You saw the same game I saw; you don’t need me to sit here and rehash it for 1,000 words. The offense stunk. Russell Wilson stunk, Jimmy Graham stunk, the offensive line stunk. The running game couldn’t get going, there were too many penalties on both sides of the ball, and our secondary got ripped to shreds. The only reason why it was as close as it was – and the only reason why the Seahawks were able to continue their string of having a lead in every game for however many games in a row – is because of some well-timed blitzes causing some well-timed turnovers leading to some well-timed points.
You can blame the defense all you want for giving up 39 points to the Cards, but it’s not their fault that the Seahawks’ offense was only on the field for 21 minutes (unless you count that one fumble recovery at the Arizona 3-yard line, which resulted in a quick TD). It’s also not their fault that the offense could only convert 1/8 third downs and had the following drives:
- 6 plays, 8 yards, 3:05, punt
- 3 plays, -5 yards, 1:34, punt
- 1 play, -22 yards, 0:38, safety
- 3 plays, -8 yards, 1:16, punt
- 2 plays, 6 yards, 0:41, interception
- 7 plays, 5 yards, 2:41, punt
That comprises half of our 12 drives; all told, for half of our possessions, we ran 22 offensive plays, for -16 yards, across 9:55, resulting in four punts, a safety, and a pick. And those first FOUR drives were the first four possessions for the Seahawks in this game. Maybe the defense wasn’t the sharpest it could’ve been. Maybe there were too many mistakes in the secondary. Maybe the 4-man pass rush wasn’t getting home like it’s supposed to. Maybe the defensive coordinator went away from the blitz-heavy package that got us the lead in the first place. But, that offense right there? That’s inexcusable, and it’s time to stop making those excuses for a unit that is a huge failure across the board.
Instead, why not perform an exercise that might actually be a little more interesting and fun? On the drive back to Reno from Tahoe, a buddy of mine brought up the point: what if the Seahawks’ defense also played offense? Couldn’t be any worse than what we saw! Hell, we DID see what they can do, and it WAS better. Fumble returned for a touchdown, another fumble recovered at the 3-yard line, and an interception in the endzone that prevented at a minimum a field goal, and at the most another TD. That’s 17-21 points accounted for right there, or around half of the entire team’s point output in a game they’d lose 39-32.
So, what would that offense look like? For starters, my friends and I settled on some variation of the triple option. Definitely gotta go run-heavy in this hypothetical scenario, and put your best athletes in the best spots to succeed.
I’ve got Earl Thomas as my quarterback. I feel like he’s got the best hands on the defense, for starters, so you always want the guy with the best hands handling the ball as much as possible. He’s also the fastest guy, so any keepers will put a tremendous strain on any defense trying to spy him. And, for what it’s worth, he’s a natural leader. I want that guy kneeling down in the huddle, talking the rest of the offense through the tough times, pumping them up and giving them the confidence to know they’re going to succeed on an important drive late in the game. I’ve never seen the guy throw, but in this offense we’re not going to ask him to throw too often. Just handle the ball and make good decisions on your reads.
My two running backs are going to be Kam Chancellor and Bruce Irvin. I know you look at Kam and you think he’s too tall to be a running back, but think about it. Think about how hard that man hits. Think about him running up into a hole and either blocking for Irvin (if it comes to that) or taking the ball and running right over someone. I want that kind of devastation in my running back. As for Irvin, he’s got great quicks and change-of-direction-ability. I want to see him with the ball in his hands, pulling his best spin moves to get away from defenders.
As for our fullback: Bobby Wagner, without question. He’s leading the way on any stretch play, or any play in the hole. I want him bowling guys over, opening lanes for our faster runners to get through. I know you think the fullback is a nothing position, but in this type of offense, the fullback is key. He can also run some dive plays when we need a yard and absolutely no one else will do.
Richard Sherman is the obvious choice for wide receiver, since he’s actually PLAYED wide receiver in his career. In this offense, you really only need one receiver. We can send him down the sideline on a fly pattern and just have Earl Thomas chuck it up to him; we can also run Sherman on some fly sweeps (but absolutely no bubble screens!).
I’m making K.J. Wright our tight end, as I feel like he’d be a really stout blocker. I’m not sure what kind of hands he’s got, but at 6’4, if we wanted to go with a quick pop pass or something, he’s got the height you want out of a tight end.
Honestly, our skill position players are pretty amazing in this hypothetical offensive unit, but I fear we’re going to run into a similar problem with our offensive line.
On the ends, we need quick guys with some height. The obvious choice is Michael Bennett – at the all-important left tackle position – and Cliff Avril at right tackle. At 6’4 & 6’3 respectively, I think these two are giving you everything you could ask for, even though they’d be a little on the light side at 274 lbs & 260 lbs respectively.
On the inside, at left guard, I’m putting Brandon Mebane. He’s quick, he’s powerful, and he gives the left side of our line a dynamic 1-2 punch with Bennett. At right guard, to make up for Avril’s svelteness, I’m putting 325-pound Ahtyba Rubin. He might be a little less refined, but he’s a mauler and should make up for it with his nastiness (whereas, I’d say Mebane is the more technically gifted of the two). At center, I’m leaning towards Jordan Hill. At 6’1, he’s not too tall, at 303 lbs, he’s big but not TOO big, so he can still move and get to the second level.
I think that offensive unit could get some work done! Maybe not, but could it really be any worse than what we saw on Sunday (and what we’ve seen for the majority of this season)? I’d think about doing the reverse (seeing what the Seahawk offense would look like playing defense), but I’m just too irritated. I imagine it’d be a good thing to have so many converted defensive tackles on the line, as they can just go back to their regular positions. Russell Wilson would have to be your free safety. Marshawn Lynch would probably have to be your middle linebacker. I don’t know WHAT you’d do with Jimmy Graham, as I imagine a wide receiver who plays tight end and is afraid to get hit probably wouldn’t make a good anything on defense. Maybe we can make him a long snapper on special teams or something.