Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell worked hand-in-hand to orchestrate the Seahawks' offensive scheme from 2011 through last year. They hit their apex in 2014 and ‘15, finishing in the top 10 in total yards and points scored in each of those seasons. Over the previous two years, though, their offensive numbers waned, and the 2018 offseason saw Brian Schottenheimer replace Bevell as Seattle's offensive coordinator. After ranking in the top 10 in rushing rate from 2011 through ‘15, the Seahawks ranked outside the top half of the league in rush rate in both of the last two seasons. Their hope is that the addition of Schottenheimer will help the offense re-focus on the run game. The following will examine how Schottenheimer’s history as a playcaller fits Seattle’s goals.

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A Snapshot of Brian Schottenheimer’s History 

Dating back to 2006, Schottenheimer has been an offensive coordinator and primary playcaller for nine seasons in the NFL, serving under a head coach with a defensive background in each of those seasons (Eric Mangini, Rex Ryan, Jeff Fisher). His teams have ranked in the top 10 in scoring just once and he’s never led an offense that ranked in the top 10 in total yards. 

First and foremost, it’s important to examine how a playcaller manages their offense in specific game scripts since player talent usually dictates who touches the ball the most.

Year

Team

Overall

Rank

Wins

Rank

Losses

Rank

2006

Jets

49.8%

25

51.3%

7

52.0%

32

2007

Jets

53.7%

22

42.5%

30

60.8%

22

2008

Jets

55.9%

11

50.6%

13

65.6%

7

2009

Jets

39.5%

32

35.5%

31

48.6%

32

2010

Jets

50.0%

29

48.4%

20

56.6%

32

2011

Jets

55.7%

17

51.3%

16

62.3%

16

2012

Rams

57.6%

14

52.3%

16

65.7%

13

2013

Rams

54.3%

23

43.6%

30

64.6%

16

2014

Rams

56.9%

20

47.9%

26

64.4%

19

Year

Team

Neutral*

Rank

Negative*

Rank

Positive*

Rank

2006

Jets

52.9%

14

51.0%

32

40.5%

13

2007

Jets

51.1%

24

68.0%

22

31.0%

27

2008

Jets

55.7%

13

81.2%

2

41.0%

15

2009

Jets

42.2%

32

49.6%

32

27.5%

28

2010

Jets

53.3%

23

54.7%

31

25.6%

31

2011

Jets

56.3%

10

65.6%

24

33.8%

23

2012

Rams

55.9%

18

72.3%

11

23.7%

30

2013

Rams

49.6%

28

70.5%

14

35.1%

27

2014

Rams

52.9%

23

73.6%

10

39.7%

22

*Neutral game script is when the score is within seven points. Negative game script is down by eight or more points. Positive game script is up by eight or more points.

The most obvious trend in Schottenheimer's history is his affinity for the run. His offenses have never ranked in the top 10 in passing rate and have finished in the top half of the league just twice. This trend toward the run has almost nothing to do with game script. Schottenheimer has coached just two teams that reached double-digit wins, and his offenses have consistently ranked outside the top 20 in passing rate in every game-script situation.

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Schottenheimer’s Quarterbacks

Year

Player

GS

Cmp

Att

Yds

TD

INT

2006

Chad Pennington

16

19.6

30.3

209.9

1.1

1.0

2007

Chad Pennington

8

22.4

32.4

220.8

1.3

1.1

2008

Brett Favre

16

21.4

32.6

216.3

1.4

1.4

2009

Mark Sanchez

15

13.1

24.2

162.9

0.8

1.3

2010

Mark Sanchez

16

17.4

31.7

205.7

1.1

0.8

2011

Mark Sanchez

16

19.2

33.8

217.1

1.6

1.1

2012

Sam Bradford

16

20.5

34.4

231.1

1.3

0.8

2013

Sam Bradford

7

22.7

37.3

241.0

2.0

0.6

2014

Austin Davis

8

22.6

35.6

249.8

1.5

1.1

An audit of Schottenheimer’s quarterback history lends some insight into his playcalling habits. He’s had a quarterback finish the season ranked in the top 15 in adjusted yards per attempt just once—Chad Pennington ranked 14th in 2006. Inefficient quarterback play combined with ultra-conservative head coaches such as Rex Ryan and Jeff Fisher may have nudged Schottenheimer toward the run even more than he would have preferred himself.

