Billing Brian Schottenheimer has left his position as offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks after three seasons.
The Seahawks announced the decision on Tuesday, citing philosophical differences as the reason for the split and calling the 47-year-old Schottenheimer a fantastic man and coach.
The decision comes after a disappointing end to a strange season in which the Seahawks scored the most points in franchise history, but struggled in the second half of the season. This strange offensive regression continued in the end of season 30-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in an NFC playoff three days ago.
On his 710 ESPN radio show in Seattle on Monday, Coach Pete Carroll was asked what he thought of Schottenheimer’s position in 2020 and whether he expected him to return. Carroll briefly answered in the affirmative, but when asked if his coordinators would return directly to a press conference, he replied that out of respect he would not discuss such matters.
We’ll figure out what we need to do to get better, as we always do, Carroll said. I love my boys. I love the way they work, their dedication and everything they brought to the table. I’m waiting for everyone to come back. Our coaches get called from all over. There’s a lot going on. I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that after Monday night’s meeting, it was clear that there were philosophical differences between Carroll and Schottenheimer, and they decided it would be in both parties’ best interest to separate.
In his public comments since the end of the season, Carroll has expressed regret that the Seahawks didn’t adapt better to the way opposing defenses played in the second half of the season. He also cited his own offensive regression as a reason for the drop in production, saying he cited the issues when the Seahawks faced a handful of strong defenders late in the season.
Carroll said part of the solution for next season will be to run the ball enough to force the defense into more favorable conditions.
Carroll hired Schottenheimer in part to work with quarterback Russell Wilson to fix a racing game that collapsed in 2017. Seattle has built on a strong offense in 2018 and 2019 and then more than any other NFL team in the first ten weeks of this season – a dramatic change.
The Seahawks posted a franchise record 459 points in the regular season, but it was a tough start to the season as Seattle scored 30 points in seven of its first eight games. Wilson threw touchdown passes at record pace during part of that run – and was one of the early MVP favorites – before he and the rest of the offense hit the wall.
For the first nine weeks, the Seahawks’ offense led the league with 34 points per game, while Wilson led the league with 28 touchdown assists. But Seattle’s punt average dropped to 22.6 in the final eight weeks of the regular season (they were 16th) and Wilson threw 12 TD passes (13).
The Seahawks are attackingthis season.
|Weeks 1-9||Rest of the season|
|The Joint CBD||81.5||62.5|
|* The leader of the NFL *|
|— ESPN statistics and information|
According to ESPN’s study of statistics and data, Wilson’s 40.7 percent in 11 of Seattle’s 27 games was the second best in his career, while his overall QBR of 17.6 was the worst in his 16 playoff games. In that game, he was sacked five times and was under pressure for 50% of his resets for the season. Wilson threw two touchdown passes and a pick-six that Carroll said was not his fault.
Another offensive blunder in this game occurred midway through the fourth quarter when, despite an injury timeout, the Seahawks were unable to complete a fourth and only one play in time to call a de facto timeout. They were penalized for a false start after running to the line. Carroll said he wanted to reverse the play that led to the delay and they were going to play the game he wanted so the penalty wouldn’t force them to kick.
Asked about the Seahawks’ offensive regression after a strong start, Carroll said they haven’t adjusted well enough to the way their opponents defend their deep passing game, which has traditionally been a big part of Seattle’s success.
That doesn’t mean we’re constantly throwing the ball to them and just looking for bombs, Carroll said. But there’s a lot of space that we create in the passing game, and it seems like during the season, after scoring a half point so early, we were so effective that people found a way to keep us out of harm’s way and try to bleed us and get the ball under us, and maybe we really tried more than we needed to and didn’t use the gears as effectively as we would have liked.
Wilson has made at least one 30-yard pass in each of Seattle’s first eight games of the season and has made a total of three in the final nine games of the season, including the playoffs.
Shotty… I’m grateful for everything you’ve meant to me over the past three years, Wilson tweeted Tuesday night. God blessed me with you, we won a lot of games, threw a lot of touchdowns and had a lot of fun in meetings and Bible studies. The best days are still ahead of you. Go be great. God first. Love. 3.
Shotty… I am grateful for all that you have meant to me over the past three years. God blessed me with you, we won a lot of games, threw a lot of touchdowns and had a lot of fun in meetings and Bible studies. The best days are still ahead of you. Go be great. God first.
Love. 3. pic.twitter.com/rMtDd7YJUt
– Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) January 13, 2021
Whoever the Seahawks hire will be Wilson’s third coordinator in five seasons. Schottenheimer was hired after Seattle fired Darrell Bevell nearly three years ago. The Seahawks ranked fifth in goals in Schottenheimer’s first season, eighth in 2019 and sixth in 2020. They ranked 18th, 8th and 17th in total yards during this period.
Schottenheimer previously served as offensive coordinator for the New York Jets (2006-11) and the Rams (2012-14).
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