Schottenheimer says he also knows a Minnesota defense that ranks among the best in the NFL in many statistical categories will be a challenge.
Seattle’s 43-16 win over the 49ers Sunday also featured one of the more entertaining matchups in recent history – offensive tackle George Fant split out wide on 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman on two plays.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer talked about those plays as well as other topics when he met the media Friday. Here are highlights:
FANT-SHERMAN MATCHUP LEFT THEM LAUGHING
The Seahawks have been using Fant — a former starting left tackle — as an eligible receiver for much of the season now.
Usually, though, Fant lines up on the line, essentially serving as another tight end. A few times, he’s been in the slot.
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But Sunday the Seahawks took it to another level, twice sending Fant out wide. But not just out wide, but wide to the right side where they knew Richard Sherman would be lined up at left cornerback.
Okay, so Fant vs. Sherman isn’t exactly what it was. Fant was actually lined up in front of Tyler Lockett in a formation in which the Seahawks could throw it to Lockett with Fant as a lead blocker.
But technically, Fant was an eligible receiver on the play.
Fant said Friday that when Sherman saw him jogging out there he started laughing.
“And then the ball snapped and I just kind of grabbed him and he just busted out laughing,’’ Fant said. “I think that was a first for him, too.’’
The first of the plays on which Fant went out wide resulted in a Chris Carson run for a first down on third-and-one.
“It really wasn’t a big part of the plan, but I thought that George did a nice job of finishing the block,’’ Schottenheimer said Friday. “I’m sure Richard and he had a chance to talk a little bit about it standing out there on the perimeter so that was probably pretty funny.”
Fant said that as far as he knows, there isn’t really an option to throw him the ball on that play.
“But maybe hopefully sometime before the season they put something in for me,’’ he said. ‘”… it was kind of cool just to be out there and have that experience.’’
SEAHAWKS WON’T HAVE TO CHANGE ANYTHING WITH JORDAN SIMMONS IN FOR D.J. FLUKER
Starting right guard D.J. Fluker isn’t expected to play after suffering a hamstring injury against the 49ers with second-year player Jordan Simmons expected to take his place.
Simmons also started for Fluker in a game last month in Los Angeles against the Rams when Seattle rushed for a season-high 273 yards. He played 10 snaps Sunday against the 49ers after Fluker went out, and Schottenheimer said the experience Simmons has gotten has the team confident he can again do the job against a tough Minnesota defensive front.
Asked if the Seahawks would have to change anything about their offense with Simmons in for Fluker, Schottenheimer said no.
“I don’t think so,’’ he said. “I think obviously, D.J. is a great player. Jordan played really well against the Rams. He’s a really good, young player so I don’t think so. The guys we’re playing against are a good challenge against whoever’s out there. But, no, I think it’s great that Jordan has that game under his belt blocking guys like Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh but no, to answer the question. We just – we’re going to go do what we do and we think he’ll play well.”
MINNESOTA SACK ATTACK WILL BE A CHALLENGE
The Vikings come into the game ranked eighth in the NFL in sacks with 36, led by the 11.5 of end Danielle Hunter.
But Schottenheimer noted that the Vikings’ pass rush is also often a team effort — six other players have at least three each (Seattle has only two players who have more than two) including safety Harrison Smith.
“Yeah. I don’t think there’s many things that they don’t do well,’’ Scottenheimer said. “They rotate a lot of guys through. They’re very fresh. Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith are probably two of the better pressure players in the league. Again, tremendous defense coming in here so our guys are excited about it. It’s exciting. It’ll be a great time, a great environment (with) Monday Night Football to go up there and play against them and see how it works out.”
SEAHAWKS WON’T GO CHANGING NOW
Monday’s game pits what is statistically the best rushing offense in the NFL — Seattle, at 148.8 yards per game — against one of the best run defenses in Minnesota, seventh at 99.2 yards allowed per game but fifth in yards allowed per rush at 3.7.
But while the Seahawks showed against Carolina that they can pass first when they need to, Schottenheimer said the plan will always remain to establish the run first no matter the opponent — the Seahawks are the only team in the NFL this week with a higher percentage of runs than passes for the season, with Seattle passing it just 48.86 percent of the time.
Asked about sticking to that identity, Schottenheimer said “I think it’s critical’’ and then elaborated.
“I think when you know who you are, it’s easier to game plan,’’ he said. “It’s easier to call the game. Your players kind of know what to expect. The challenge is the defense kind of knows who you are too, so that’s where we take a lot of pride and they have a really good idea of what’s coming but yet, that’s where when you execute, you’re able to still produce big plays and positive gains and put up points and still run the ball successfully. I think the identity that we have, that we’ve built over the past whatever it is, ten weeks or so, there’s no question we know who we are. It’s going to be the same thing on Monday Night that it was last week and what it is towards the end of the season. Again, you have to be ready to adjust if things aren’t working and that’s what we did against Carolina.
“. … I think each team’s got a philosophy of what they want to be. We pride ourselves on being a physical team that wants to take care of the football. We’re going to play great defense, we want to run the football, and then when you run the ball the way that we do, it opens up the explosive plays in the play-pass stuff but it’s kind of who we are. We take a lot of pride in the way we play and the way we finish.’’