Shane Waldron is officially the Seahawks’ new offensive coordinator.
The team announced his hiring Friday, three days after it was reported that Waldron — who was the passing-game coordinator for the NFC West Division rival Rams the last three years — was the choice to succeed the fired Brian Schottenheimer.
The Seahawks also announced that Andy Dickerson will follow Waldron from the Rams to be the new run-game coordinator. Dickson was the Rams’ assistant offensive line coach the last nine seasons.
“We are really excited to bring Shane Waldron to the Seahawks,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in a statement. “His creative and competitive approach to the game will bring out the best in our players and coaches. Shane also brings great knowledge and insight about our division. His vision for the future, along with the caliber of players on our offense, made him a must get for us.”
Waldron, 41, and Dickerson, 39, have known each other since their playing days at Tufts University and have worked together with the Rams the last four years on the staff of coach Sean McVay.
“We are fortunate to be able to add Andy Dickerson as our run-game coordinator,” Carroll said in a statement. “He has worked with Shane for many years, and that continuity will be an integral factor in the transition process.
“They, together with our staff, will work to capture the many strengths we have developed over the years and expand the explosive ability that Russell (Wilson) and crew have afforded us.”
Brennan Carroll, one of Pete Carroll’s two sons, held the title of run-game coordinator for the Seahawks last season, but he recently left to become the offensive coordinator at the University of Arizona.
Dave Canales was the Seahawks’ passing-game coordinator last season. He reportedly turned down an offer recently to become the offensive coordinator at Vanderbilt to stay in the NFL. He remains listed on the Seahawks’ website as passing-game coordinator.
Dickerson was the longest-tenured member of the Rams’ staff, staying when McVay replaced Jeff Fisher in 2017.
This will be the first time Waldron has been an OC at the college or professional levels. The Seahawks are intrigued by his work with a Rams’ system that features heavy use of the bootleg and short- and medium-range passes along with getting rid of the ball quickly, which helps avoid sacks.
The Seahawks have obviously gotten a first-hand look at the Rams’ offense the last four years, playing them nine times and allowing 28 or more points in six of those games.
In a stat noted in the Seahawks’ release announcing the hires, the Rams have been in the top 10 in the NFL for fewest sacks allowed for four straight years. In 2019 they gave up a league-low 22 sacks, and last season they allowed 25, tied for sixth fewest.
That’s in sharp contrast to the Seahawks, as Wilson has been sacked 43 or more times each of the past four years, including an NFL-high 48 in 2019 and a career-high 51 in 2018.
Some of that is due to the Seahawks’ regular use of deep passes, as well as Wilson’s ability to keep plays alive with his running.
How the Seahawks mix the Rams’ structured passing attack with Wilson’s freelance ability will be one of the fascinations of 2021 season.
The announcement of the hires came 17 days after the Seahawks announced they were parting ways with Schottenheimer due to “philosophical differences.”
They began the season as one of the hottest offenses in the NFL in 2020, scoring 30 or more points in each of the first four games. Wilson was on pace to set the league record for TD passes in a season when he had 28 through the first eight games.
But the offense began to sputter in the second half of the year as Wilson was held to just 12 TDs in the final eight regular-season games. The Seahawks were held to 20 or fewer points in five of the last nine games and, including the playoffs, three times by the Rams.
After the season, Carroll said the Seahawks needed better answers to combat how defenses began attacking them, notably with two-deep safety looks that helped limit the team’s deep-passing ability.
“We have to run the ball better,” Carroll said two days after the 30-20 loss to the Rams that ended the season. “Not (just) run the ball better, run it more. … I want to see if we can run the ball more effectively to focus the play of the opponents and see if we can force them to do things like we’d like them to do more, like we have been able to do that in the past. That doesn’t mean we’re going to run the ball 50 times a game, it means we need to run the ball with direction and focus and style that allows us to dictate the game.”
The task of getting that done falls on the shoulders of Waldron and Dickerson.