Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday that there will be some changes this week to an offense that has managed only one touchdown and 21 points through two games.
“We’re always working to see how we can fix things and adjust,” he said when asked at what point Seattle’s inability to reach the end zone will necessitate a change, “so there will be some things that will be a little bit different this week.”
Of course, Carroll didn’t provide much in the way of details on what those things might be. When asked if the changes will be with scheme or with personnel, he smiled and said, “Yes. Yeah.”
So we can only take educated guess as to how the Seahawks’ offense might look different starting Sunday against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. Here are four possibilities.
A change on the line: This one seems like the most likely given how Carroll said in his morning radio show and his afternoon news conference that the competition is on with Seattle’s offensive line. Carroll felt that group improved on Sunday after a disastrous performance in Week 1, but pass protection remained an issue in Seattle’s 12-9 win against the San Francisco 49ers. If the Seahawks make a change here, it could be at right guard. Mark Glowinski held off veteran free-agent addition Oday Aboushi in a competition that went all the way to the final week of the preseason. Glowinski had some miscues in pass protection Sunday, including a pair of missed blocks that led to pressures on Seattle’s touchdown drive. Making a swap at right guard is not going to fix all that ails the Seahawks’ offense, but it could be part of a potential solution.
More no-huddle: The Seahawks have had success the few times they’ve gone hurry-up over the first two games. They did it on one of their three field-goal drives in the opener and they were in and out of hurry-up mode on their touchdown drive Sunday against San Francisco, which means almost half of the points they’ve scored this season have come when they’ve pushed the pace. This style of play can be effective for a few reasons. It can tire defensive linemen and it can force the defense into simpler looks, both of which can help mask an offensive line’s deficiencies. There’s always the danger of taxing your own defense by going hurry-up and not staying on the field, but it’s hard to argue with the results it’s produced in limited chances so far this season.
A different running back mix: The Seahawks went with Tre Madden over veteran Marcel Reece at fullback when they trimmed their roster to 53, but that may have only been a short-term move. As a vested veteran, Reece’s entire 2017 salary could have become guaranteed had he been on the roster in Week 1. The Seahawks could bring him back now that they have flexibility with his contract. Recall that Seattle did that last season with fullback Will Tukuafu, not including him on the initial 53 then bringing him back a week later. Madden played 13 of 82 offensive snaps on Sunday. The desire to have a fullback active on Sunday was one reason the team cited for its decision to make Eddie Lacy a healthy scratch. Carroll’s comments have given the impression that Lacy could still have a role and that his benching was more about the matchup than it was a sign that his days in Seattle’s backfield are numbered. Also, Thomas Rawls is going to be more of a factor going forward than he was Sunday, when he played only 16 snaps while being eased back in from after missing the opener with an ankle injury. Rookie Chris Carson has clearly been the Seahawks’ best running back so far, but Seattle could change some things up in its backfield around him.
More deep shots: Seattle’s game plan against San Francisco included a heavy dose of play-action and rollouts designed to move the pocket and keep Wilson out of harm’s way, an understandable approach given all the pressure he faced in Week 1. “We completed a bunch of them, but we didn’t get a lot of yards on them,” Carroll said. Indeed, only one of Wilson’s 39 attempts Sunday traveled more than 20 yards down field, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and that was incomplete. Only six of his attempts were thrown more than 15 yards down field, with two of them going for completions (of 22 and 18 yards). Pushing the ball deep down the field is easier said than done given that those plays tend to take longer to develop and therefore carry the risk of leaving Wilson exposed behind an offensive line struggling in pass protection. But that’s not a new issue for the Seahawks and they’ve found ways to mix in some deep shots before. They’ll no doubt be looking for more of those after dinking and dunking their way to 198 passing yards against San Francisco.