Brian Schneider has been the Seattle Seahawks’ special teams coach since 2010, aka the start of the Pete Carroll era. From that season through 2013, we enjoyed great special teams, namely the excellent kicking from Steven Hauschka, Jon Ryan being Jon Ryan, the legendary punt coverage unit of 2013, outstanding abilities to block punts and kicks (Red Bryant, anyone?), and the terrific play from Leon Washington and Golden Tate as returners.
From 2010-2013, they were 2nd, 16th, 3rd, and 5th in DVOA.
Those days are gone.
Seattle ranked 24th in DVOA this season, and just imagine how much worse they’d be if not for Michael Dickson. Last year they were 20th, and the year before that they were 15th. In 2014, they were 19th, but bounced back in 2015 at 3rd almost entirely because of Tyler Lockett’s great rookie season.
That’s four years out of five with middling to poor results, and they’ve been progressively worse for three years running.
Saturday night’s 24-22 playoff loss against the Dallas Cowboys wasn’t one of Seattle’s worst ST games on the season, but it really didn’t measure up as a net positive.
Tyler Lockett had a huge kick return into Dallas territory before halftime, Michael Dickson and Neiko Thorpe combined to pin Dallas at their 2. On the flip side, they gave up a 90-yard punt return touchdown to Tavon Austin that was nullified due to a penalty, and allowed an actual 53-yard runback from Austin in the final quarter. KJ Wright prevented the Cowboys from scoring, but the field position flip meant that they were in deep trouble in the first place, and it sums up the woes of this unit throughout the last several years.
Just in the month of December, the Seahawks gave up a kick return touchdown, two blocked punts in a single game, multiple big kick and punt returns, three missed extra points, and Sebastian Janikowski was fortunate to not have had multiple blocked kicks given the frequency of free rushers being able to get a shot at the ball. The kick/punt coverage woes bled into this game, and while it ultimately wasn’t even one of the top three seasons Seattle lost, it is a microcosm of how badly this group has collapsed.
You can blame depth issues leading to more regular ST contributors being saved for offense/defense, scheme, what have you, it’s been bad. At times it is game-losing awful. Pete Carroll preaches balance in all three phases of the game. The special teams is causing an imbalance, and if 2017 wasn’t enough evidence, 2018 was the clincher.
It’s time for Brian Schneider to go.