The Seattle Seahawks have finally turned the page to a new offensive approach with the hiring of coordinator Shane Waldron, but on its surface, his vision might not be entirely invigorating.
Waldron spoke Tuesday of his idea for the Seahawks' offense, speaking vaguely -- something that's not uncommon at this stage of a new hire -- of a unit he sees as one that's capable of doing many different things.
"We're going to be a balanced offense that's going to have that ability to create explosive plays with that attacking mindset," Waldron said Tuesday, via KJR's Curtis Crabtree. "We want to be the one that puts the foot on the gas pedal."
In an era in which the pass dominates the game and the Kansas City Chiefs serve as the model for a winning franchise, teams understandably want to be explosive. Front offices place a ton of value on players who can make the big, game-changing play. But the path there isn't as clear as it may seem.
Balance hasn't really been an issue for the Seahawks, whose run-pass tendencies were largely similar to that of the Chiefs, save for a 6 percent difference on second down in 2020. What's really the issue, according to Pete Carroll, is Seattle's lack of effectiveness on the ground.
Carroll told reporters last month the Seahawks need to enter 2021 with a greater focus on the ground game, which flies in the face of "explosive" unless a team has a premier back capable of ripping off big runs.
"We have to run the ball better, not even better, we have to run it more," Carroll said upon Seattle's postseason exit. "We have to dictate what's going on with the people that we're playing, and that's one of the ways to do that."
Balance, then, might mean more of the same, but better for the Seahawks. They were undoubtedly hampered by an early season injury to lead back Chris Carson, and they've struggled to remain healthy and/or establish a clear leader at the position since Marshawn Lynch initially retired following the 2015 season.
It will be up to Waldron to solve the puzzle ahead of him in Seattle, which boasts a premier quarterback in Russell Wilson and an excellent receiving tandem in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. All that's left to figure out, it would seem, is how to run the ball effectively.
That doesn't mean the Seahawks are going to channel their inner Woody Hayes, shift to three yards and a cloud of dust (rubber infill pellets) and neglect the passing game.
"Just saying that it's a balanced attack, doesn't mean that that's a conservative attack, so I don't ever want to get that confused," Waldron explained.
It seems there's no clear answer to the question, but the Seahawks' regression in 2020 affected all areas. Wilson's astronomical start slowed significantly, his offensive line rarely protected him well enough to move the ball, and again, the Seahawks didn't run it effectively enough to provide that key word: balance.
Carroll mentioned how they want to run opposing defenses into surrendering to their will; essentially, he wants to gain enough on the ground to then force defenses to stack the box, giving Wilson more open field to target and thus, unlock the Seahawks' offense.
Devising a strategy to achieve this falls on the shoulders of Waldron, the latest hire from the Sean McVay tree. He has seven months to figure how how he'll approach it in his first season in Seattle.