Believe it or not, the Blue Lego-man pictured above is not chief among our concerns. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
You know what's pretty good? The Seahawk's defense. You know what isn't? Beets. Also, the Seahawks offense. I don't think it's a lost cause, however, and by this time next year, it could be a strength (a big could, I'll concede). Still, here's my three-step plan (I'm guesstimating) to solving our offensive woes:
Step One: Cut a Hole in the Box
There are a couple of big holes on this offense. The play-calling by Darrell Bevell has been lacking, in my opinion, but it's understandable. You want to be a "run-first" team, so what do you do? Well, first, you run. Second, you fall behind because you can't run. Third, you pass. Fourth, you still lose because your quarterback is average and your line is not yet performing. Fifth, you run a draw on 3rd and 16 that nets you 8 yards so you can feel a little better about the rushing statistics if nothing else. Sixth, you lose.
My radical approach? Fire Darrell Bevell and elevate Tom Cable to OC.
Now look, I am strongly anti-fire-coach-just-because-it-feels-right. The issue, in my mind, is not that we need a new offensive coordinator, but that we need one offensive coordinator, not two. As it stands, Bevell is the "passing coordinator" and Cable is the "running coordinator." Yes, Bevell helped us land Sidney Rice, but has he been used in any amazing fancy-pants, Bevell-only packages? Not that I've seen. He's a freak athlete, and a talented WR. Bevell is not integral to his success. Moreover, Bevell came here with a less-than-stellar reputation as Brad Childress' stage manager (get because Childress looks like a creepy ass high school drama teacher?!). On the other hand, Tom Cable has rounded out our line (Carpenter, Moffitt, Gallery), has brought a bit of nastiness to that unit, and should have his pick of our next running back (more on that shortly).
Step Two: Shake iPhone to Shuffle
This is a talented team, even offensively. Look at the top tier players: Sidney Rice, Zach Miller, Russell Okung, Leon Washington. Okay, so, four players does not a franchise make, but it's a great start. Unfortunately, I think the team is in need of a shuffle. How would I change it?
For one, Marshawn Lynch should not be the lead back for this offense. I like Lynch a lot, and in fact, he is playing better than his stats would indicate. That doesn't change the fact that he does a lot of dancing behind the line (often the line's fault, but not always), or the fact that he lacks pure breakaway speed, or the fact that is not an above average back unless the stars align just right. So let's make Lynch the number two back, the third-and-short / goal line bruising back who will come in and get 5 to 15 carries depending on the game and situation. Promote Leon Washington to the starting back role. Sure, he's a lil' feller, but that's not a bad thing in today's NFL. His elusiveness, speed, and ability to catch out of the backfield make him a bigger overall threat than Lynch. He also seems to be a better zone running back than Lynch. Give Washington 10-15 carries a game, Lynch 5-15, Forsett 3-10. Next year, let Lynch and likely J-Force hit the market and upgrade the position.
But who will return kicks? Okay, fair question. Obviously, Leon Washington could still return kicks from time to time -- in crucial, need-a-big-play situations, a la Ed Reed or others. But how about that 2nd round nerdface who is getting paid to perform and is sitting on the bench while an undrafted free agent takes his offensive snaps? Yep, Golden Tate. Will he fumble? Every once in awhile, probably. But that's part of special teams. You throw a freaky guy back there and if they can make a play, burst with speed, and score a touchdown from time to time, you're a-okay. He has more value back there than he does as a receiver, and Washington, in my opinion, has more in the backfield than he does as an every-chance returner.
Next, how about those Wide Receivers? My starters: Sidney Rice and Ben Obomanu. Doug Baldwin is the regular slot guy, with Mike Williams on the field very often as a possession receivers / red zone threat. I'm talking 50% of the snaps. With his lack of speed, and Jackson's lack of trust, Williams has not been a factor this year. Period. Ben Obomanu has shown with every opportunity he has had just the kind of reliable target he can be. He has the speed to get open, the hands to catch, and the durability and toughness to take a bad hit and spring right back up. Mike Williams is a great weapon, but use him as a weapon, not as the whole artillery.
As for the tight ends, my long-standing mancrush on Zach Miller isn't going away. He's had a rough go early on, but I'm not too worried about that. He had to stay to block -- a LOT -- early on in the season. He still needs to find his "catching place," and needs a quarterback who isn't constantly throwing him into hits, which both Jackson and Whitehurst have done this year. So, Miller stays, and we just keep our fingers crossed that he survives. Anthony McCoy has been an unmitigated disaster this season after a strong pre-season. Where are these drops coming from? He's not a great blocker, not a great pass-catcher, so he's not long for this team. Cameron Morrah has looked good, and, while more well-rounded than McCoy, he's more of a pass-catcher than blocker. Keep developing him, and bring in a better blocking tight end next year to keep things awesome. Tadaaaa.
Step Three: Keep Calm and Carry On. Psyche!
Then, there is, of course, the Quarterback. I think Tarvaris Jackson is fine for now, but is clearly not the "quarterback of the future," despite what a tweet I saw this morning alleging to be paraphrasing Pete Carroll seemed to indicate [breath]. Let's be clear: The Seahawks do NOT have a choice but to draft their quarterback early next year. Carroll has no choice but to do so. Schneider has no choice but to do so. Paul Allen is not paying Carroll a gazillion pennies a year to find the best backup quarterback in the league. They need a real, live, top-ten-in-the-NFL quarterback (or someone who looks likely enough to get there), and the time to be picky is gone. This is not news to anyone, so I'll leave it at that. If PCJS fail to grab a QB in the first round (or top of second) next year, rest assured another 7-9 or worse season will not be tolerated. Time to push all-in, panic, and mortgage the future to get a QB...because if they don't, they won't be a part of that future in Seattle.