Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer also detailed why he prefers to call games from the sidelines.
During his weekly meeting with the media Monday, the Seahawks’ new offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, touched on why he likes to work from the sidelines, what he thought of the team’s backup quarterbacks in the opener against the Colts, and more.
Here are five things that stood out.
1. He wanted to see the Seahawks do better on third down Thursday against the Colts.
Schottenheimer liked the way the number one offense drove down the field for a touchdown to start the game.
But it was rocky from there as the Seahawks didn’t score another offensive touchdown the rest of the night and one reason was Seattle going just 2-10 on third downs (that includes the starters going 0-1, that coming on a third-and-16 on which Seattle got 15 yards to set up a fourth-down conversion on the next play.)
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“I’d like to see us progress a little bit. Get the starters a little bit more work, for sure. I think that’s important. We’re going to look at some different run concepts probably. Again, I was pleased with how we ran the ball. A big thing for us from last game moving forward was third down. We put ourselves a little bit in third down and long which kind of hurt us. We had ten of them and four of them were third-and-eleven or more, and that’s hard. You can’t shoot yourself in the foot. Third down would be something for sure, and then just kind of build on the things that we’ve done and that physical identity. We talked about it to the guys after the game. We played physical. They covered down. They were physical. Fourth-and-one (with a) heavy box, they were able to go get the first down so kind of building on that play style that we want to have.”
2. Rashaad Penny is impressing with his pass protection.
Pass blocking is an underrated facet of a running back’s importance to the offense. That’s something teams are usually especially anxious about when it comes to rookies who may have never really had to do it at the college level.
But the Seahawks say that first-round pick Penny is getting better by the day at pass protection.
Said Schottenheimer: “I’ll tell you what, he’s really smart with all of the blitz pickups. He sees things really well. It’s just the technique stuff that he’s got to get better with. Again, it’s just a whole different animal once you find your guy, then you’ve got to be able to go move your feet, get into position, kind of take away his inside strike. There’s an art to it, and unfortunately it’s hard to practice that until you get pads on so I will say again, from a ‘knowing who he has’ (standpoint), he’s been doing great. When they do the one-on-one pass (protection) stuff, he’ll get beat from time to time but I haven’t seen him check up one time. He wants to get back in there, and that’s when you know you’re going to have a great pass protector.”
Penny’s most notable pass block in Thursday’s game came on Russell Wilson’s TD pass to Nick Vannett. Penny stood on his feet to get in the way of Indy defensive end Anthony Johnson, with Wilson then moving to his right to find Vannett. Schottenheimer said it wasn’t perfect but that it did show effort.
Said Schottenheimer of that play: “Yeah, again, he could have cut that guy. The design of it was to kind of cut him down and take his legs out. He stayed up, but he finished. Russ kind of did what he does. He moved out of the way. But that’s a good example for sure.”
3. He thought Austin Davis just threw one bad pass and Alex McGough was overthinking things.
Seattle’s only offensive TD came on the only drive for starting QB Wilson against the Colts Thursday.
Backup Austin Davis led a drive from the Seattle 27 to the Colts’ 5 before throwing an interception in the end zone on first down. He played one other series that was a three-and-out. McGough played the second half and Seattle didn’t have a drive of longer than 20 yards in six possessions while completing 10-13 passes for 48 yards and also running once for seven yards.
Here’s what Schottenheimer said about the backup QBs: “I thought Austin’s first drive was excellent. Obviously, he moved us right down the field. A couple big third down conversions, the throw to David Moore, the interception was just a bad decision. He can’t do that. He knows that. He was frustrated by that, but that was a really good drive. Alex, it was his first game. He was overthinking some stuff, which they all tend to do. Made some really good throws, you see the athleticism, so certainly we expect to see those guys play a little bit better. It’s so much fun to watch those guys go out, play, and then to see how receptive they both are. I’ve been around Austin for a couple years now and he hasn’t changed. Of course, the room is really cool with Russ (Wilson) and Austin and having Alex in there taking all of the notes when the other guys are kind of a little bit more relaxed.”
4. Schottenheimer says Wilson’s footwork remains the main area of emphasis as training camp progresses.
Schottenheimer said Wilson will also get work with the second and third team offenses at times in camp to fine tune some of the fundamentals the team is working on with him.
Said Schottenheimer: “Yeah, it goes back to Russ, really with two things. Number one, the fundamentals. There’s new fundamentals that he’s trying. Those fundamentals have come pretty easy to him because he’s such a good athlete. Most are footwork driven, just trying to keep a wide base in the pocket staying ready to throw, and some of the new concepts that we’ve put in or that we’re working on, getting him comfortable with those. But again, things come pretty easy to him. But you’ll see him get some reps with even the two’s and three’s when we want him to get a certain type of play just because we think we need to give him those reps to get him comfortable for the season.”
5. He prefers to coach from the sidelines than up in the booth.
Schottenheimer said he has worked from the sidelines for nine of his 10 years as an offensive coordinator and will continue that with the Seahawks.
Said Schottenheimer: “The communication is easier. Being able to kind of get your hands into things quickly to try to solve problems. I love being able to look at the quarterback face-to-face and kind of make some adjustments. You definitely see it a little bit better from up in the box in terms of what the defense is doing, so you’ve got to have good guys up there but I just think being down on the field kind of eliminates the middle man and kind of allows you to be there and be seen so when you’re solving issues or even celebrating – I like to have fun. I like to celebrate. I was one of the first guys down when we scored the touchdown with the first group. I’ve done that for nine of my ten years, being on the field.”