When we evaluate offensive coordinators, the words creativity and ingenuity often dominate the discourse.
The Seahawks offense has regularly been criticized for being vanilla and predictable with the inability to adapt. That was the case under Brian Schottenheimer and even going back to the Darrell Bevell era.
On one hand, that seems a bit harsh as the Seahawks have only ranked outside the top half of the league in scoring offense one time since 2012 (18th in 2016). Seattle has been in the 10 in scoring offense six times during that nine-year span. On the other, especially when you look at some of Seattle’s losses in big games, it’s understandable why so many believe the Seahawks haven’t done enough with a franchise quarterback like Russell Wilson at their disposal.
In this vein, I asked Shane Waldron about being creative and whether or not it’s an oversimplification or a fair expectation of an NFL offensive coordinator.
“You always need to have a pulse of the league,” the Seahawks new OC said on Tuesday. “And not just the league, but college football and high school football. I have a belief that you can see some of the most creative football at the high school level, and then it trickles up to the college level and then up to the pros. You’re talking about some scenarios in those setting where the playing field is not always equal. In pro ball, everyone is so close. The margin for error is so small. Everyone is so similar in their abilities, so bringing out the best of their abilities is a huge part of it.
“You can say, ‘OK, here’s our core offense, here’s what we’re doing from a system standpoint, but what can we do that fits our system that’s happening around the league and always staying on the front end of stuff that fits us and fits our players?’ That’s an ongoing process. There’s always an evolution to these offenses.”
Next season will be Waldron’s first opportunity to call plays in the NFL. After climbing the coaching ranks at the collegiate and professional levels, this is his shot to showcase his ability to put defenses in a bind while getting the most out of his personnel.
Waldron credited Sean McVay for being a mentor in this regard with the Rams and added that McVay let him call plays on occasion during practices, scrimmages and preseason games.
“It’s a great challenge, and it’s a challenge that I’ve been preparing for my whole life,” Waldron said. “I think it’s one of those things that I’m ready to get going with and excited to attack that opportunity.”
There are immense expectations that come with calling plays, especially given Waldron will be pulling the strings of an offense headlined by Wilson, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The offensive play-caller is the second-most scrutinized individual on a coaching staff to the head coach (assuming they’re two different people).
That level of pressure will be another first for Waldron.
“In my mind, pressure is earned,” he shared. “There is pressure in this business. It’s a business that’s driven by results. I’m excited to have people who have supported me along the way that have put me in a position to where I can have the chance to go and earn the right to call these plays. That pressure is a privilege. It’s part of it, and I’m never going to shy away from it.”
Waldron said all the right things on Tuesday, and has the coaching pedigree to warrant optimism from Seahawks fans. That’s about all there is to say at this point with Week 1 of the 2021 season more than 7 months away.