Greg Cosell On The Seahawks' Offense

If you don't yet know about NFL Films' Senior Producer and ESPN analyst Greg Cosell, then I would suggest you do a little digging. Andy Benoit did a piece on him over at the New York Times' Blog The Fifth Down, and shed a little light on the guy whose football analysis and opinion is sought after by NFL GMs, Coaches, scouts, beat writers, and yes, bloggers. In that piece, Benoit painted a picture:

Any first-time combine attendee will inevitably notice (Greg) Cosell at some point and wonder, Who is this guy? This year, he could be seen in the Lucas Oil Stadium lobby chatting for hours with George Whitfield Jr., (Cam) Newton's personal quarterback coach. Every time Cosell entered the media work room, he was approached by multiple writers and broadcasters, including the combine godfather Gil Brandt. A television crew stopped and interviewed him. During the skill position player drills, he was spotted visiting with Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff, Saints Coach Sean Payton, Ravens Coach John Harbaugh and renowned coordinators like the Bengals' Mike Zimmer and the Lions' Scott Linehan, to name a few. These heavy-hitters were absorbing his every word.

"Greg is just a brilliant man when it comes to" the strategic and personnel facets of the league, Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders said. "Tremendous insight, a tremendous knowledge of personnel, a great command of the intricacies of the game from a strategic standpoint."

"For a guy who isn't a coach, isn't a general manager, and was never a player," the NFL.com senior writer Vic Carucci said, "the depth of his knowledge and his ability to explain it is as strong as anything I've come across. And I like to think I've been around some of the brightest football people in the modern era."

Beekers has been a big Cosell fans for a long while now and offered a succinct summary on why Cosell is so great at what he does: "He's been with NFL films for three decades and is still there. He still sounds like the same guy: not making bold statements, not talking about stuff he doesn't know about, only offering very insightful analysis of guys he's watched enough film on."

Cosell regularly does podcasts and I brought you some statements he made early in the preseason on the Seahawks' offense in an article recently. Cosell said:

Look, I gotta tell you, and I'm not defending Tarvaris Jackson, this is a really bad o-line. It is an incredibly slow offense, it's a bad match of quarterback and wide receivers. Mike Williams and Sidney Rice are big bodies that don't separate well, and Jackson is the type of quarterback that's not willing to make tight, contested throws.

So you've got a very bad mix of quarterback and wide receiver, you also have a very bad match of a rookie right side of the o-line, and a quarterback with little pocket command or timing who tends to hold the ball. So this is an offense that has a LOT of issues.

Cosell was a guest on Doug Farrar's Shutdown Corner podcast (a really, really great listen by the way - this is only a short snippet but Cosell and Farrar take a trip around the entire NFL so I'd recommend checking it out) the other day and offered a few more thoughts on the Seahawks struggling offense, citing the Seahawks loss in San Francisco:

The Seahawk offense, and now, -- you live in Seattle --, it's a difficult offense to watch. They don't run the ball particularly well, they started two rookies at guard. They moved James Carpenter, who played right tackle in the preseason, to left guard, and John Moffitt started at right guard. Their right tackle, and you'll have to forgive me, I don't know how to pronounce his name, but he had a particularly rough outing this week (Breno Giacomini).

So they don't run it really well, and at the end of the day, they don't throw it really well because Tarvaris Jackson has minimal pocket feel and command, he's the kind of quarterback that doesn't make receivers better.

I guess watching the tape of this team, the question that came to mind for me was "What is their offensive identity?" Why is Marshawn Lynch, -- and I don't think Lynch is a dominant back, but why is he not the foundation of the offense? He's, quite frankly, their best offensive player. He's the best offensive player on a bad offense.

(Regarding an earlier comment that the Seahawks have one of the slowest offenses in the NFL)

Well, now again, they played some receivers this week that can run a little bit. Golden Tate ended up playing a lot of snaps, because Sidney Rice was out. Doug Baldwin ended up playing a number of snaps and he's actually shown a little juice. But certainly Mike Williams can't run, -- I just talked about Lynch and at times I think Lynch is a nice back, but he certainly doesn't have a lot of juice to him in terms of speed, so there's not really a speed element to what they do. And I don't think their offensive line is particularly athletic. So it's just an offense, I think, that has a lot of flaws.

It's difficult for this team to move the ball consistently.

Sobering, but as Thomas points out - he's not making bold statements and he's basing everything on his film study. He's just telling it how he sees it, and Cosell watches A LOT of tape and has a very good eye for the intricacies of the game. Furthermore, Cosell is very careful to defer on questions in which he doesn't have enough information. If he hasn't watched a lot of tape on a certain player, he'll just say so and move on. It's really refreshing to listen to.

I am not bringing this analysis to your attention to be a total Debbie Downer but it think it is important to have a realistic view of what this offense can accomplish and what type of expectations to have. Now, has Cosell been wrong before? Sure, probably a lot of times. As an example, he was very, very low on Cam Newton coming into this season and Doug Farrar and Cosell talk about how surprised both of them were with his success in week one.

So I'm not saying that "because Cosell says so, the Seahawks are going to suck." What I'm saying is that Cosell is a very, very intelligent football mind and his analysis should be taken into consideration when watching this team play this season.

It's interesting to get an unbiased and unprejudiced opinion on the Seahawks in a noninflammatory fashion. Can the Seahawks surprise Cosell? Sure. But he's done a good job of pointing out some deficiencies the team has that we should be aware of.


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