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Countdown to training camp: Seahawks come back to beat Packers

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns

The countdown to training camp enters its second week, meaning we are getting very close to the Seattle Seahawks opening up training camp on July 25th as we work our way backwards through each 2018 opponent. So far the countdown has taken fans through the loss in the Wild Card round at AT&T Stadium to the Dallas Cowboys, the Week 17 win over the Arizona Cardinals and the thrilling primetime upset over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 16. From there it was a look at the Hawks upset on the road to the San Francisco 49ers, followed by looking at the win over the Minnesota Vikings in action green uniforms and the destruction of the Niners when they came to Century Link in Week 13. Saturday touched on Chris Carson showing off insane athleticism in the Week 12 victory over the Carolina Panthers, and today it’s on to Week 11.

In Week 11 the Seahawks found themselves down double digits early to the Green Bay Packers, but the team stuck to the gameplan and didn’t panic. There was a calm air about the team, presumably for two reasons. First, there’s little fear losing to a team with a mediocre quarterback, and secondly Seattle is very familiar with the Packers defense run by Mike Pettine.

That familiarity comes from two areas, the first of which is the fact that Pettine was a consultant for the Seahawks during the 2017 season. So, the Hawks had Pettine in house and were able to get to know his personality, his tendencies and his system, potentially allowing the Hawks the opportunity to take advantage of that knowledge.

The second reason the Hawks coaching staff was likely familiar with Pettine’s system is the simple fact that Seattle Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer spent three years working with Pettine for the New York Jets under Rex Ryan. While Schotty was the OC from 2006 to 2011 for the Jets, Pettine was the defensive coordinator for the final three years of that time period. So, just as the Arizona Cardinals defense was able to give the Seahawks offense fits in both games because of Steve Wilks’ intricate knowledge of the Air Coryell offense Schottenheimer runs from the time Wilks spent working for then San Diego Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner, so was the Seattle offense able to anticipate and excoriate the Green Bay defense.

In short, when it was third and long, and the analytics said the Seahawks were most definitely going to pass, Pettine dialed up a blitz. And, blitzes are dangerous when they get to Russ, but when Russ gets the ball out quick and the blitz doesn’t get home, it’s game over. Pettine mixed up the type of blitzes her brought on third down over the course of the game, but when he dialed up cover-0 and cover-1, Russ tended to eat the defense alive. Here are just two examples that we looked at a couple of weeks ago, but which demonstrate how Wilson knew where he was going with the ball before it was even snapped based on his pre-snap reads.

In any case, as Russ becomes more comfortable as a pocket passer and more comfortable playing quarterback the way Schotty wants him to, the sky is the limit in the coming years as the offensive weapons around him gain experience and develop their own skillsets.