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Schottenheimer’s Running Backs 

Year

Player

G

Att

Yds

TD

Tgt

Rec

Yds

TD

PPR

Touch%

2006

Leon Washington

16

9.4

40.6

0.3

1.9

1.6

16.9

0.0

8.8

36.5%

2007

Thomas Jones

16

19.4

69.9

0.1

2.1

1.8

13.6

0.1

10.9

76.0%

2008

Thomas Jones

16

18.1

82.0

0.8

2.6

2.3

12.9

0.1

17.4

70.1%

2009

Thomas Jones

16

20.7

87.4

0.8

1.1

0.6

3.6

0.0

14.6

59.9%

2010

LaDainian Tomlinson

15

14.5

60.8

0.4

5.3

3.5

24.5

0.0

14.4

50.9%

2011

Shonn Greene

16

15.6

65.6

0.4

2.6

1.9

13.2

0.0

12.0

58.2%

2012

Steven Jackson

16

16.1

65.1

0.3

3.3

2.4

20.1

0.0

12.4

68.6%

2013

Zac Stacy

14

17.9

69.5

0.5

2.5

1.9

10.1

0.1

13.2

64.2%

2014

Tre Mason

12

14.9

63.8

0.3

2.2

1.3

12.3

0.1

11.4

47.6%

Year

Team

Att

Yds

TD

Tgt

Rec

Yds

TD

PPR

Team Touch%

2006

Jets

26.7

90.6

0.9

4.8

3.4

26.4

0.0

20.8

58.3%

2007

Jets

23.8

92.0

0.3

5.4

4.0

26.9

0.1

17.9

59.3%

2008

Jets

23.8

114.6

1.2

6.9

5.3

35.2

0.3

28.9

57.2%

2009

Jets

33.3

148.9

0.9

4.2

2.3

17.9

0.0

24.6

60.0%

2010

Jets

28.3

118.6

0.5

7.3

4.9

34.3

0.0

23.2

59.3%

2011

Jets

24.6

95.5

0.5

7.8

5.5

50.9

0.1

23.9

61.0%

2012

Rams

22.8

98.2

0.3

6.0

4.1

31.3

0.0

18.5

70.4%

2013

Rams

23.3

91.9

0.5

4.9

3.6

24.9

0.1

18.6

65.3%

2014

Rams

20.5

83.4

0.5

6.7

5.1

41.9

0.1

21.4

64.9%

With so much emphasis on the run, it would be a fair assumption that Schottenheimer has coached some great fantasy backs, but he’s had a running back finish in the top 12 in PPR scoring just twice, and his backfields as a whole have finished in the top 12 only three times. A big contributing factor to this is the lack of scoring from teams he has coached, as mentioned in his coaching history, but he’s also run some of the slowest-paced offenses in the league.

Year

Team

Seconds Per Play, Overall

Rank

Seconds Per Play, Situation Neutral

Rank

2006

Jets

28.62

21

30.9

19

2007

Jets

26.66

4

31.89

26

2008

Jets

29.61

30

31.3

20

2009

Jets

28.87

25

30.23

10

2010

Jets

27.78

13

30.09

10

2011

Jets

28.1

20

31.57

26

2012

Rams

27.64

17

31.79

26

2013

Rams

28.09

21

32.31

31

2014

Rams

28.48

26

33.13

32

Pace stats courtesy of FootballOutsiders.com.

Schottenheimer’s run-heavy tendencies combined with a slow pace of play has only added to the limited upside his running backs have had in low-scoring offenses.

