Yesterday was a big ol’ important day in Seahawks Land, as news came down in the wee hours that Darrell Bevell was fired. Then, for like half a day, there was all sorts of speculation about who might be his replacement. Steve Sarkisian’s name was bandied about – which would be a good job for him, but not a good fit for the Seahawks – as well as Tom Cable just taking over all offensive coordinating duties (he was already the run game coordinator, as you’ll recall), which probably would’ve caused a revolt among the fans. As it turns out, we never had to worry about that, because Tom Cable was let go yesterday as well. There are rumors of others – like Kris Richard – also getting the boot, but until I get some firm reporting on that, I’ll save that topic for another day.
It was just time. I know these are good men, and good coaches, and by and large they did a much better job than most fans want to give them credit for, but it’s time. Time for a new set of eyes. Time for a new voice. Time for an injection of new ideas.
The problem, from my perspective, is it’s impossible to know Cable and Bevell’s exact roles with this team, and how Pete Carroll as the head coach fits into everything. There are so many differing opinions on this thing, but from the sound of it, Bevell was the play-caller, but Cable still out-ranked him (I guess due to the Assistant Head Coach label). And, as we know, Pete out-ranks everyone and can always muscle his way into the situation by saying, “Call a run here.”
Like, we know in Super Bowl XLIX, that Bevell WANTED to run the ball on that fateful play, but Pete chimed in and told him to throw it. Which makes sense; that’s totally up to the head coach to decide. He’s gotta think five moves ahead in that situation: what down it is, yards to go, how much time is on the clock, how many time outs we had remaining, the odds of the Patriots going right back down the field and scoring before regulation ended.
But, Bevell still called THAT play. He could’ve called a fade in the corner to Chris Matthews – who had been dominating that game, and likely would’ve had 1 on 1 coverage. He could’ve called a swing pass to Beastmode. He could’ve rolled Wilson out to either side and told him to throw it out of the endzone if nothing was there. But, Bevell called a slant off a pick play that was destined to fail based on the personnel on the field (for both teams).
Right or wrong, that’s Bevell’s legacy. He helped lead us to the Seahawks’ first-ever Super Bowl title, but he’s always going to be remembered for calling that play.
And, really, drawing that play in the first place! I mean, that close to the endzone, why are you trying to design a slant in the middle of the field? Even though a fade route fails more often than not, at least it doesn’t turn into a fucking disaster! It’s just incomplete. Okay. Live to fight another down.
There’s also any number of times where this offense will be doing something well: maybe it’s running the ball, maybe it’s going up-tempo. And, for whatever reason, instead of sticking with what works, we opt to switch it up, and it immediately ends in a punt.
I’ll bring both Bevell and Cable in as a combo package here, because I think they’re both crippled by their blind spots. I don’t think either one of them were good enough to fully grasp the type of players they had on this team. Instead of crafting an offensive scheme that plays into the talents of their players, they seemed to try to shoe-horn our guys into their scheme. Hence all the mistakes. The holding penalties, the pre-snap penalties, the missed blocks.
Carolina likes to run the ball! Carolina has an athletic quarterback who likes to run around and make plays! And yet, Carolina is always one of the least penalized teams in the league. We talk about how Wilson’s running around leads to more holding penalites for the O-Line, because they never know where he’s gonna be. Well, who is that on? I’d argue that’s on a coaching staff that didn’t really know what it was doing.
I’ll also say this: having Beastmode in his prime solves a lot of your offense’s ills. God damn, my opinion of that man only goes up and up and up with every passing year this team sputters with retreads and nobodies.
I also think there’s the constant push/pull with a guy like Bevell, who wants to do a good job for Pete, but also wants to showcase his talents to other teams who need a head coach. While just about every coordinator is in a similar boat, I don’t think the Seahawks present you with a good opportunity for that. The best offensive coordinators traditionally feature elite passing attacks. As you know, the Seahawks shifted pretty hard towards a passing offense in the last couple years, and that’s just not how this team was constructed to succeed. I think Russell Wilson CAN make all the throws and run an effective spread offense and all of that, but I don’t think he’s best suited to do that and also have this team win lots of games and win championships. You need to be balanced for that, and the imbalance this team had in recent years – due to play-calling, and due to the offensive line’s incompetence – ultimately was the cause for both of these men to be fired.
I’ll be interested to see who they bring in, as it sounds like Sark is staying in Atlanta. I hope it’s a good one.