You could argue that 2022 was as big a year for Shane Waldron as anyone else on the Seattle Seahawks coaching staff. He was hired as offensive coordinator in 2021 following the ousting of Brian Schottenheimer, and the expectation was we’d get to see him work some of that Los Angeles Rams/Sean McVay magic with Russell Wilson. I don’t need to tell you what happened.
Enter Geno Smith, Noah Fant, rookie tackles Charles Cross and Abe Lucas, and rookie running back Kenneth Walker III, and Waldron had a new task at hand. Seattle finished 9th in points scored, 8th in pass offense DVOA, Walker just narrowly missed out on Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Geno did win Comeback Player of the Year. In other words, it went a hell of a lot better than many expected.
In PFF’s ranking of the top offensive coordinators in the NFL, Waldron cracks the top-5, even ahead of Eric Bieniemy, who rose to prominence with the Kansas City Chiefs and now finds himself in charge of the Washington Commanders offense.
4. Shane Waldron, Seattle Seahawks
When Shane Waldron was initially hired, the focus was on how he was going to help unlock the best play from Russell Wilson. As it turns out, he was to preside over a breakout season from Geno Smith instead. It’s very difficult to parse where the credit for that unexpected season belongs, or even how real it was, but transforming a journeyman quarterback into a top-10 starter is a seriously impressive thing to put on a resume. Waldron’s offense last season ranked 13th in expected points added per play and 12th in successful play percentage.
Ben Johnson of the Detroit Lions takes top spot, and considering the work he’s done in reviving Jared Goff’s career and turning Detroit into NFC North favorites, it’s very likely he’ll be a head coaching candidate if he maintains the good form this season. Former Dallas Cowboys OC and new Los Angeles Chargers hire Kellen Moore takes runner-up spot, while Bill O’Brien of the New England Patriots is 3rd. Bieniemy was 6th, by the way.
There’s significant belief that with an improved offensive line and the addition of rookies Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Zach Charbonnet, we could see the Seahawks emerge as one of the NFL’s best offenses. No doubt this is a big year for Geno Smith to sustain and build upon last season’s successes, but it’s also an important one for Waldron, who may find himself as a head coach candidate if he can take this offense to the next level.