We may never know the extent of the “philosophical differences” between Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer. What we do know is that new Seahawks OC Shane Waldron is very much on the same page as Carroll in regard to the direction Seattle’s offense needs to go moving forward.
During an introductory press conference on Tuesday, Waldron expressed the “philosophical alignment” that exists between he and his new boss. That was evident as Waldron explained his three core principles:
1. It’s all about the ball.
2. Being a fundamentally sound offense.
3. Being a balanced offense.
Those are three tried and true Carroll-isms. But skeptics shouldn’t roll their eyes just yet. Much of what Waldron had to say was very encouraging and maybe even a bit settling to those who have grown weary of Carroll’s verbiage.
“Just because it’s a balanced attack, doesn’t mean that it’s a conservative attack. I don’t want to ever get that confused,” Waldron emphasized.
He added that it’s vital for Seattle’s offense to “adjust and adapt” in 2021 and beyond. Given the Seahawks inability to adequately adjust in the second half of the 2020 season, most notably in the ugly Wild Card Round loss to the Rams, those words from Waldron were also notable.
Waldron spoke multiple times about an “attacking mindset” that will utilize a wide variety of pieces and tempos, all with the goal of creating explosive plays. He waxed poetic about his ground-game philosophies that will require contribution from all 11 players on the field in order to be successful.
Maybe most importantly, Waldron shared his confidence that he’d be given the freedom to add his own flavor to Seattle’s offense.
“(Carroll) has my back fully supportive of what I want to do and where we’re going to take this thing together," Waldron said. "It will be a situation where I feel like I’m walking into a great scenario with a bunch of great coaches that have such a solid foundation from Coach Carroll right on down through the rest of the men on the offensive staff.
“It will be through my direction that this offense is being run with the support of Coach Carroll. At the end of the day, the goal is to win, and we’re going to do this thing together.”
The Seahawks kept about 75% of their offensive scheme intact when Schottenheimer was hired back in 2018. It sounds like Waldron will have more wiggle room, even if that doesn’t mean full autonomy. Waldron said as much on Tuesday, and he has good reason to keep some of Seattle’s system in place.
The offense, one that ranked in the top 10 in scoring all three years under Schottenheimer, needs fine-tuning more than a comprehensive rebuild.
“I have a core set of beliefs that I’m going to stick to, but we’re going to build this thing together,” Waldron said. “The thing with Russell (Wilson) and the players on this team, they have a great foundation and have won a lot of football games together. Will there be parts of things that carry over? Absolutely, cause there have been some great things that they’ve done in the past, but for me, I’m really more worried about 2021.”
Waldron understandably kept things vague in terms of scheme specifics. He did the same when asked about his conversations with Wilson. The offseason is young after all, and there’s much work to be done personnel wise before worrying about how Waldron will be able to make it all sing.
Signing a new running back (or re-signing Chris Carson), a No. 3 wide receiver, another tight end and revamping the offensive line are all items on Seattle’s to-do list over the next several months.
“The players will make that system come to life,” Waldron said. “The final product isn’t going to be determined until the opening game where we have the guys and how the puzzle piece is fit together.”