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Seahawks’ new offensive coordinator does not necessitate quick passing game

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest dominoes of the offseason has fallen for the Seattle Seahawks. Los Angeles Rams passing game coordinator Shane Waldron comes to town.

Immediate speculation has been predictably volatile, with one of the biggest questions looming: how much will change?

Unfortunately (or fortunately) for many Seattle fans, this move does not necessitate wholesale offensive restructure. Former Field Gulls writer Matty Brown has doubled down that the Seahawks are not currently equipped to run the Rams offense.

One of the prevailing theories while Waldron had been pursued, is that the Los Angeles connection would mean plenty of quick throws, and a faster pace. Throw it short and all that fun stuff that seems to happen against the Seahawks so often.

That theory, however, doesn’t necessary play out over the duration of a season. At least, not in the most significant way that could affect a fan’s viewing experience.

In other words, I regret to inform the reader that Russell WIlson will still be well within his rights, skillset, and offensive coordinator’s history to hold the ball.

I repeat, Russell Wilson will still hold the ball.

What points to this? 10 years of Wilson’s career, for one. Next Gen Stats tracks QB time to throw, and Wilson is king. While the average across the league is in the low 2.7 seconds, Wilson has boasted multiple seasons of over 3.0. He was the fourth-slowest QB to pull trigger this season, a typical mark for him.

What of the Rams?

In 2018, Jared Goff’s best and Super Bowl season, he was neck-and-neck with Wilson. While Wilson boasted the third-slowest release in the NFL at over three seconds to throw, Goff finished just behind at 2.95 that season. That was Waldron’s first year as passing game coordinator.

In subsequent years, Goff has gotten the ball out quicker. He’s also been noticeably worse. In 2018 Goff’s average intended air yards was just a shade less than Wilson, meaning he attempted to throw the ball nearly as far downfield as the Seattle offense. Wilson and Goff intended 9.2 and 8.8 air yards per throw, respectively.

It is true that if we take this 2020 season, Wilson was once again slow to throw, and Goff was exactly middle of the pack at 2.76s. It is also true this past season that Goff’s average depth plummeted to 6.5 yards per throw, indicating the previously mentioned quicker passing style.

It is simultaneously true that the Rams passing offense and Jared Goff did not have a good year. They were ranked 20th in the NFL in passing DVOA. Let’s all take a moment and acknowledge Goff’s myriad of shortcomings. That other year? That elusive, contract-changing year when Goff was actually good? Los Angeles had the fifth-best passing offense by DVOA, one spot ahead of Seattle.

This is all to say that Shane Waldron is not incompatible with attempts downfield. He is not comfined to six yards per attempt, nor do I think he wants to exclusively live there.

Getting the best of the Rams play action knowledge seems like the biggest win potential here. But for all those hoping that Russell Wilson will see his sack numbers drop in half, my condolences.