A first-hand scouting report on Seahawks’ new play caller Brian Schottenheimer: “That’s a good fit.”
Of the nine offenses Schottenheimer has coordinated, three have finished in the NFL’s top 10 in rushing for a season. Two have finished in the top five, as Carroll’s Seahawks did from 2012-15 while going to two Super Bowls.
Those two top-five rushing offenses Schottenheimer had were in 2009 and ‘10. His and Clemens’ Jets played in the AFC championship game each of those seasons, behind Thomas Jones’ 1,400 yards rushing in 2009 and Hall-of-Fame back LaDainian Tomlinson’s 914 yards with Shonn Greene’s 766 a year later. Schottenheimer’s offense ran it a whopping 607 times in 2009.
The only other NFL team in the last 31 years to run the ball 600 times in a season is the 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers (618 rushes).
The Seahawks have never in their 42 years of existence rushed 600 times in a season. Not even when “Ground” Chuck Knox was their coach in the 1980s. Seattle ran it 409 times in 2017 — 95 of those carries were by Wilson, for a team-leading 586 yards.
Schottenheimer’s starting quarterback in 2009 and ‘10 with the Jets? Mark Sanchez, with Clemens the backup. Sanchez was Carroll’s QB at USC from 2006-08.
So is he a run-first offensive coordinator?
“He’s a win-first offensive coordinator,” Clemens said. “He’s going to do what’s best for the team.
“Obviously, as a former quarterback, he likes to throw the ball. We had offenses that ran more because that’s the way we were built offensively.”
Clemens noted in 2013 when he and Schottenheimer were with the Rams, they lost former number one-overall pick Sam Bradford to a season-ending injury “and (when) I was in playing, we were run-first, obviously.” Nine of Clemens’ 21 career starts over 11 seasons came in that ‘13 season when Bradford was hurt for St. Louis.
So Carroll’s return to the run this year may come as much or more from new offensive line coach Mike Solari as from Schottenheimer. The play caller is going to do what his new boss tells him to do, of course.
Then-Jets coach Rex Ryan said upon firing Schottenheimer following the 2011 season that the coordinator’s terminology for formations and plays was too complicated for players. Schottenheimer has denied that.
So does the quarterback who’s used Schottenheimer’s terminology more than anyone else in the league.
“It’s one of the more understandable schemes I’ve been on,” said the 34-year-old Clemens, whose Chargers contract has expiretting him up for possible free agency or retirement.
“Brian is one of the better coordinators in just listening. … There have been times in the offense with plays that if the player doesn’t like it for whatever reason, it’s out. And I always appreciated it about him.”