The Seattle Seahawks won the Super bowl last year on the strength of their defense. On offense they played a conservative style, choosing to run the ball and control the clock moreso than running up the score. This is by design. With an elite running back like Marshawn Lynch and a thin receiver corps it was the best strategy for Seattle on offense.
That strategy could soon see a radical turnover, depending on how the class of 2014 works out. Last month I wrote that there were several reasons to be optimistic about the offense, including a healthy Percy Harvin, an improved Russell Wilson and an upgraded offensive line.
The draft class of 2014 just fuels my theory even further. Seattle went strong after wide receivers and added several powerful potential new weapons.
Paul Richardson was the Seahawks’ first pick in the draft and he has drawn a lot of comparisons to Harvin. At the combine he ran a 4.4 40 yard dash and at Colorado earned a reputation as a perpetual home run threat. He also has a 38 inch vertical leap and a stellar broad jump. Richardson will need to bulk up before he’s ready to face NFL secondaries, but he may be the long-term successor to Mr. Harvin.
Kevin Norwood is much more NFL ready and likely has the best chance to crack the starting lineup in 2014. At 6’2″ and 198 pounds he has a mix that’s missing for many of Seattle’s wide receivers, who seem to either have power (Kearse) or speed (Harvin). He has an insane amount of athletic ability and specializes in making difficult catches.
In free agency the Seahawks also picked up Chase Dixon out of Central Arkansas, who can line up at either tight end or wide receiver. Right now Seattle uses their tight ends as blockers and they’ve been looking for a threat more like Jason Witten who can add another element to the passing attack. Dixon tallied ten touchdowns in his last two years of college on 33 receptions, making him a reliable red zone threat.
The knock on Seattle’s offense the last few seasons is that they can’t play from behind. These new additions might be tipping the organization’s hand as to its offense of the future. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell drew a lot of fair criticism for playing too safe. I think that we’ll see at least one more year of a rush-heavy attack before a sea-change occurs in the Seahawks’ offensive philosophy. By 2015 Richardson and Norwood might take the two and three spots behind Harvin at WR. Beast Mode will be seeing less and less touches as time goes on as well, so I think that soon we’ll see a more aerial-centric game.
I’m a fan of the traditional running game myself, but you have to tailor your game plan to the guys on your roster. It will be interesting to see how Pete Carroll’s vision will change with his personnel.
One of the trends we’re seeing this offseason is teams copying Seattle’s secondary by signing and drafting big, physical safeties and corners. I don’t think you can beat a secondary like the legion of boom using receivers and tight ends that rely on power and size: you have to beat them with speed. For an example, look at what T.Y. Hilton did to the Seahawks in 2013. He embarrassed our defense with five catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
This is the mold of player that teams need to beat a strong secondary and I believe PC/JS are preparing for an NFL stacked with diet LOBs. Fire up the air sirens – the Seahawks bombers are coming to an arena near you.