A Letter To Seattle Seahawk Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer

Dear Coach Brian Schottenheimer

Thank you for everything you are doing for my Seattle Seahawks. Largely because of you, my favorite team on the planet is enjoying a 8-2 start to the 2019 NFL Season, and my favorite football player on the planet is firmly in MVP consideration. Some fans will likely mock me for thanking you, but smarter fans that play close attention to this team will know better. You are the man.

Before you came to Seattle, this team’s offense had become a broken mess. For an offense that had Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and Duane Brown, there was absolutely no excuse for it, but sadly they had finished the 2017 season 9-7 and they just missed the playoffs.

That worn out offense couldn’t effectively run, and my favorite football player on the planet had regressed as a passer. His mechanics had become way off, and he started to do horrendously silly things that you would typically see from an uncertain rookie (running around in circles, turning his back from receivers and pass rushers, throwing off the back of his foot under pressure, hanging onto the ball WAY too long).

In a painful game against the Cowboys, I watched him run around in circles taking a ridiculous thirty yard sack for a loss. I had always been the biggest defender of Russ, but even I couldn’t defend that play. It was utterly un-defendable, and for the first time, I had concerns about what direction he was heading towards as a passer.

Fortunately, the late great Seahawk owner Paul Allen shared my concerns and mandated that head coach Pete Carroll make swift coaching changes. That was a wonderful gift he gave Seattle fans before he sadly passed away, and I am so grateful Pete chose you to fix this offense, and more specifically, to fix Russell Wilson. You have done an awesome job.

I’m sure, in some regards, it hasn’t been an easy process for you. There were sexier names on the offensive coordinator market that Seahawk fans were clamoring for. One of those guys went from the Eagles to the Vikings, and yet found himself fired before the 2018 season even finished, but you kept doing your yeoman work in Seattle, and it helped this club reclaim their spot in the NFL playoffs.

Yet that playoff appearance was short lived, and you took a blasting on sports radio and Seahawks Twitter when you seemingly stubbornly called run plays on third and short when the Dallas D had all but stole away your playbook, and stuffed those plays out. Russell was moving the ball through the air, and yet it seemed you were taking the ball out of his hands and not giving him a chance to win it on the road. This is what sports journalists and Seahawks Twitter were saying.

But I sensed a deeper reality likely at play here.

This is just me, but I think Pete Carroll isn’t the easiest head coach to be an offensive coordinator for. Even during the Super Bowl seasons, he had this odd idea that the offensive coordinator should call pass plays and the offensive line coach should can run plays, and that always just seemed strange to me. Also, while he is fundamentally a defensive minded coach, I think he can’t help but getting involved in the offensive plays during the game, and when the matches appear close, I think he has a tendency to want to dumb down the play calls a bit because he doesn’t want to risk turnovers.

It’s understandable, because defensive minded coaches don’t want take risks on the offense in tight matches, and they tend to believe running the ball is less riskier than passing. That can be a tough pill to swallow as a caller, I am sure.

As a result, this can force you to look like a buffoon of a play caller in the eyes of a national audience. This was the case when you were in New York coordinating for defensive minded coach Rex Ryan. This was also the case when you were with the Rams under defensive minded coach Jeff Fisher, and this was certainly the case last year here under Carroll.

Yet, that was then, and this is now, and it appears to me now that you and Coach Carroll must have sat down over the off season and had a bit of a heart to heart because surprisingly Coach Carroll has allowed you to open up the playbook more for Russell. I’m so glad you and Coach Pete had this heart to heart, and good for Pete to come around on this. Go Hawks.

Through ten games on the year, your offense is top five overall in yards. It is also third overall in scoring, tenth in passing, and sixth in rushing, and it is fourth in DVOA. Simply put, this is the best offense I have seen in a Pete Carroll coached Seahawk team, and it isn’t close. It might be the best offense since the team Mike Holmgren coached to the Super Bowl, and it might be better than even that one.

More importantly, you have completely fixed Russell Wilson. He has never looked this good as a passer. In ten games, his stat line is ridiculous with 2,737 yards, 23 TDs, 2 INTs, a 68.5 completion percentage, and a stellar 114.3 passer rating. He is on pace to pass for about 4,000 yards, 40 TDs, and 3 INTs at this rate. Will, he do it? I don’t know, and I’m not sure I even care because the simple truth is that he finally looks like the complete quarterback he was always capable of being.

You have fixed his passing mechanics. Now when he scrambles, he is concise with his footwork, and he keeps his shoulders square to the field. Since he came into the league, old school fans have always drawn the Fran Tarkenton comparisons. It was easy to do because he is short like Tark, and he is a scrambler, but now when I see him move and manipulate in and out of the pocket, I see vintage Joe Namath, and I will fight anyone on this.

In my mind, Russ is the clear MVP of this season, thus far. This isn’t the homer Twelve in me saying this. This is just what I see, and now many national football minds are seeing it and saying it. This is largely on you for this.

Thank you for this, Brian. You fixed Russell. From the bottom of my Twelve heart, thank you.

One final thing that I want to say in all this is this. Please don’t leave for a head coaching gig after this season. Team owners love to hire the hot flavor of the month in the offensive coordinator realms, and if all these trends continue, I fear your name is going to be top on the list in 2020. Please, just stay in Seattle.

Stay here and keep your chemistry brewing with Russell. Pete Carroll isn’t going to coach here forever. While I hope he sticks it out for another five years or so, he might only keep it going for another three.

Wouldn’t it be cool if your first head coaching gig is eventually in Seattle?

You would have the quarterback in place, a devoted fan base behind you, and your hands wouldn’t be tied by an old school defensive coach. These are all things to consider. I hope you take this all to heart. I don’t want you to leave.


Curtis Eastwood




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