RENTON, Wash. – We’ll start with the caveat: It’s just minicamp.
That’s not even training camp, let alone the actual season.
This is a time when a 2-14 team from a year ago feels like a Super Bowl contender; a time when everyone is in prime condition and ready for the year of their lives.
So we don’t really have any idea whether the Seattle Seahawks’ new offensive coordinator, Shane Waldron, is going to lift the emergency brake that halted the team’s offense at the end of last season. We don’t know if the success he had moving the ball under Sean McVay with the Rams is going to translate to the Seahawks.
But we do know that there was a word that Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett used repeatedly during his Zoom conference with the media Wednesday: freedom.
First, it was in regard to how the players treated Waldron.
“I think we’ve given him the freedom to kind of be who he’s always been, and we’ve allowed ourselves to learn, to be able to sit down and say, ‘You teach us, what is it that we’re missing? What is it that we need to know? How can we get better?’ ” Lockett said. “And being able to give him that free range to really bring what he wants to bring in order to make us great. Instead of us acting like we got it together. Instead of us acting like we’ve been here before, we’ve always been to the playoffs this many times. Instead of acting like, ‘You need to follow our lead,’ I think we’ve done a really great job of being humble and learning how to follow his lead.”
It wouldn’t be too smart if the offense took any other approach. Waldron, who was the passing-game coordinator for the Rams, isn’t in Seattle because his predecessor retired or became a head coach. He’s here because the Seahawks’ offense was a nonfactor for most of the second half of last season.
The 20 points the Seahawks posted in their playoff loss to the Rams weren’t close to enough, as quarterback Russell Wilson had perhaps his worst postseason game.
Seattle needed a change, and coach Pete Carroll deemed Waldron as the instrument to make that happen.
He certainly has an arsenal. Last year, DK Metcalf set the Seahawks’ season record with 1,313 receiving yards. Lockett set the Seahawks’ season receptions record with 100. Then there’s Wilson, the eight-time Pro Bowler, with running back Chris Carson and an increasingly threatening tight-ends room.
That’s why Lockett’s answer to the next question about what he likes about the offense seemed interesting. In this case, it was about the freedom Waldron gave the players.
“I think with the offense Shane brings in, it gives us more freedom. More freedom to be able to be the receivers that we can be. We got free range to do a lot of stuff,” Lockett said. “Not saying that we can just go out and do whatever we want, but the more sophisticated that you become in this offense, the more you’re able to understand how to switch your feet, how not to switch your feet, how to add an extra step, how not to add an extra step, rather than always just having to get to a certain point in a certain amount of time, you kind of have free range to play with it a little bit.”
Lockett used the word “sophisticated” more than once Wednesday. That’s how he has viewed the Rams’ offense the past several years, and it’s how he sees this offense developing. And though it didn’t come off as a shot to previous OCs, it was noteworthy that he emphasized personal freedom in the offense – almost to say it didn’t exist before.
Maybe this is reading into it too much, but such a statement serves as a slight counter to the narrative that Carroll wants a more rigid offense – that last year’s system was too wild, and free, and prone to turnovers. Perhaps Waldron’s “O” will be efficient and entertaining?
Again, it’s just minicamp, and it’s just one player talking. And that player also emphasized the constant need to adapt in the NFL, so the plan Waldron has for the offense may shift drastically midseason.
But it’s fun to think about the possibilities – some of the most dynamic players in the league given freedom like they’ve never had before.
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