KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 24: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks scrambles during the NFL preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on August 24, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
I broke down a few of the highlights/lowlights of the Seahawks' pass defense in Nate's excellent Preseason Retrospective Series of videos last week, and today I wanted to move to the passing offense; both videos come from the Seahawks' week three matchup with the Chiefs. Again, big thanks to Nate Dogg for creating these videos - they're an excellent resource and Nate has even ordered the clips by play type so you can get a real sense of the types of things the Seahawks do on offense.
00:15 - Seahawks in 11 personnel and Anthony McCoy is lined up over the right hash mark. Russell Wilson is in shotgun here on 1st down and threads the needle up the seam to the big TE. Wilson's footwork is pretty good here -- you'll notice the quick three-step drop, hitch, hitch, throw. Very smooth, balanced, collected. I think he could have eliminated the second hitch and throw sooner to McCoy, but he gives it enough zip to get the ball past the outstretched hand of Abram Elam.
Watch at the 0:29 second mark how wide the throwing lane for Wilson is. This interior protection, as Max Unger slides to his right to double team Ropati Pitoitua, is perfect, and Wilson doesn't hesitate on the throw. The throw is a tad misplaced -- Wilson could have led McCoy a bit for some potential yards after the catch, but the completion is certainly satisfactory.
01:06 - This Kellen Winslow's touchdown on a botched assignment by the Chiefs. The Seahawks had been in the no huddle, hurry up offense here - Pete Carroll later noted they were in their '2-minute stuff' despite 9+ minutes on the clock - and as Wilson went to the line he saw the Chiefs defense in disarray. He called for a quick snap, Winslow ran his route, and Wilson hit him with the pass for an easy touchdown. The pass actually almost carried Winslow out of bounds - and that's something to watch with Wilson. He hasn't displayed the best placement on some intermediate passes thus far, and I'm sure that's something that he's really working hard to rectify.
01:26 - Wilson tries to thread a pass into Winslow up the seam. If nothing else, it's nice to see Wilson working the middle of the field with his tight ends.
01:36 - This is actually an outlet swing pass to McCoy after Wilson checks down from the downfield routes. But, on 3rd and 15, it turns into a nice pickup as McCoy gets yards after the catch by hurdling a defender. Footwork-wise, it's a three-step drop with hitch up for Wilson; he hitches again as he doesn't see any openings downfield, and quickly and smoothly checks it down to McCoy, leading him toward the sideline nicely.
The one thing a quarterback can do that annoys me on these outlet routes to tight ends and half backs is deliver with poor ball placement. On the swing pass, you don't like to see the trajectory make the receiver turn in a pivot move toward the middle of the field rather than hitting the receiver on their upfield shoulder, allowing them to turn downfield and toward the sideline and not lose a whole bunch of speed and momentum.
Compare this catch with the one at 00:56 (swing pass to Winslow) to understand better what I'm talking about.
02:16 - Wilson executes a three-step drop on this play and looks for the quick slant to Braylon Edwards to the left. The Kansas City linebacker to that side drops back into the passing lane so Wilson pulls the ball down and looks for his outlet to the right - in this case, TE Sean McGrath. Wilson deftly steps into the pocket toward his receiver (I hope you all watched the Bill Walsh quarterbacking series because this is a fundamental piece of footwork for sideline passes) because on a pass to the sideline like this, if Wilson is falling away or flat footed, you're just asking for a pick-six.
02:26 - Wilson out of the shotgun on 2nd and 8. Seahawks in 11 personnel with three wide receivers and Golden Tate is the X. Chiefs are playing off of Tate by a big margin here and Wilson executes a three-step drop, slight hitch, and throw on a line to Tate from deep in the pocket. Good strong throw by Wilson on Tate's 10-yard hitch route toward the sideline.
02:44 - Wilson pump fakes toward Sidney Rice on 3rd and 8 to move the safeties to the offensive right, then throws a floating pass to the back corner of the endzone left to Golden Tate. It looks like Wilson simply severely overthrew him, but I kind of just see it as more of a throw away. I wasn't in the huddle so I don't know, but I get the impression that Wilson may have seen that KC's corner, Stanford Routte, first showing press at the line, dropped back and didn't bite on the stop-and-go. The coverage was there, so Wilson threw it to where no one could get it.
On the replay, you'll see Stanford Routt - either by savvy or by luck - keep his eyes on Tate when Tate looks in toward Wilson on the stop-and-go. If Routt turns his head there to try and find the ball, Tate has a big advantage on the double move, and probably a touchdown. But, Routt does a nice job sticking with it.
03:25 - This throw ends up being in a good enough spot, but it looks like Wilson sort of double-clutches in the pocket. Had the corner turned his head it would have been a nice pick, but as we've talked about here, T.O. is excellent at waiting until the last second to give away that a pass is coming. It looks like the corner on Owens gets a piece of the ball, deflects it, and Owens can't reel it in. I originally remember this being an Owens' drop - but it's clear that the ball was deflected. Mack Strong even notes that Owens does a good job of keeping his arms down until the last second.
03:53 - Ok, so this looks like an Owens' drop. Hell of a throw by Wilson from the pocket on an out-route by Owens. Good ball placement and velocity from Wilson with Tamba Hali closes in on him from the edge. Wilson takes a big hit.
05:07 - So, for those of you that were wondering if Wilson can throw a slant route from the pocket - here's your answer. Wilson slings a dart to Sidney Rice that hits him in the chest and uncharacteristically bounces off. Rice should have made the grab here and Wilson showed excellent velocity and ball placement on the pass.
One thing to note about this play is that Anthony McCoy has been flexed out to the flanker spot, which moves Sidney Rice to the slot. Also noteworthy is that Mack Strong says that Steve Urkel made a nice defensive play.
05:29 - This play on 3rd and 4 for the Seahawks is another nice example of Wilson's ability to move around behind the line, re-set himself quickly, and deliver a pass with velocity and accuracy. Wilson with a three step drop, is flushed (I might add - he probably should have stayed in the pocket here as J.R. Sweezy, in at RG, just annihilates DE Allen Bailey, knocking him to the ground). Wilson keeps his eyes downfield though, and finds Charly Martin on the out route for a first down.
05:43- TD pass to Charly Martin. Great calmness in the pocket to sit back for a beat and let the routes get downfield. Takes a big hit from Tamba Hali on the poor outside block by Kellen Winslow (offensive side left). This is why it's important for TEs to block, by the way. Because they're going to be on the edge at times against top tier defensive ends. This is why Zach Miller and Anthony McCoy are a nice players to have. We'll find out about Evan Moore as well.
In terms of the throw - not sure if Wilson could have placed it any better.
07:38 on - Great look at a couple of plays that involves the pocket collapsing and Wilson's reactions. Two long runs, a couple of sacks taken. Take a look.