Offensive line coach Tom Cable said Wednesday the Seahawks are still searching for their running game, which ranks 25th in the NFL this week.
Are these really the Seahawks and Cardinals getting ready to face off Sunday?
Usually, it’s the Seahawks with the highly-rated ground attack and Arizona with the high-flying passing game when these two meet.
But as first meeting of the year for the two NFC West rivals approaches Sunday, it’s Seattle ranked 25th in rushing and Arizona 4th, while the Seahawks are on pace to set a team record in passing (averaging 263.8 per game) while a Cardinals’ squad that a year ago was second in the NFL in passing is currently ranked 18th at 244.3 yards per game.
While there are any number of reasons why Seattle’s rushing numbers are what they are (I explored that topic a little bit earlier this week) and any number of reasons why it may get better, offensive line coach and run game coordinator Tom Cable didn’t mince words Wednesday in saying the Seahawks’ rushing attack is not where the team wants it to be.
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“We’re still trying to find it in truth,” he said. “Sometimes it looks okay and then other times it doesn’t look worth a damn. So we have work to do in continuing to chase that.”
As noted in the link above, the injury limiting the running of Russell Wilson undoubtedly has played a big role in Seattle rushing for just 88.8 yards per game so far and just 3.2 per carry, which is 30th in the NFL.
“It’s a different run game that we’re using right now,” said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell Wednesday, noting specifically that the Seahawks are not using the zone read as much as when Wilson is healthy.
Bevell also said the team’s success throwing — and the fact that Wilson is getting rid of it more quickly than ever — also has compelled him to call more passes (Seattle is averaging 57.45 percent of plays, up more than four percent from last season).
“I think you’ve seen we get the ball out pretty quick, we’re protecting the quarterback well, so that’s helping me feel more comfortable, whether it’s just dropping back,” Bevell said. “It changes a lot of things, it changes when you’re not running, all the styles of runs you can normally have, it changes some of your play-actions and your movement game, that kind of thing. Some of the passes we’ve been using, I kind of think of them as just extended runs a little bit, because you’re able to get four-, six-, eight-yard routes in those passes.”
But as Cable said, that success passing doesn’t mean the team doesn’t want to run it better.
“You’d like to get them both,” he said. “That’s really what we’re chasing here, is to find that balance. I think that makes us really dangerous and more explosive. Explosive play has been okay but I think that’s the one element that would then tie the whole thing together. I think we would be pretty tough then.”
Cable says among the items that will help spark the running game is the line executing better.
“Hitting combinations,” he said. “Putting your helmet where it needs to be based on the run call consistently. Because we’re doing it a bunch. We’re doing some nice things in terms of being on the same page, staying on schedule, meaning the down and the distance. But you certainly would like to have more consistency when you run the football.”
The Seahawks could get some help in the backfield this week if rookie third-round pick C.J. Prosise is finally able to play after missing the last four games with a broken bone in his wrist.
Coaches on Wednesday, though, seemed to take pains to downplay expectations until they see what Prosise is able to do.
“Give me some time, I don’t know that yet,” Carroll said when asked how Prosise will fit in. “We’re just going to try to get us a full week of working with him and get a sense as we add him in. I don’t think there’s anything he can’t do. I think he could be a first-down back, he’s a very adept third-down guy because of all his receiver background that he has and everything that he has shown us, we can see that. At this point, the plan is if he’s there and ready to go, we make it through the week, we’re mixing him in. We’re playing him.”
Added Bevell: “We’re excited to see. We know what we have, and we like to think we have something, but until he gets out there it’s not worth even talking about. He hasn’t been there for us and we need to get him out there.”
Carroll cautioned that Prosise, after having not played in more than a month, is likely to be limited in his snaps if he does play against Arizona.
“It might take him,”Carroll said. “This is preseason for him, so we’re just getting going. I’m hoping that we can get him rolling a little bit. We’re not going to do too much with him too early but I don’t think there’s anything he can’t do, like I said. I’m really anxious to see how he adds in.”