NEWARK, N.J. – The Seattle Seahawks will debut their version of fastbreak basketball when they take on the New York Giants this morning at MetLife Stadium.
Given Seattle’s recent success with the no-huddle the previous two weeks, expect more of a commitment to that philosophy against the Giants – at least for the time being – by Seattle coach Pete Carroll and the rest of his offensive staff.
Carroll would rather ground it out with bruising running back Marshawn Lynch, then play off that using Tarvaris Jackson on play-action passes to keep defenses honest. But with the Seahawks currently the second-worst rushing team in the league, averaging 67.5 yards a contest, Carroll will do whatever it takes to get his offense moving.
“When we’re all spread out, clear-and-clean looks helps guys in two-minutes,” Carroll said about the no-huddle offense. “That’s why two-minute drives are always so successful in the league. I’m not going to go any deeper than that because I don’t know that it is any deeper than that. But I don’t really care. I’m just glad that we have something that looks good on offense.”
As Carroll suggests, the reason Seattle is using the no-huddle more is simple – they have been better converting third downs and staying on the field when the offense is sped up. Opponents’ offenses have a 35:27 to 24:32 time of possession advantage per game over Seattle. And the Seahawks have run 39 fewer plays than their opponents this season.
Also, converting third downs are a pressing issue. Seattle is converting 35 percent of third downs, 18th in the league. But in the second half of the past two games against Arizona and Atlanta when the Seahawks have used the no-huddle offense, their third-down conversion rate jumped to 57 percent (8-for-14).
The Seahawks have eight new starters on offense, including two rookies, and have the youngest unit in the league, with an average age of 26.
Jackson said the no-huddle offense serves younger players because they receive the play-call quicker, see more of a vanilla-look from the defense and play faster because guys are thinking less about their assignments.
“We handle the situation a little bit better,” Jackson said. “We get to the line of scrimmage a little bit faster. We’ve got a little more time at the line of scrimmage to kind of get ourselves in the best play, so that might be a part of it right there.”
Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said one of the reasons Jackson has been successful in the no-huddle is because he knows the offense from his time in Minnesota, and gets the rest of the players lined up quickly and in the right play according to what the defense is doing.
“It’s not a frantic thing,” Bevell said. “We’re setting the pace – at which pace we want to go at. There were times that we were in it (the no-huddle), and then we jumped back in the huddle, came out and went for a couple more plays and then came back to the huddle.
“And it did help with converting third downs. We had more manageable ones obviously. And I think that helped as well.”
Carroll said getting more positive yardage on first and second down also helps to create more manageable third-down situations – third-and-2 versus third-and-8 – which helps Seattle’s offense have a better chance of moving the chains, and ultimately putting points on the scoreboard.
“It’s hugely significant and it does all fit together,” Carroll said. “It’s not just third down – it is how you do on the other downs.
“That’s why experienced quarterbacks and guys that have been around and systems that have been together, they really, generally are better. You look at the best quarterbacks in the league, their third-down numbers are usually the best – that and red zone. That’s where the game is the toughest, so we’ve got to improve in that area and get it going.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks/