Seahawks fans got their first introduction to new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron earlier today. Over the course of a 35-minute virtual press conference with Seattle media, the former Rams passing game coordinator covered a breadth of topics such as football philosophy, his upbringing, and expectations for the team's offensive unit in 2021.
Analyzing some of Waldron's answers in the press conference, there were three themes that really stood out: Competition, compromise, and continuity.
Departing a team for their division rival is never a smooth transition from a competitive standpoint. There are common implications such a move - like the one Waldron is making in leaving the Rams for Seattle - can have. But while he's certainly aware of how fans of the Rams and some of his former colleagues in Los Angeles may feel about where he ended up, the opportunity to continue climbing the NFL coaching ladder with the Seahawks is all that matters for him.
"I get it, there's a competitive nature to all of a sudden just switch sidelines with this thing," Waldron said with a smirk in his opening statement. "... I am so appreciative [to the Rams organization], but also ready to compete and ready to get after this 2021 season with the Seahawks."
Waldron's stated desire for competition goes beyond the accomplishment of his new role. Throughout the press conference, when talking about the philosophical expectations he has for the Seahawks' offense next season, he makes it incredibly clear why head coach Pete Carroll signed off on his hiring.
Citing an "attacking mindset," Waldron doesn't want the mutual love for competition he and Carroll share to be lost in the play of their offense. For a unit that uncharacteristically failed to finish games off at times in 2020, the Seahawks' new play-caller alluded to an emphasis being placed upon having an unwavering aggressive mentality each offensive possession. But how will the Seahawks get there?
Waldron believes it's up to the players: "I'll have this system of beliefs that we're gonna walk in the door with, we're gonna build it around that, and then the players are gonna make that system come to life."
There is a great understanding of the give-and-take nature between a coach, their players, and their peers that can be found in many of the statements Waldron makes during the press conference. From the blending of desires between Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson to the differences of his personal philosophy compared to the Seahawks' in years past, Waldron is conscious that compromise is the key to a fully functional and healthy offense.
Although a more balanced approach is at the forefront of his mind, he doesn't want that to be confused for conservatism. In a way, it's a means for him to qualify the maintenance of the flow of a game and the willingness to adapt when needed.
He also seems to be aware that, while the Seahawks will adapt to the fresh ideas and unique schematic ideologies he brings, he too will have to accommodate for Carroll's core philosophies that have been instilled in many of Seattle's offensive players for years.
But getting used to his new home will be a hurdle to overcome in and of itself. Fortunately, Carroll's gone to great lengths to help his new coordinator feel more comfortable, such as plucking Waldron's coaching mate and longtime friend Andy Dickerson from the Rams to be the team's run game coordinator.
Reflecting on his conversations with Carroll, Waldron says the 13-year Seahawks coach asked if there was anyone he would want to bring to help with the transition.
"My first thought was Andy."
That level of continuity - whether it's between Waldron and Dickerson or in regards to inserting themselves in the culture already established in Seattle - is going to be crucial for the Seahawks to have in 2021. Championship windows in the NFL are so volatile, and while growing pains are almost a certainty under a retooled coaching staff, the Seahawks need to get on the same page as soon as possible to compete for a title while they can.
Though Waldron's comments were more or less par for the course for a new coach's introductory press conference, he did seem to at least confirm that all parties involved recognize the gravity of this hire and what's at stake in 2021. All that's left are the results.