It goes without saying Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Brian Schottenheimer had grown close over the past three years.
“Skybox Schotty,” did more than witness Wilson's efficient bombs through the air while calling plays inside the Seahawks coaching booth, he was also one of Wilson’s greatest mentors. The two often attended bible studies together.
But 48 hours after the Seahawks announced they were parting ways with Schottenheimer, citing “philosophical differences” in a Monday night meeting, Wilson was on the phone with his former offensive coordinator reminiscing in the highs and lows of Seattle’s season.
“Schotty’s been a great coach,” Wilson said Thursday. “We’ve done some amazing things together. The reality is we’ve led the league in touchdown passes. We’ve done a lot of amazing things over the past three years. We’ve won a lot of football games, and everything else. I think he’s a tremendous coach. … I think for him, he’s going to be an amazing coach for some other team soon, hopefully. I think he’s going to be head coach. He’s got that kind of leadership ability."
While Wilson admitted he wasn't on-board with the Seahawks firing of Schottenheimer, he does believe Carroll has the team's best interest.
“I think that it wasn’t my decision to change ‘Schotty,’ in other words. But I think that Coach Carroll made that decision. I think that I trust his decision. ...what I am in favor of is our football team getting better. If you ask me what’s really important it’s winning championships."
Upon his hiring in January 2018, Schottenheimer was tasked with repairing a Seahawks running game that had crumbled in 2017 and ranked 23rd in the league. Seattle reestablished the run in 2018 and 2019 thanks in part to the contributions of Chris Carson, but through the first 10 weeks of the 2020 season, it became evident that the Seahawks were passing deep more frequently than any other team in the league.
The offense was also going through Wilson more than ever before and the rallying cry of “Let Russ Cook” had finally come to fruition.
The Seahawks offense led the league in scoring with 34 points per game and Wilson was leading the NFL’s MVP campaign with a league-best 28 touchdown passes per game… but then things shifted. Seattle’s points per game fell to 22.6 and Wilson threw just 12 touchdown passes over the final eight weeks.
Prior to Schottenheimer’s dismissal, Pete Carroll called for changes offensively next season.
“We have to run the ball better, not even better, we have to run it more” Carroll said Monday. “We have to dictate what’s going on with the people that we’re playing, and that’s one of the ways to do that."
One could read that as Carroll desires to go back to a more run-heavy offense, meaning less Russell, but Wilson doesn’t see it that way. The Seahawks franchise quarterback detailed why he and Carroll share a similar vision in wreaking havoc in every facet of the offensive game.
“We have to do everything extremely well,” Wilson said. “Think about it, if you really want to be a great offense, the best in the league, the best in the world, we have to be able to throw it down the field. We have to be able to have great concepts and conceptually in the middle of the field. We have to be able to get the ball out quick and call out plays for us—our screen game, we want our screen game to be great. We want to run the ball extremely well. We gotta be up-tempo and change the pace.”
“The expectation in 2021 in my opinion, and also talking to Pete and stuff like that is, in my mind, I don’t want to just do one thing well. I want to do it all well. I want to be the best in the world at everything.”
As the Seahawks set their sights on finding the right person to run the offense, Wilson believes it’s crucial that he play a role in the hiring process for his third offensive coordinator in the last five years. He says he hopes to partner with Carroll on the thought process.
“As the quarterback, it’s imperative to my career,” Wilson said.