RENTON, Wash. – Brian Schottenheimer was on vacation in Florida trying not to think about football when Pete Carroll called.
To talk about football.
It was OK though. A rudely interrupted offseason meant an exciting opportunity for the regular season, because that conversation led to several more conversations that eventually led to Schottenheimer signing on to be the Seattle Seahawks’ offensive coordinator.
“Growing up in a football household, you realize that all organizations are not the same,” Schottenheimer said during an exclusive interview with the home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX. “You realize that there are some organizations that just do things … I don’t want to say different … better, maybe? And that starts with people. The type of people that are in the building. The type of people, and the attitude that they come to work with.
“This is an organization where people are happy to be here, they’re excited to be here, they want to work, they’re gonna compete. But yet, they can have fun doing that as well.”
When Schottenheimer says he grew up in a football household, he’s not kidding. His father, Marty, was head coach of the Browns, Chiefs, Reskins and Chargers, and had an NFL playing career of his own back in the late 60s and early 70s. Through Brian and Marty have worked together in three cities, Brian’s gone on to make a name for himself as the offensive coordinator for the Jets and Rams, as well as in college for the Georgia Bulldogs.
“We’re always trying to learn,” Schottenheimer said. “Each year’s different. (I’ve) been around in some situations where you lose a couple players and it really sets you back. I’m just excited to be here. This is an awesome organization with very talented players.
“I feel like being here and in this market and having called plays against the Seahawks crowd is an unbelievable task. I’m excited to be on the other side of it now and not have to deal with the noise and the distractions.”
Schottenheimer knows his way around world-class quarterbacks, having worked with Brett Favre with the New York Jets and working as Drew Brees’ position coach in San Diego before becoming friends with him. Schottenheimer, of course, was hesitant to compare Russell Wilson to any of them.
“I don’t think that’s fair to him or to any of the guys that I’ve had,” Schottenheimer said. “I’ve been blessed to be around some great ones. Having been out there, I think the first thing that I recognized is just how instinctive he is on the football field. He sees things that maybe some other guys I’ve been around just wouldn’t notice. Now, when they go watch film they see it, but again, that’s what allows him to stay ahead of the defense.
“He’ll come over from time to time and he’ll tell me something that he saw, and I’ll be like ‘no way.’ And I go back and I watch and I’m like, ‘Yeah, he was right.’”
That’s not to say Schottenheimer doesn’t have ideas about how Wilson can get better.
“Russell’s obviously a tremendous athlete, but there’s certain things we’re trying to teach him in terms of his drop mechanics, his setup mechanics – it’ll be a little bit different,” Schottenheimer said. “One of those things is just trying to get him to play with a little bit of a wider base. By staying and having a wider base, you’re always ready to throw. If something pops that you’re not expecting to pop open, you’re in balance and ready to throw.
Schottenheimer and Carroll clearly share a plan for the offense this season – Schottenheimer used the world “philosophy” at least 10 times during the course of his interview with Q13 – and it’s one that will bring the focus back to the run game.
“We’re always going to want to be balanced,” Schottenheimer said. “We’re going to want to have a running attack that teams know … when we call runs and we need to run the ball late in the game, we can do that. But, we also want to have the ability to hurt people throwing the football.
“The philosophy’s fun, because it’s a starting point. But, again, it always evolves over time as you find out what your players do well, or even the opponent that you’re getting ready to play.”