I started watching all the Seahawks games (when available, we can't forget the nineties) around 1987. This was a love passed on to me by my grandfather and the era of John L Williams, Steve Largent and Dave Krieg offense was in full effect.
I really remember three kinds of pure pass plays from the era. The "deep" ball was one. Steve Largent averaged 16 yards a reception for his career. Randy Moss averages about 12.5 today and he is considered a defense stretcher. Different eras. Then there was the "tough guy" over the middle catch. Like clockwork, a receiver would run through the mushy middle, get his hands on the ball, and then get popped by one or two guys in the back. Tough guys, Brian Blades tough, would hang on. Finally, there was the 5 yard out to the sideline. Saw that one lots in 1987. Yawn. That's a catch today that when it gets sniffed out goes back for a touchdown, like the Seahawks against Green Bay in the 2003 playoffs.
Oh yes - for balance, old school Seahawks had a run game. Ground Chuck. And a screen game. Not the modern, cheap and easy to coach wide receiver screen. The real deal where John L Williams and the entire offensive line would get their fat legs moving. Two stiff arms later Williams was on his way to a first down and bowl of chunky beef soup.
The Nineties happened. Delete. Thanks for overriding Chuck Knox's desire to draft Brett Favre, Ken Behring. Dan McGwire sure was a tall bloke.
Enter Mike Holmgren. While he had his struggles early and certainly had his moments of predictable play calling, at least for those who watched every week, he had a feel for the game. Even his Predictable Plays worked, because they were effective. This was the West Coast offense, designed to use short passes and the run interchangeably. Seahawks fans saw this in spades when during the early stages of the Ruskell Reload era (Ha!) when the Seahawks suddenly lost the run game. Holmgren adapted. He might growl about "simplifying" the playbook and "cookies" or whatever, but he built a functional pass first offense when his run game was in the toilet. He passed to set up the run. It worked for as long as Bat Hasslemack was healthy. But another era of Seahawks football was grinding to a close.
Enter Pete Carroll and whiz kid Jeremy Bates. (More below the jump.)I've seen Bates call a couple of games for the Seahawks this year that looked like modern football. Everybody knows there are talent and continuity issues with the wide receivers and offensive line. Hack Masslebatt has a bad robotic hip.
But, for the love of all that is decent and holy. For the love of keg cups in the Qwest Field parking lot. What is with the training wheel, 1987 offense I keep seeing?
I don't care if Mike BMW Williams is hurt. 5 yard outs to the sideline don't work in today's game when you do it again and again.
I don't care if Charlie Whitehurst is the flipping quarterback. Clipboard Ringo - and Tom Brady - will have issues if your play call sequence is Run, Run, Pass THREE TIMES IN A ROW. What is Whitehurst going to learn other than his coaches hate him with ridiculous play calls like that? Did I forget to say that the 2010 edition of the Seahawks doesn't actually have a run game?
You can't run a 1987 offense if you don't have a run game. Where's the dang screen? I saw the Eagles run some good screens on Tuesday night. I think a beast mode screen would be a good thing. Work on that all week if your only other pass plays are sideline outs and failed deep balls, mmmmk?
Defenses start to smell fear. It is probably the fear of guys in front of them thinking, "is Jeremy Bates going to hang us out to dry again?"
Compete forever. Let's get some coaches in here for tryouts next year, we'll see who sets up an eight man front with no outlet pass on the 2 yard line AND FAILS TO PUNCH IT IN BECAUSE THE SEAHAWKS HAVE NO RUN GAME.
Mike Holmgren would do that ONCE then throw in a three receiver set on the goal line and Matt Hassleback would find the tight end or or running back for the easy touchdown.
Fear based play calling doesn't work.
Sign me disgusted. I'd rather see the Seahawks fail with a big boy offense, than a training wheels offense that has no shot. If Charlie Whitehurst can't execute it, let the vultures eat the flesh out of his beard.