doug-baldwin-brian-schottenheimer-seattle-seahawks-fantasy-preview-2018.jpg

Schottenheimer’s Pass-Catchers

Year

Player

G

Tgt

Rec

Yds

TD

PPR

Tgt%

2006

Laveranues Coles

16

9.4

5.7

68.7

0.4

14.9

31.5%

2007

Jerricho Cotchery

15

8.5

5.5

75.3

0.1

14.0

25.2%

2008

Laveranues Coles

16

7.3

4.4

52.4

044

12.3

22.1%

2009

Jerricho Cotchery

14

6.9

4.1

58.6

0.2

11.7

24.9%

2010

Braylon Edwards

16

6.4

3.3

56.5

0.4

11.6

19.7%

2011

Dustin Keller

16

7.2

4.1

50.9

0.3

11.0

21.4%

2012

Danny Amendola

11

9.1

5.6

60.4

0.2

12.8

18.5%

2013

Jared Cook

16

5.3

3.2

41.9

0.3

9.3

17.0%

2014

Jared Cook

16

6.1

3.3

39.6

0.2

8.3

19.2%

Year

Player

G

Tgt

Rec

Yds

TD

PPR

Tgt%

2006

Jerricho Cotchery

16

7.8

5.1

60.1

0.4

13.5

26.0%

2007

Laveranues Coles

12

7.4

4.6

53.8

0.5

13.0

17.7%

2008

Jerricho Cotchery

16

6.9

4.4

53.3

0.3

11.7

21.2%

2009

Dustin Keller

16

5.1

2.8

32.6

0.1

6.9

21.3%

2010

Dustin Keller

16

6.3

3.4

42.9

0.3

9.6

19.5%

2011

Santonio Holmes

16

6.3

3.1

40.9

0.5

10.4

18.6%

2012

Brandon Gibson

16

5.1

3.2

43.2

0.3

9.4

15.1%

2013

Chris Givens

16

5.1

2.1

35.6

0.0

5.7

16.4%

2014

Kenny Britt

16

5.2

3.0

46.8

0.2

8.9

16.4%

While Schottenheimer has had a pass-catcher exceed 200 PPR points (approximate WR24 numbers) just three times, he has shown some discernible patterns in target share. His passing games have been fairly concentrated, giving two players roughly 18% of team targets six times. Just 10 teams saw two players exceed an 18% target share in 2017. 

Schottenheimer also hasn’t shied away from using his tight ends. A tight end has led a Schottenheimer offense in target share three times and finished as a top-two target in two other seasons. Last year, only three tight ends led their teams in target share.

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What it All Means for the Seahawks in 2018

There are few coaches in the league who have been as committed to the run as Schottenheimer, but Carroll insists that the change at OC was with an eye on challenging Russell Wilson. How that will manifest on the field is yet to be determined, but Schottenheimer’s presence—at least as a primary playcaller—hasn’t resulted in efficient quarterback play. What we do know is that Seattle spent first-round capital on Rashaad Penny and let their No. 2 and No. 3 pass-catchers from 2017 walk without adding any formidable replacements.

Quarterback

Russell Wilson is by far the best quarterback Schottenheimer will have had the chance to coach (in 2008, Brett Favre was using New York as a pit stop to Minnesota), but also the most unique. While Wilson has averaged 96 runs per season over the course of his career, Schottenheimer has never had a quarterback rush more than 38 times. Combine Schottenheimer’s run-heavy past with a lack of reliable targets and an unimproved offensive line, and Wilson could conceivably throw fewer than 500 times for the first time since 2015. His efficiency and scrambling ability still keep Wilson in the top tier of fantasy quarterbacks, but he’s a player I’m waiting to fall before I draft rather than one I’m aggressively targeting.

Running Backs

Immediately after the NFL Draft, Carroll hinted at his intentions for Penny, saying he “will be a nice fit and he’s really excited about being a three-down guy.” This lines up with Schottenheimer’s past, as he’s coached five running backs to a backfield touch share of 60% or more, and seven backs with at least 270 touches.

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Receivers

As noted earlier, Schottenheimer has generally run a concentrated passing attack and targets should be filtered toward Doug Baldwin this season. No other player on the roster saw more than 13% of Seattle’s targets last season, so it’s a near certainty Baldwin will set a career-high in target share With Schottenheimer’s scheme, howeer, that target share may not necessarily equate to a career-high in targets. 

With Brandon Marshall already being discussed as a cut candidate, Tyler Lockett is the favorite to be the second target in Seattle. If he can approach the 18% target share that many of Schottenheimer’s No. 2 receivers have seen in the past, Lockett could approach top-35 wide receiver target numbers at a price outside the top 50 at his position