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Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks’ new OC Ryan Grubb has been busy installing his new offense

Offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb spent two seasons at the University of Washington before moving to the Seattle Seahawks.  (Dean Rutz/Seattle Times)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

RENTON, Wash. – By one measure, Ryan Grubb’s early transition to the NFL has gone about as well as he could have hoped.

“We haven’t had to punt yet, so that’s the good part,” Grubb said Monday following the seventh of the Seahawks’ 10 OTAs (organized team activities).

Seattle offensive coordinator Grubb knows better than anyone that no assessment of how his offense – which worked so dynamically the past two years at the University of Washington – will translate to the NFL won’t come until the fall.

Of what he can get a sense of so far, Grubb feels good.

About half of the installation of the offense has been completed, Grubb said, giving the team a good base for hitting the ground running when training camp begins in late July.

“I think we are right on schedule, and I think we are in a good spot,” Grubb said. “I think a lot of the big spots that we haven’t hit yet are more some of the things that you hit in camp when you have a little more contact and things like that.”

As Grubb noted, OTAs are a no-pads, no-contact time when the emphasis is on teaching and learning.

Practice Monday ended with a session in which the starting offense and defense took off their helmets and ran through plays against each other at barely a jogging pace, the point being to nail down the responsibilities and communication between players.

“The more situations you can bring up for the guys that they have to communicate and execute a full vision I think is better,” Grubb said of the early emphasis in working 11-on-11 – with the starters usually going against each other and the backups working against each other.

It’s an offense that Grubb reiterated Monday may not be a carbon copy of UW’s pass-heavy attack the past two seasons, instead tweaked to emphasize the Seahawks’ personnel.

“I think that grows and evolves every year, right?” he said. ” … So when you talk about some of the run-pass balance, you have backs like (Kenneth Walker III) and Zach (Charbonnet), you are pretty excited about your ability to run the ball. So I think for us we are trying to meld some things together with some things we’ve done in the past, whether it’s a long time ago or even just the last few years and get the guys to understand that we want to be a physically dominant team and at the same time have that same explosive, confusing element that people are used to.”

Not that the Seahawks won’t try to throw it as much as they can with a veteran QB in Geno Smith and a starting trio of receivers in DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba that could be among the better trios in the NFL.

Smith is the unquestioned starter at QB. He again appeared to take all of the snaps with the No. 1 offense during team sessions Monday. Grubb said he likes the way newly acquired Sam Howell is adjusting, as well.

“They’re awesome,” Grubb said. “… I couldn’t be happier with where they are at and the type of guys that management has brought into this place.”

Smith said earlier during OTAs how well he thinks the scheme will fit his skill set, saying, “I’m a drop-back passer. I feel this is a drop-back offense.”

Grubb said it won’t be that easily categorized.

“I think that there is a really good marriage there where some of the skill set that Geno has. I think that we ask our quarterbacks to do a lot,” Grubb said. “Luckily for us, Geno is really athletic as well. I think for us we don’t have to limit it to just drop back. I think he is really good in the play-action game as well, which will be a big part of our offense. I think for us it’s not just five-step (drops) all the time.

“But I do think Geno is really good at getting the ball out on time and very efficient with the football, which he obviously showed in ’22 when he led the league in completion percentage.”

Still, questions will persist of how well Grubb can adjust to the NFL in his first year in the league.

Before 2022, the 48-year-old Grubb had not even coached at the Power Five level.

Grubb noted that the Seahawks have other assistants on the offensive side with significant NFL experience, including quarterbacks coach Charles London (who has coached in the NFL all but two years since 2007), running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu (13 years) and receivers coach Frisman Jackson (five years).

“I think there’s a ton of perspective there,” Grubb said. “… Just different styles that people have used for success in the NFL. And marrying that with our system has been a lot of fun.”

Grubb said the moves he’s made – from the University of Sioux Falls to UW from 2013-22, with stops in between at Eastern Michigan and Fresno State – has prepared him for that challenge

“I mean there’s always stuff that maybe you got away with in one league that you know can’t in another,” he said. “I mean even Mountain West to Pac-12, all those types of things I think absolutely are applicable and you’ve got to find the things that are realistic.”

And he sounds confident that ultimately he will.

“I’ve always felt like the next step I was really anxious and excited to prove myself,” he said of his moves up the coaching ladder. “I feel like every step I take, I just get more excited and more motivated and determined to make sure that we succeed. It’s a lot of fun. I’m excited to show we can do it on the biggest stage.”

While he said leaning on his UW success can be “a little bit of living in the past as far as what we’ve accomplished there,” he sounded like he won’t be surprised if that follows him to the VMAC.

“Just really determined to show these guys that we can be a resource to push their careers to the next level and hopefully show a brand of success with this offense that is one of the best in the league,” he said.