On the plane ride home from the Seahawks’ playoff loss to Carolina in January, coach Pete Carroll said he and Russell Wilson set up a schedule for an offseason Master’s program of sorts to enhance the quarterback’s understanding of the game.
Now that Wilson handled some offseason business – winning the Pro Bowl offensive MVP, getting engaged, etc. – and the free-agent frenzy has passed for Carroll, Brock Huard believes the crash course is closing in.
Huard speculated that while most of the team will begin offseason conditioning at the end of April, Wilson will arrive a few weeks early. And the first lesson, Huard believes, will be protection.
“Chapter 1 is, more explicitly, what teams are doing against you with all of their defensive packages,” Huard said. “That’s where the Bradys, Mannings and Breeses – the ones at the very top of the ledger – they dominate blitz. And Russell’s been good against it. It’s not as if he’s got a long way to go here, but it’s really taking that next step of understanding everything the defense is doing. Not what we’re doing in our protection. Don’t worry about us; you’ve got that. This is all about answering that why – why these other teams have all these blitz packages.”
Huard suggested that Carroll might begin with diagnosing a team that primarily runs a base defense, such as Minnesota. From there, Carroll can move to dissecting the more creative defensive minds, like Titans coordinator Dick LeBeau.
“Then it’s that entire spectrum of all those blitz packages, because understanding your protection is one thing; understanding the mind and why a Peyton Manning locked himself in a room with Monte Kiffin for two days in Tennessee is another,” he said. “It wasn’t about Peyton’s protection. It was, ‘I want to know why you’re thinking that, when you’re going to throw that blitz, why you’re taking apart this protection that way with that personnel.'”
Huard said in-depth knowledge of pressure packages is key to growing in other areas.
“Once you’ve got that, and you can start to just really play chess when they’re throwing those blitzes at you. It further slows that game down,” Huard said.