all we’re doing around here, hammering the rock.”
Carroll then allowed that “we’re going to give him every opportunity to kick butt. You’re going to have to wait and see what that all means.”
Given that Carroll has a pretty time-tested offensive philosophy and hired Schottenheimer in 2018 in part because he had lots of experience in similar offenses, the Seahawks are unlikely to deviate greatly in terms of overall run-pass numbers (Seattle last year ranked 27th in the NFL in pass-to-run ratio, passing on 54.34% of plays. Atlanta was the leader at 66.97%, according to TeamRankings.com).
“We know what a great player Russ is,” Schottenheimer said. “And you can expect him to impact the game early on in every game, hopefully.”
Here are some more news and notes from Seahawks camp:
Mock game No. 2 on tap
The Seahawks will hold their second of two mock games Wednesday at CenturyLink Field.
The Seahawks will hope to get in more plays than in the first mock game Saturday, which was cut short after a head/neck injury to defensive end Branden Jackson.
But Carroll also said that much of the reason for the mock games and going to CenturyLink is to replicate the game-day routine and experience for players with the preseason having been cancelled.
“Going to the stadium and getting ready and starting the routines the guys have to get in so that they’re ready to perform on game day is underway,” Carroll said. “We made progress.”
Another objective is to continue to experiment with the level of piped-in crowd noise. It is expected that the NFL will enact uniform policies on how teams can handle crowd noise in stadiums without fans.
Here are a few quick personnel updates from practice Tuesday:
- Safety Jamal Adams practiced Tuesday with a sizeable wrap on his left hand. It’s unclear the nature of the injury as Carroll did not speak to the media Tuesday. He will after the mock game Wednesday.
- Receiver John Ursua left midway through practice with a leg injury and did not return. Phillip Dorsett also missed a second consecutive day with a sore foot, and the absence of the two players had rookie Freddie Swain getting a lot of work in the slot and David Moore getting a lot of work with the No. 1 offense.
- Tyler Lockett, who left midway through practice Monday, returned Tuesday and caught a couple of touchdown passes in a red zone period.
- Chris Carson remains absent while tending to personal business in the Atlanta area but is expected back this week. Jackson also remains out.
- L.J. Collier, who sat out practice Monday, was back in pads Tuesday.
- Left tackle Duane Brown got what appeared to be a rest day. Cedric Ogbuehi has been running as his backup. Left guard Mike Iupati also appeared to get something of a rest day. Jamarco Jones has been working as his backup of late. Backup offensive lineman Jordan Simmons also was out. Schottenheimer earlier had essentially confirmed the expected — that Iupati will be the starting left guard, saying that he feels “very comfortable” with the left side of the offensive line. Iupati has been running with the starting unit throughout camp during portions open to the middle.