Why is Seattle’s Offense Struggling?

We’re not sure what the Seahawks’ locker room is like. We’ve never been in there. We don’t hang out with the players. We’re not in their meetings. So we have no idea whether or not Russell Wilson is a good leader. Here’s the dirty little secret; no one outside of that locker room knows either. The only thing we can tell you is what the All-22 tape tells us. And right now, the tape is telling us loud and clear why Seattle’s offense is struggling.

The first thing that stands out is that the Seahawks are trying to spread it out and put the ball in the hands of Russell Wilson as much as possible. Wilson is a talented player, but this offense should be based around pounding the ball with Marshawn Lynch. Marshawn is a physical runner with deceptive quickness. Aside from his ability to eat up yards, Lynch wears on defenses and helps set up play-action. When he is heavily involved in the game, he forces the defense to honor the run, which helps make Wilson twice as dangerous through the air and on the ground.

Russell Wilson is not a precision quarterback. As talented as he is, he misses lots of passes from the pocket because he doesn’t always see them. Wilson doesn’t always work through his reads from the pocket. He often flees before he has to, and this leads to potential big plays in the passing game being left on the field. Furthermore, his footwork in the pocket is erratic. It isn’t terrible, but it’s bad enough that it prevents him from fitting throws into tight windows from the pocket on a regular basis. He certainly missed a few passes against the Panthers that could have broken the game wide open on Sunday.

Quarterbacks need to be able to make tough throws into tight windows in the NFL. They need to be able to succeed from the pocket on a regular basis. Russell Wilson has not shown the ability to do this consistently. As a result, the offense has been hit or miss when the game plan has been centered around him. This is one big reason why the offense should operate through its most consistent element – the running game.

To Wilson’s defense, Seattle’s passing attack doesn’t really challenge defenses vertically. It’s based more on spread concepts and deception via play-action and misdirection. It actually challenges defenses more horizontally. Because there is no deep threat, and because Seattle doesn’t consistently attack the intermediate levels in the passing game, defenses don’t have as much ground to cover. Additionally, Seattle’s route concepts are limited and predictable. All of this adds up to a unit that explodes for points one week and then can’t get a thing going the next.

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