New Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates talked to reporters for about a half-hour today about the changes in store for his new team offensively.
And while Bates offered few specifics in terms of scheme or personnel, he did say that the Seahawks new offense will more closely resemble the Denver Broncos, where he spent three years coaching under West Coast disciple Mike Shanahan.
This change should help Matt Hasselbeck in terms of terminology because Bates will use the same language to call formations as Mike Holmgren did during his time in Seattle.
Bates also reiterated what Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll emphasized over the past month – that with the addition of zone blocking guru Alex Gibbs the Seahawks will be a zone running team.
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Bates said the key to being an effective zone running team is fully committing to the offense.
“From Day 1 were going to be practicing outside/inside zone,” Bates said. “And when you believe in something like that and you’re committed to it, you’re going to make it work eventually. Players have to understand this is what we are, and this is who we’re going to be.”
And he believes Julius Jones and Justin Forsett can both be effective in that running scheme.
“I’m excited,” Bates said about the running back situation. “I think both of them can play right away, and they have been for years. But I think they both fit into the zone system.”
As far as left tackle Walter Jones impending retirement, Bates did not directly speak to that. However, he emphasized the importance of having a guy who can play at left tackle.
“We need someone we feel great about in protecting Matt’s blindside,” Bates said. “I think left tackle is an important position, just like a lot of other ones.”
Bates also said there will be some players switching positions on offense, but provided no details.
The son of longtime NFL defensive coach Jim Bates, Jeremy Bates said he first started going to two-a-days at five years old when he dad was at Texas Tech. Bates’ father had one rule: the younger Bates wasn’t allowed to talk, just hand his dad the ball. Bates said growing up he’d always go spend time with his father during training camp.
Bates said the first time he realized he was going to be a coach was when he was a sophomore in high school, when he tore his ACL playing quarterback. He asked the doctor if he was going to grow anymore, and the doctor said no.
“I said 'Ok, there’s not many 5-8 quarterbacks,'” Bates said.
He went on to play football as a triple option quarterback for Rice, where he also played second base for legendary Rice baseball coach Wayne Graham.
Bates suffered a second ACL tear on his other knee during his junior season in football, and after college eventually got his first opportunity to coach in the league under Jon Gruden at Tampa Bay.
“He gave me my start,” Bates said about Gruden. “I can’t say enough. I was 23, 24, 25 or whatever I was. … I forget. I don’t even know how old I am now (laughs).
“He let me get into the door, and once I got my foot in the door, he just taught me how to grind. I was up to really early in the morning and working late at night learning every play known to man of football. It was special. The one thing I take from Jon is passion. You’ve got to have the passion. It’s just too hard of a job if you’re not in love with it. And he loved it. It was a fun three years.”
Bates has taken Gruden’s trademark work ethic to heart, requesting an office with no windows so he can better focus on his craft – coaching football.