Corbin Smith

Seahawks Not Changing Offensive Philosophy

Created on Aug. 12, 2014 4:35 PM EST

It's easy to understand why fans and media members continue to press the issue with Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll about opening up the offense this season.

First off, quarterback Russell Wilson will be entering his third year and appears ready to make the leap towards elite designation. Secondly, Seattle's workhorse running back Marshawn Lynch is now 28 years old, has ran the ball more than 300 times in each of the past three seasons, and missed the first week of camp due to a contract dispute. And last but not least, the team now has a healthy Percy Harvin coupled with speedy second round pick Paul Richardson to further bolster the receiving core.

While all of the previous statements are true, don't expect to see the Seahawks to give in to fan and media pressure to open up the playbook and pass the football with more frequency in 2014. And Carroll reaffirmed that logic during his post-practice press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

When asked about opening up the offense, Carroll quickly responded, "Why would I want to do that?"

Based on Seattle's success the past few seasons under Carroll utilizing a run-dominated, low-volume offensive attack, why would the team want to move away from what has worked so well? In the past two seasons, the Seahawks ran the football a whopping 1,045 times, more than any other team during that span. In the process, Seattle managed to make the postseason back-to-back seasons with the 27th and 26th ranked passing offenses in terms of total yardage respectively.

Statistics won't lie regarding total passing yards. The Seahawks attempted less passing attempts than anyone in the league the last two seasons, preventing Wilson from putting up big yardage totals. Those numbers can be misleading when evaluating how efficient the team has been passing the football, however.

Carroll doesn't want to throw the ball 30 or more times per game, but when his team does throw it, he wants to generate big plays. With Wilson as the starter, his team has excelled at moving the ball for big yardage in the passing game. In 2012, Seattle ranked fourth in the league with 8.0 yards per pass attempt, and only the Philadelphia Eagles averaged more in that same category last season. Even though his squad will never rank among the league leaders in pass attempts, Carroll's teams will make their pass attempts count.

The Seahawks want to control the football by physically wearing down opponents using the run game and then take advantage by unleashing a dangerous play-action passing game predicated on throwing the football down field. A savvy field general like Wilson fits the offensive scheme perfectly, giving Carroll a strong-armed quarterback who can throw the deep ball and won't turn the football over. With weapons like Harvin and Richardson on the outside, Carroll also has the skill players needed to initiate a big-play passing attack.

Seattle has done a nice job improving the talent and depth at wide receiver, but that doesn't mean that the team will abandon its offensive philosophy. Even as Wilson continues to improve, it's highly unlikely Seattle will ever employ an offense predicated on throwing the ball to win games. Players like Harvin and Richardson will provide extra value running the football and potentially playing on special teams to make up for the lack of targets as receivers. In the backfield, the franchise has prepared adequately for Lynch's eventual departure by drafting and developing both Robert Turbin and Christine Michael, and the team could add another back to the stable with a strong draft class coming next spring.

Keeping that in mind, Carroll will stick with his system and continue to dial up lots of run plays on offense. Seattle has enough talent to win a lot of games airing it out, but the roster hasn't been built to play that style. Switching to a more pass-oriented scheme might "excite" fans more, but it could realistically jeopardize a chance at repeating as Super Bowl champions for Carroll and his players.

Why would he want to do that?

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