Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin will play in an entirely new offense this year under offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
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  • Using Brian Schottenheimer's history as an offensive coordinator in the NFL, can we determine what the Seattle offense will look like this year?
By TJ Hernandez
July 24, 2018

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.

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.

Brian Schottenheimer Pass Rates in Wins vs. Losses
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

 

Brian Schottenheimer Situational Pass Rates
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

Brian Schottenheimer QB Per-Game Averages
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 

Brian Schottenheimer Primary RB Per-Game Averages
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%

 

Brian Schottenheimer Team RB Per-Game Averages
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.

Brian Schottenheimer Pace Stats
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.

Otto Greule Jr. / Getty Images

Schottenheimer’s Pass-Catchers

Brian Schottenheimer Primary Receiver Per-Game Averages
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%

 

Brian Schottenheimer Secondary Receiver Per-Game Averages
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

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