RENTON — The Seahawks’ offense in 2021 figures to be as pored over and picked apart as any offensive or defensive unit in the NFL this season.
Are the Seahawks passing enough for Russell Wilson’s liking? Are they assuring they aren’t wasting another year of his prime?
After the offseason that was, those questions and others like them surely will be asked every week — if not every quarter — of the 2021 season.
And anything short of a Super Bowl, or an offense that sets even more records than last year — which was deemed a failure despite Seattle scoring a franchise-record 459 points without the benefit of a single defensive or special-teams touchdown — might not be enough to chill the chatter.
Driving the talk is Wilson, his offseason of comments and trade rumors and a perception that, for now, Seattle and Wilson have reached a one-year truce and that his future could be debated again next year depending on what happens this year.
That’s where new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron comes in.
Waldron was hired in January after four years with the Rams to replace the fired Brian Schottenheimer. The obvious assumption is Waldron will sprinkle Seattle’s offense with lots of elements of Sean McVay’s play-action happy attack in Los Angeles.
How well he can do that might go a long way to defining Wilson’s future in Seattle.
So what does Wilson think of Waldron? Wilson is thought to have had a significant say in bringing him on. And as might be expected, his early review is that Waldron indeed could be the man to help take Seattle’s offense to the next level.
“One thing that I love about him is that he really understands the game and all aspects of it,’’ Wilson said Thursday after what was his first week of on-field work with Waldron, with Wilson having joined most of the team’s other veterans in sitting out the first two weeks of OTAs. “We’ve spent a lot of time together talking ball. … I’ve had great conversations with him, several conversations along the way with him during the process. And I just really believe in him.’’
So what will the offense look like? You obviously wouldn’t expect Wilson to start drawing up plays.
And maybe in a further effort to obfuscate the issue for opponents, Wilson interestingly called it both “super complex’’ and not necessarily all that different from what Seattle ran previously.
“I think that we have a lot of great things about it,” Wilson said. “We’re going to be able to mix a lot of personnel (groupings), a lot of different people around, using the whole field. I think we’re going to be able to do everything that we want to.’’
Later, though, Wilson said that characterization doesn’t necessarily mean the entire playbook is being rewritten.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a massive departure,’’ Wilson said. “I think that we have a lot of the core concepts and things that we’ve done over the years that have been extremely, extremely successful. I think that we also have some nuances across the board that really challenge the defense. Like I said, using the whole field and really expanding the offense and just using everybody as much as possible with different formations and different looks and different tempos and all that.’’
Talk of tempo undoubtedly excites given how well Wilson has often performed in two-minute and other no-huddle situations.
Wilson skillfully evaded a question that got to what was reported to be at the root of some of his frustration — how much Seattle will pass in 2021 versus how much it will run. Wilson threw 28 touchdown passes the first eight games of the 2020 season before a midseason slump in which he had 10 turnovers compelled coach Pete Carroll to try to dial down the offense some in the second half. Wilson responded with 12 touchdown passes in the final eight games.
Asked if the offense would look more like “Let Russ Cook” or “pound the rock,” Wilson said, “I think we have a great mixture of everything.’’
In other words, why give it away now?
During a Zoom session in which Wilson attempted to mostly look forward instead of rehashing his uncharacteristic offseason, Wilson also said he feels the Waldron-led offense already is beginning to take shape well on the field.
“Obviously, we’ve been here for four days now or whatever it is — it is seamless out here,’’ Wilson said. “Just how efficient, how sharp, how clear, how the ball is coming out, how we’re making all our throws, catches, running the ball well, doing all the things we want to do. And that takes a lot of time. I mean hours upon hours on Zoom calls and us talking extra time. …
“All of that has shown up in the three, four days we’ve been out here, and it’s been spectacular to see. So I’m excited. I know Shane’s excited too. So it’s going to be a lot of fun.”