At one point in the 2009 season, Jim Mora said his linemen needed to become “dirt bags.” A little over a year later, Pete Carroll apparently agrees.
Carroll wouldn’t say exactly why he fired Jeremy Bates, who certainly struggled this season, but he seemed to indicate that the 35-year-old assistant did not work on the running game as much as the coach would have liked.
To fix that, he brought in former Raiders coach Tom Cable, who is as “dirt bag” as they come (just ask the women who accused him of domestic assault or the Raiders staffer who said Cable broke his jaw).
The Seahawks threw the ball 59 percent of the time this season. Their 385 rushing attempts were the fourth fewest in the league, and their 89 rushing yards per game were the second fewest.
Carroll referenced “the balance we want to create, the attitude about the running game, the toughness that it brings to our whole football team.”
He said Cable should restore the commitment to the running game that was lost when line coach Alex Gibbs retired just before the season.
“That attitude that we want to project is really going to be enhanced by Tom coming in here,” Carroll said.
Cable’s Raiders averaged 156 yards rushing per game this season, ranking second in the league with a line full of misfits. Carroll obviously thinks Cable can work that kind of magic in Seattle.
Will the Seattle offense fare better under Tom Cable & Darrell Bevell than it did under Jeremy Bates?
Cable and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell are certainly an interesting combination, but they might be just what the Seahawks need (if Carroll can keep Cable from beating up Bevell).
While Bevell is Seattle’s fourth coordinator in four years, his arrival is good news for Matt Hasselbeck, who will go back to running the offense he ran under Holmgren for his first eight years in Seattle. (Bevell’s arrival is just another sign that Hasselbeck will be back, which we have long considered a fait accompli.)
Bevell runs the same West Coast scheme that Mike Holmgren ran, which means more quick-hitting vertical routes.
It’s a more consistent way to move the ball than Bates’ slow-developing horizontal/sideline passing game was, and it makes better use of Seattle’s strongest position, tight end.
Bevell turned Visanthe Shiancoe into a top tight end over the past three years, including a 56-catch, 11-touchdown season in 2009. John Carlson should return to being a big part of the offense next season. (Of course, we said that before this season, too.)
CABLE’S BLANK CANVAS
Cable, who also carries the title of assistant head coach, should have free rein to shape the personnel along the line.
The Seahawks are completely unsettled at four of the five spots, with only left tackle Russell Okung a sure thing for next season.
Cable’s arrival should spell the end for Chris Spencer and Sean Locklear, two linemen who have always been soft at the point of attack. It might also mean Stacy Andrews, benched late this season, gets a shot at right tackle.
The Seahawks ran well behind him in the first half of the season, so it was a little baffling when they benched him.
If there is a free agency period, rumors already are flying that the Seahawks will be interested in Robert Gallery, the former first-round bust Cable rehabilitated as a guard in Oakland.
**Forget the idea of the Seahawks trading for Carson Palmer. Sure, he’s still a good quarterback, but Hasselbeck is just as good, as he showed in the playoffs. And the hiring of Bevell makes it even more obvious that Hasselbeck is the best choice to start for Seattle.
**Also forget Vince Young. The guy is a talented athlete, but he’s an immature, narcissistic kid who has no charisma or leadership ability whatsoever. He’s just another product of a dysfunctional American society in which people blame everyone but themselves for their shortcomings, mistakes and poor behavior. In other words, Vince Young is a punk.
**The Seahawks might consider bringing in Tarvaris Jackson, who knows Bevell’s offense and could push Charlie Whitehurst for the backup job behind Hasselbeck.