Two of Tom Cable’s first words after getting fired by the Seahawks were two of his favorites.
The Seahawks released a statement from Cable on Thursday. It was one day after what wasn’t really cool but just plain cold for the 1982 graduate of Snohomish High School: the Seahawks firing its offensive line coach, assistant head coach and running-game coordinator since 2011.
The last two seasons have been a referendum on the vast authority and decision-making responsibility coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider gave the 53-year-old Cable on scouting, evaluating, drafting, signing and developing offensive linemen. That’s from Cable being on college campuses working out Germain Ifedi, Ethan Pocic, Terry Poole, Mark Glowinski among the league-leading 16 offensive linemen the Seahawks have drafted since 2011. That was the year Cable joined Seattle’s staff after the Oakland Raiders fired him as their head coach.
That referendum failed.
Five of those 16 linemen--nearly one-third--Seattle has drafted with Cable’s input since 2011 never started a game for the Seahawks (Poole, Garrett Scott, Kristjan Sokoli, Justin Senior, Ryan Seymour). Three others started fewer than nine games: Michael Bowie, Rees Odhiambo and Joey Hunt (Odhiambo and Hunt, 2016 draft choices, are still on the team).
Cable was also Seattle’s run-game coordinator. He mentored and meshed running backs with those blockers in a unique arrangement: other NFL offensive coordinators don’t have to share responsibilities in the running game with another assistant. The Seahawks have gone from the NFL’s top five rushing offense in 2012, ‘13, ‘14 and ‘15--when Marshawn Lynch was romping in Cable’s zone-running schemes and Seattle played in two Super Bowls--to 25th and 23rd the last two seasons. That’s been with injured and relatively anonymous successors to Lynch. Take away quarterback and team-rushing leader Russell Wilson’s scramble yards he got in 2017 avoiding sacks on plays that weren’t supposed to be runs and the Seahawks would have been 32nd, dead last, in rushing offense.
The hiring of Cable’s replacement will signal whether Carroll still believes in the zone-read run game, or whether the Seahawks will change to a line coach that teaches more straight-ahead, man-on-man blocking for a rushing offense.
Wednesday’s firings of Cable--and the double move of also firing offensive coordinator and play caller Darrell Bevell--signaled how far away Carroll believes Seattle’s offense had gotten from where he wants it to be.