It’s no secret that I’ve been critical of the hiring of Brian Schottenheimer as offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks this season, however, he most certainly gets credit for his halftime adjustments against the Carolina Panthers in Week 12.
During the first half the Panthers defense routinely adjusted their pre-snap alignment at the last moment after Russell Wilson had made his initial pre-snap reads. Thus, what transpired several times during the early going is that the Hawks came to the line and based on what Wilson saw from the defense he would adjust the play call.
I’ve written multiple times about the importance of pre-snap reads in Schottenheimer’s Air Coryell system, and early on the Carolina defense was taking advantage of these reads to dictate what the Seahawks offense was doing. Specifically, what the Panthers defense did was to routinely show a box that was at even strength to what the offense was showing, and then in the two or three seconds before the snap add an extra defender to the box. Here are several examples of this from early in the game. Each example is a running play from early in the game and consists of two pictures. One is what the Panthers showed defensively initially, with the second picture showing the defender having crept up in run support. In each of the examples I have circled the defender that has crept up towards the line of scrimmage in the second picture.
That’s a rather simplistic method for the defense to use to dictate what the offense would do on a given play, so how did Schotty and the rest of the coaching staff counter it? Well, the Hawks have a secret weapon on their offensive coaching staff I’ll write more about a little later on this this fall, and so they adjusted in order to counteract what the Panthers were doing.
In short, football and film study is simply pattern recognition, and the Hawks coaching staff appears to have figured out pretty quickly which offensive formations would give Russell the cleanest pre-snap reads. Once they had that figured out, it flipped the situation and allowed the offense to once again dictate what happened.
Thus, huge credit to Schottenheimer and the rest of the offensive staff for making these simple, yet powerful, adjustments during the game Sunday.