Schottenheimer also addressed Chris Carson's usage Monday and whether Russell Wilson needs to run more.
If there appeared to be plenty of blame to go around for the Seahawks’ offensive performance Monday night in a 24-17 loss at Chicago, there’s been no lack of accepting that blame this week at the VMAC.
A day after coach Pete Carroll said he was at fault for the strange third quarter — when Seattle threw a pass on all six plays and gained just one yard — saying he had gotten impatient and wanted offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to take a few shots downfield, Schottenheimer said Thursday to instead point the finger squarely at him.
“I need to do a better job, I’ll be the first to say that,’’ said Schottenheimer, who is in his first year with the Seahawks after replacing the fired Darrell Bevell. “It’s just one of those things where you get a lot of thoughts and advice as a playcaller — not just from Pete but from everybody until it’s third and 22 and you are backed up on your 1-yard line and you are like ‘hey guys what do you like? Hello? Hello?’ But again, some of it is me learning Pete a little bit. But again, hey look, I get paid to call the plays — I need to do a better job. Sometimes it gets you off your game when you are looking at different things. It’s not Pete, it’s just different things, and it’s hard to find a rhythm sometimes. But I need to be better, and I will be.’’
The Seahawks enter Sunday’s home opener against Dallas ranked 27th in total offense (291 yards per game) and 29th in rushing offense (69) after an offseason spent not only talking about reviving the running game but also drafting running back Rashaad Penny in the first round in an attempt to make it happen.
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Schottenheimer reviewed the first two weeks and said “if you look at week one, I got away from the running game a little bit too fast (when Seattle had just 16 rushing attempts and 14 by the tailbacks). This week, having only six plays in the third quarter, again that was just one of those deals where not converting third downs (made it hard to get more runs).
“The cool thing that I said to the guys is this — we know what the issues are. So when you know what the issues are you can address them, you can fix them, you can emphasize them. It’s time of possession, it’s third downs, it’s sacks. If I was standing up there or if we as a staff looking at them saying ‘we really don’t know what the issues are, we are just struggling’ — that’s not the case. We know what we need to clean up, we have been emphasizing that. We started last week with the red zone and we did a nice job in the red zone this week, so I think we will find our rhythm again this week. But we know we need to be better — nobody likes sitting here at 0-2 and we are competing to do that.’’
Here are four other takeaways from Schottenheimer’s meeting with the media Thursday:
NOT ENOUGH PLAYS HELPED LEAD TO CHRIS CARSON’S LACK OF USE MONDAY
Much was made of Carson getting only six carries — and none after early in the second quarter — after the team had said he would get more use than the seven carries he had in the opener at Denver.
Schottenheimer pointed to a lack of overall plays and a desire to rotate running backs as issues. Seattle has run just 119 plays so far this season, fewer than all but four other teams.
“When you have a rotation at backs, that happens,’’ Schottenheimer said. “You come out of the game with 50, or whatever it is, plays. You’re trying to see Rashaad (Penny) a little bit. You want to see Chris. You saw Chris early in the game. You never project, ‘Wow, we’ve got 55 plays or 54 plays.’ So really, it’s kind of like when this guy’s up, he gets a rep. Then, if you go three-and-out, unfortunately we know we’re trying to get Rashaad going as well. That’s been an Achilles heel for two weeks now because on third down, we’re just not getting the plays that we need. Quite honestly, we’re keeping the defense on the field too long and we can’t do that because obviously that’s how we’re going to win this as team — playing well offensively, defensively and special teams.”
THERE ARE NO PROBLEMS COMMUNICATING WITH RUSSELL WILSON
Wilson seeming somewhat perturbed when the sideline called a time out midway through the fourth quarter has led to chatter about whether Wilson and Schottenheimer are on the same page. Wilson and Carroll both talked about the issue earlier this week saying that Carroll called the timeout because he thought there was an alignment issue (Carroll also noted the play clock running low though there were nine seconds remaining at the time of the time out).
Schottenheimer said he’s having no issues working with Wilson and that such plays are simply magnified when a team is losing and people are looking for reasons.
“With Russ the communication’s always really clean,’’ Schottenheimer said. “We don’t have any issues with that. He and I work really, really well together. We’re both great competitors. I don’t think so. I’m new, learning these guys a little bit in some game action. There’s nothing that’s out of the ordinary that goes on here. There’s always commotion on the headsets, if you will. There’s always commotion, there’s always people talking on both sides of the ball. It gets amplified when not playing very well. I go back to me. I need to be better, I’ll do a better job, working hard on it. (We’re) excited to play Dallas this weekend.”
WILSON HAS ‘A GOOD FEEL’ FOR THE HURRY-UP
All three of Seattle’s scoring drives Monday contained at least two no-huddle plays, which leads to the obvious thought of whether the Seahawks should do it more.
Here’s what Schottenheimer said on that topic: “Each situation’s a little different. I think, late in the game, you’re going fast (and) you’re kind of wearing people down. Certainly, Russell’s a handful just because he can move around and make plays. Certainly, there’s a point where they’re playing a little bit softer too. I mean, they’re trying to let the clock tick a little bit, but I think it’s just one of those situations where he’s got a lot of control, talking about Russell. He’s just got a really good feel. I thought C.J. Prosise did a great job coming in. C.J. did a nice job coming in off the bench on some of the check-downs and stuff, but sometimes they’re just a rhythm. Our issue is we haven’t really found a great rhythm yet. There’s been a handful of drives in there, but it’s early. I mean, I told the players on Wednesday, ‘look, we’re disappointed. It’s Wednesday of week three so we’re not going to panic. We’re going to work, we’re going to prepare,’ and I think they understand that that’s the direction that we’re going.”
THEY ONLY WANT WILSON RUNNING ‘WHEN HE HAS TO’
Wilson has always been a big part of Seattle’s rushing offense, rushing for at least 489 yards and at least 5.2 per carry in each of his fully healthy seasons (in 2016 when he battled a trio of injuries he had just 259 yards and 3.6 per attempt).
So it’s been worth wondering if the Seahawks need to get Wilson running more this year — he has just 22 yards and is averaging 4.4 per attempt on five carries in two games.
Schottenheimer, though, said he doesn’t think that’s been a big issue so far in the team’s offensive struggles.
“People know he has that capability, so they certainly are aware that he can do that,’’ Schottenheimer said. “Sometimes, it’s the threat of him running that opens up — one of the runs that we had that Rashaad (Penny) popped was something where he’s kind of holding the backside defensive end and I can’t remember which one it was, but they kind of sat there and looked at him and the ball was able to cut back behind it. I think the fact that people know that he can do that sometimes helps, and of course, we only want him to run when he has to.”