New Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron spoke of a shared vision with head coach Pete Carroll over the future of the team's offense along with a desire to strive for balance while remaining an attacking unit.
Waldron, hired by the Seahawks to replace Brian Schottenheimer as the team's offensive coordinator last week, spoke with reporters for the first time on Tuesday about his decision to leave the division-rival Los Angles Rams and take the opportunity to run the offense in Seattle. Waldron got the job after an interview process that included several Zoom meetings with Carroll, Russell Wilson and other members of the Seahawks staff.
"Over the course of several days we spoke, had some great conversations, starting with philosophy," Waldron said. "Starting with my history and really taking it all the way through things that he believed in. And at the end of this thing really just making sure that we were aligned in how we view the game, how we view things moving forward.
"Talking through the interview process with him and and (we) talked a lot of football but we also talked a lot about some of those core philosophical beliefs, which which were in great alignment."
So what exactly is that philosophy? It sounds a lot like that of Pete Carroll. Waldron said that he strives to run a balanced offensive attack that takes care of the football and has the ability to create explosive plays downfield.
"Number one, it's always going to be all about the ball," Waldron said, echoing a frequent Carroll phrase. "It starts there from an offensive perspective. There's no greater statistic that leads to wins and losses than that turnover differential so it's always going to be something that's emphasized.
"We're going to be a balanced offense that's going to have that ability to create explosive plays with that attacking mindset. We want to be the one that (has) the foot on the gas pedal."
Waldron made it clear that just because he strives to run a balanced offense, that doesn't mean he's going to be timid as a play-caller.
"I think the balanced approach is really how I want to view this thing and I think that that's what really blends the ability to play good complimentary football.
"I think the great part about Russell Wilson within this system is he does have a built in ability to do a lot of different things. And, you know, just because I'm saying that it's a balanced attack, doesn't mean that that's a conservative attack. So I don't ever want to get that confused."
Waldron comes to Seattle after spending the last four years with the Rams. His last three years with the team he served in the role of passing game coordinator. He's a native of Portland, Ore. and was excited about the chance to return to the Northwest, where his parents still live. In fact, he wished his mother a happy birthday at the outset of the meeting with reporters.
Waldron's desire for a balanced attack meshes with what Carroll said he wanted the offense to become moving forward at the end of the season. Carroll felt as though their inability to put forth a balanced attack on offense made it more difficult for them to be productive. The offense cratered the second half of the season as teams took away their deep passing game and Seattle didn't have enough success counterpunching in the passing game. They also didn't run the ball very much or that effectively when they tried.
"I want to see if we can run the ball more effectively to focus the play of the opponents and see if we can force them to do things like we'd like them to do more, like we have been able to do that in the past," Carroll said at his season-ending availability. "That doesn't mean we're going to run the ball 50 times a game. It means we need to run the ball with direction and focus and style that allows us to dictate the game. I mean I just, frankly, I'd like to not play against two-deep looks all season long next year. And so we have to be able to get that done. It's not just the running game. It is the style of passes that will help us some, but we have to get after it a little bit differently. As it unfolded in the end of the season, it became really obvious. In the last four or five games, it became really obvious."
Waldron didn't want to get into schematic specifics when asked about his vision for the offense. As Schottenheimer said when he got the job in 2018, he anticipates there will be some carryover in principles between what the Seahawks have done in the past along with the vision he sees for the attack moving forward.
"Will there be parts of stuff that carries over? Absolutely, because there's been some great things that they've done in the past," Waldron said. "But for me, I'm really more worried about 2021. There's a lot of things in the past that we all learn from and I think we grow from those experiences, but really everything moving forward is going to be all about this year and how this group of players fits together, how this group of coaches fit together, and how we can attack that with that competitive mindset."
Waldron spent the four years under Rams head coach Sean McVay in Los Angeles with one year alongside McVay on Jay Gruden's coaching staff with the Washington football team. It's reasonable to expect a reasonable amount of influence on Waldron has come from his time on their coaching staffs in developing his own philosophy and playbook.
Waldron said that quarterback Russell Wilson was involved in the interview process and that they have spoken several times. While he said a lot of their conversations where about getting to know each other personally and their families, they did speak about their offensive philosophies and their approach to the game. Waldron wasn't going to reveal many specifics about those conversations either, however. Nevertheless, he's excited to work with Wilson.
"I don't think there's any scenario that he's probably entered in life where he thought he was going to fall short. He's got that mindset that he's going to be the best. He's going to attack every day preparing himself to be the best," Waldron said.
"I think the best thing for us is going to be really finding out with this marriage where we fit together, what things he loves what things that fit offensively and, and then moving forward from there but couldn't be more excited to work with him."
Waldon may end up being the perfect fit to move Seattle's offense forward. He hits all the same notes as Carroll when it comes to their vision for what they want out of an offensive attack. But Waldron also brings some background with a highly successful, creative scheme under McVay in Los Angeles that could diversify some of Seattle's options offensively.
“(Carroll) has my back fully supportive of what I want to do and where we’re going to take this thing together," Waldron said. "It will be a situation where I feel like I’m walking into a great scenario with a bunch of great coaches that have such a solid foundation from Coach Carroll right on down through the rest of the men on the offensive staff.
“It will be through my direction that this offense is being run with the support of Coach Carroll. At the end of the day, the goal is to win, and we’re going to do this thing together.”
Photo Credit: FOXBOROUGH, MA - 2009: Shane Waldron of the New England Patriots poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by NFL Photos)