The Seahawks learned plenty from their 2020 season, which began with a hot start but fizzled by the time the season turned to winter.
With a new offensive coordinator now in the mix, they're out to make sure they don't repeat the same mistakes.
Fresh off a lucrative extension, receiver Tyler Lockett was asked about his team's understanding of its offensive decline in 2020 and how they might avoid a repeat performance under new direction in 2021.
"I think there's a lot of things that we can learn," Lockett said, via KJR's Curtis Crabtree. "I think we have to go into it with the mind that's able to accept and listen and understand and not act like we know everything."
Lockett is likely referring to Seattle's in-season shift away from an offensive identity that proved to be explosive early, but didn't prove to be sustainable. After letting Russell Wilson cook plenty in the first quarter of the season, defenses adjusted, and Seattle was slow to react, finishing 17th yards per game and 16th in passing.
As a result, the Seahawks lost their offensive mojo, leaving Wilson to search for the magic that was lost and getting hit plenty. He aired his own grievances with the change in direction and lack of protection during the offseason, which followed Seattle's change to new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron. Wilson's words essentially started the timer on Seattle and its decision-making process going forward.
Now, the hope is the Seahawks can avoid the same pitfalls in 2021. Lockett seems confident that his team has gained valuable wisdom from the frustrating experience.
"When you look at the first half of our season and you see the way that we played, I mean, why would we ever stop playing like that, right?" Lockett explained. "Like, everything is clicking, whatever we choose to do it works so to where we really didn't have to worry about adjusting. We made everybody adjust to us. So it wasn't until the second half of the season where we were truly faced with having to learn how to adjust. And that's the thing that sometimes it's hard for people in general."
... "Like, even for us is, we've done so many things that was like out of this world where people was like, this offense is crazy! To where we didn't have to adjust. And then when teams started doing some of the things that we hadn't seen on film, and they were starting to just do certain things to prepare for us, now we had to learn how to be able to see what they're doing before we attack. And that's why I said it's different."
Rigidity is typically the downfall of coaches in sports, perhaps none more than in the NFL, when the sport requires in-game and week-to-week adjustments just to survive, let alone succeed. Pete Carroll is no spring chicken, but his hiring of Waldron indicates he too realizes the importance of flexibility in style and approach.
"When you had a mentality attack, attack, attack, that's what you saw in the first half (of the season)," Lockett said. "But when teams start to throw out different types of stuff and now you got to start learning, like, OK, this goes against our rules. Now we got to start changing certain stuff up because now the way that we used to go, teams adapted to us, but now we got to figure out how to be able to find ways to keep moving forward and keep attacking while seeing what they're throwing at us. So that's why I said it wasn't like it was a difficult second half for us, it's just we had to truly learn what it meant to adjust when the first half we never had to."
The offseason is the ideal time to speak idealistically about a team's potential, especially after offseason changes provide fresh reason for optimism. But we won't truly know whether the Seahawks have learned from their past until they're greeted by a fresh serving of adversity in the form of a stingy defense.
For now, Lockett is saying the right things. We'll learn this fall whether the right words become the correct decisions.