Seattle Seahawks may elevate their offense by nabbing former Rams coordinator

Seattle Seahawks
Ross D. Franklin

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) makes a catch as San Francisco 49ers cornerback Dontae Johnson defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. With the catch, Metcalf passed former Seahawk Steve Largent's single-season franchise record of 1,287 receiving yards set in 1985. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

SEATTLE, Wash. — In a division as competitive and cutthroat as the NFC West, any bit of competitive edge may help propel a team to the top. Though the Seattle Seahawks won it with a 12-4 record this season, this division will only get stronger next year.

Devastated by injuries in the 2020-21 NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers will return with a healthier, retooled lineup ripe for revenge. The up-and-coming Arizona Cardinals have the infrastructure of a fiery team in the making and the Los Angeles Rams bested Seattle during Wild Card Weekend to advance in the NFL postseason.

However, the Seahawks might have a trick up their sleeve.

RELATED: Seahawks agree to contract extension with GM John Schneider

By hiring Shane Waldron as their next offensive coordinator, the Seahawks set off a bit of a chain reaction. Not only are they gaining an innovative play-caller with institutional knowledge of Rams head coach Sean McVay’s system, but they’re nabbing him from their direct competition.

In the process, the Seahawks are committing to a modernized offense that their personnel so direly longs for. In a recent podcast interview with former-NFL wideout Brandon Marshall, Seattle Seahawks star WR D.K. Metcalf admitted the predictability of the Seahawks’ offense.”

“Teams just started to figure us out,” Metcalf said.”We’ve been running deep pass ever since Pete [Carroll] got there. Play-action. Run the ball, run the ball, run the ball, go deep. Teams just said, ‘We’re just not gonna let you all go deep.'”

Waldron comes from an offensive system that utilizes plenty of space on the field to generate yardage. Though it’s unclear who has the final call when it comes to playcalling, Waldron will craft a more dynamic offense to match the Seahawks’ personnel.

Finding creative ways to get the ball in the hands of their playmakers, namely Metcalf and longtime Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett, is essential to the Seahawks’ long-term success. The Los Angeles Rams led the NFL in play-action pass attempts with 194 in the 2020-21 regular season. This Seattle Seahawks offense had just 144 play-action pass attempts — About 25% fewer than the Rams.

Utilizing the play-action to keep defenders on their toes is a strong tactic, but it becomes predictable if it isn’t used correctly. With an offensive playmaker like quarterback Russell Wilson at the helm, the Seattle Seahawks’ offense is only just scratching the surface of its potential.

RELATED: The Seattle Seahawks need to adopt Russell Wilson’s Super Bowl-or-Bust mentality

Waldron should also get better use out of the Seahawks’ alternative pass-catching options. Once a tight ends coach under Bill Belichick in New England, Waldron should help facilitate passing yards with misdirections and by spreading more targets around.

One player to keep an eye on is tight end Will Dissly, who broke out in the 2019 season before suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury. Dissly played a full 16 games this past year, shared targets and snaps with the now-retired Greg Olsen and veteran TE Jacob Hollister. The former University of Washington tight end may have a chance to hit his stride playing under Waldron.

Seattle’s three tight ends caught 73 passes last season. The top two tight ends in Los Angeles, Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett, combined for 85 catches this past season.

Simply bringing a fresh perspective to the coaching core is a success for the Seahawks. Though Metcalf is prolific at making plays in the open field, sometimes football teams need to design new ways to put the ball in the hands of their best players. Lockett and Metcalf bring unique skills to the table that can be amplified by a more dynamic playbook.

With a defense that displayed steady improvement throughout the season and an offense ripe to explode, the Seattle Seahawks should find themselves competing for a top seed in the NFL postseason picture once again next season.

RELATED: Seahawks cut ties with Chad Wheeler after arrest

RELATED: Remembering Kobe and Gianna Bryant a year later