In the comments to the Tuesday article on the run game and third and manageable, a commenter asked for a film review of the Seattle Seahawks passing game against the Dallas Cowboys. I do not have my normal dual monitor work configuration this week, and film review is absolutely horrendous to do on a single screen, so what I’m going to do is to take a look at an existing review of the Seahawks passing game that was done last week in the wake of the game by Seth Galina.
For those who are unfamiliar with Seth, he writes for The Athletic Detroit, but the most important credential to consider here when reading his analysis here is that he is a quarterbacks coach. He knows what he’s talking about, and he does good work. He has a two tweet system when he looks at plays, where the first tweet is a series of stills, where he lays out the routes of each of the receivers, and then in a second tweet he provides the full play from the coaches film available on NFL Gamepass.
Thus, without too much more yammering, here are nine plays that he reviewed following the loss in Dallas. First, though, let me preface everything with one note from Galina from late in the season.
I wanted to make a Russell Wilson thread but watching him in that offense makes me sad.— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) December 27, 2018
So, keep that in mind as your read through the thread, as it gives some insight into his position on the Hawks offense.
Russ is great but he does hold on to the ball a little too long but then he does Russ things and makes a play out of nothing. It's v circular. Schotty doesn't help him at all with his schemes. First pass of the game he doesn't trust the TE will win his stick route so he scrambles pic.twitter.com/FjxMpqqGMl— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 7, 2019
The big play to Locket off play action happens when— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 7, 2019
a) Lockett turns the safety around
b) the corner stays low on the tight end so Russ can throw over his head pic.twitter.com/hNAEOf0PYx
I've always thought he was a really good sideline fade thrower. He knows it's man pre-snap so once the corner man turns he just puts the ball up. What I liked is that there are 2 free rushers and still gets off a beautiful ball pic.twitter.com/dfQV4M184y— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 7, 2019
These are the situations where I have no clue what's causing him to hold on to the ball. Of course, he still gains a good chunk of yards on the checkdown. Looks like the corner route is open because the cornerback is low and the safety is inside and then the dig is open but no pic.twitter.com/QKkczSfmqe— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 7, 2019
Here's one of the best throws I've seen this season. Field side corner route on the money. Pretty good timing off 5 (plus a little reset) and a hitch. He also has to get around the edge rusher. pic.twitter.com/QowL83iZJK— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 7, 2019
I like this progression of their burst corner smash concept. Cowboys roll down to Cover 3 with the safety as the weak hook player. He's stays deep ish but is flat footed and while the corner can play the corner route he can't play the double move. Big play. pic.twitter.com/JFKXxTvXL8— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 7, 2019
I like the idea here in the redzone. He's going to look to the iso receiver side but when he sees a safety fly off the hash he knows it's Cover 2 and can potentially hit the seam by the tight end that's splitting the safety's. Jaylon Smith with a great play in coverage on the TE. pic.twitter.com/WaPWbBjYHk— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 7, 2019
This one sucks because Russ misses behind Baldwin but it's a nice read. They get the same redzone tampa 2 coverage but they work the weakside backer this time. They get what they want with good timing but bad throw. pic.twitter.com/XwK7PSH1CB— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 7, 2019
The touchdown is Russ understanding hips and leverage. When the cornerback stays too far inside, the out route by the running back is going to come open because it will take too long for him to flip his hips and cover it pic.twitter.com/ck7Y1Q01BN— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 7, 2019
That’s pretty much that. One more point that came up in this thread from Galina was a response to a question posed by our own film phenom, Matty F. Brown, so here is that exchange.
Well cuz I don't post the ones where there's just no one open. Which I think happens often. We def agree that Russ holds the ball too long but I think Schotty could do a better job scheming people open in the middle intermediate area— Seth Galina (@SethGalina) January 8, 2019
After you have seen the work that Matty does here at Field Gulls, I would hope that you are already following him on Twitter (@mattyfbrown), and Seth is a quality follow as well (@SethGalina). He explains what he is looking at in good detail, and while he tends to occasionally use coach lingo to describe things, that’s nothing that a quick google search can’t help explain.
Now, just for a couple of examples of what things looked like when “there’s just no one open”, here’s a couple of stills from plays he did not cover in his thread.
For the first one, look at how well the linebacker dropped into coverage and then anticipated a curl at the sticks from Doug Baldwin.
And then, oh boy, it’s 3rd & 7, so let’s call the play where half of the receivers run a curl route short of the sticks while the other two go deep and we throw a low percentage toss up to the corner.
Now, for those fans who have argued that Kris Richard being on the Dallas coaching staff was the difference in the game because he knew the offensive plays that were coming, I still don’t buy that argument.
However, what I do buy is that Richard took Pete Carroll’s aggressive coaching of defensive backs and taught it to the Dallas defenders, and that had an impact on the game. The last still above with the two receivers running curl routes that are short of the first down was an incomplete pass to Baldwin, the receiver at the top of the field heading for the end zone. The pass was good and could have been caught by Baldwin, but let’s take a look at what the defensive back did just before the ball got to Doug.
That is the defensive back using both hands to momentarily clamp Baldwin’s wrist just a split second before the ball arrives. The corner back releases it almost instantly, but it appears to have thrown Baldwin off balance just enough that he could not readjust and get his hands up to cleanly catch the ball. While this likely could have been a penalty, as has been repeated time and again over the past five years, officials aren’t going to call pass interference on every play.
So it would seem one may be more easily able blame Richard for exporting Carroll’s style of defensive back play than for Richard knowing the Seahawks offensive playbook.