Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has yet to publicly pronounce his plans for an offensive identity this season, but with offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates running the show, expect it to be both exciting and productive.
Bates is familiar with the West Coast offense the Seahawks have been running for years, but expect him try his own variation on the construct. The Seattle Seahawks' new offensive coordinator says the 2010 Seahawks will most closely resemble Mike Shanahan's Denver Broncos.
This is not a surprise, since Bates was Shanahan's offensive coordinator in 2008.
That year, the Broncos racked up 6,333 yards and ranked second in the league. The Broncos ran a West Coast hybrid that season—which seems to play perfectly into the strengths of the players the Seahawks have assembled here.
They will change from the version Mike Holmgren's Seahawks ran from 1999 to 2008 and feature the running game instead, along with more two-tight end sets.
The Seahawks have a stable of able runners and two capable tight ends, with a promising freak of a rookie.
Bates' West Coast will rely on short precision passes to stretch the field horizontally and open up the running lanes. Once the safeties have stopped cheating up on the line of scrimmage, then Bates will unleash the running attack.
The West Coast also stretches the field by using four and five receivers, which literally stretches the defense and gives the running back fewer defenders to deal with once he has the ball.
Washington and Forsett should be able to pick up nice chunks of yardage in an offense calibrated this way.
The Seahawks have assembled an incredible amount of offensive talent in a very short period of time. From rookie wide receiver Golden Tate to all-around talent Leon Washington, the 'Hawks are poised to explode on the rest of the NFC West.
At quarterback is "Ol' Reliable," Matt Hasselbeck (he of the creaky back), who is an accomplished maestro of the West Coast offense. The Seahawks brought in Charlie Whitehurst from the San Diego Chargers, at considerable cost, to presumably guard against Hasselbeck's balky back.
Hasselbeck should have no problem picking up the new offense. As for Whitehurst, he played for Norv Turner in San Diego, in a different system, that saw quarterbacks looking for intermediate routes instead of the West Coast's short precision routes, much more often.
Whitehurst is only working on a two-year deal, so we may see him sooner than later.
The offensive line received a huge boost when tackle Russell Okung fell down the draft board to them at pick No. 6. Look for him to replace the venerable Walter Jones, who has announce his retirement.
Look for Ben Hamilton, Chris Spencer, Max Unger, and Sean Locklear to round out the starting five.
Now for the fun part—who will man the skill positions?
At running back the team has Leon Washington, LenDale White, Julius Jones, Justin Forsett, Quinton Ganther, and Louis Rankin.
Many pundits are all ready comparing Washington and White to Bush and White from Carroll's USC days, and I am all for using them together.
I think Leon Washington, provided he is recovered from his leg injury, is one of the most exciting, dazzling players in the NFL, while White, when properly motivated, can be a Pete Johnson type of back from the old Cincinnati Bengals.
Meanwhile, Forsett has a lot of talent and has shown the ability to be a quality NFL back when given the opportunity. Jones is at best a third or fourth back on a deep squad such as this.
The tight ends will be led by one of the best in the business, John Carlson, who had 51 catches for 574 yards and seven touchdowns last year.
His backup is the competent Chris Baker, who had some nice years with the New York Jets. Look for rookie superfreak Jameson Konz to maybe get some reps at tight end as well.
The wide receiver corp is incredibly deep heading into training camp.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Deon Butler, and rookie Golden Tate are locks to make the final roster. Butler and Tate are the playmakers while Housh is the consistent No. 1 guy.
Behind those those three are veteran Reggie Williams, former washout Mike Williams, veteran Deion Branch, veteran Sean Morey, and intriguing rookie Jameson Konz.
Mike Williams is a former USC star who has been out of football since 2007.
Reggie Williams had 189 catches over a five-year career with Jacksonville.
Konz is unbelievably athletic and can play H-back, fullback, tight end, and wide receiver. Since Bates' version of the West Coast is so dependent on tight ends, expect Konz to receive an extended look there.
The Seahawks also have Michael Jones, Mike Haas, Quintin Hancock, Ben Obomanu, and Ruvell Martin coming to camp as wide receivers.
The Seahawks offense is loaded for bear. They have better than competent running backs, tight ends, and quarterbacks. The wide receivers may just shake themselves out, and the offensive line looks to be steady.
Placing more emphasis on the running game with Washington and Forsett is an excellent idea, and if Carroll can coach White back into the force he was when he entered the league, I might just trade in my 44312 zip code for one in Seattle!
Running two-tight end sets with Carlson and Baker should be successful, and if Konz can make the transition from athlete into football player, Bates would really have something to work with.
Houshmandzadeh is a solid, quality NFL wide receiver, and Butler has playmaking potential. Tate will surprise a lot of people with his open-field ability. Hasselbeck is a quality quarterback when he isn't injured, and the best I can say about Whitehurst is he looks good warming up.
There is a whole lot to be excited about if you are a Seattle Seahawks fan this season.
If Bates can teach the players his version of the West Coast in time for them to implement it successfully, then the Seahawks could contend for a playoff berth this year.