Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Greg Knapp's hiring as the Seahawks' offensive coordinator raised questions about whether Seattle would become predominantly a running team. Knapp's offenses in Atlanta and Oakland favored the run by a wide margin.
Former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren always thought a team needed to pass the ball effectively to win playoff games. Knapp echoed that thought during an interview with KJR radio's Dave Mahler. This is an audio file, so be warned.
Knapp: "I am a big believer in balance. You can't be dominant in one or the other and expect to win in the playoffs. You can probably get to the playoffs being like that, but if you want to win the playoffs, you have to have balance and you have to do both well."
Knapp also pointed to his time as the 49ers' offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2003 as evidence he can favor the passing game when the personnel dictates. The 49ers ran the ball 51.3 percent of the time on first down during those years.
As the chart shows, the percentages rose to 56 percent with the Falcons from 2004 to 2007 and 54.1 percent with the Raiders over the past two seasons.
Knapp: "If I was to be interviewed after my San Francisco days, they probably would have emphasized, 'Why do you throw the ball so much?' With Jeff Garcia and my times with Steve Young, we had a lot of success throwing the ball. The makeup of the personnel there said, 'Let's do that.' My last two stints it has not been that way because for one, we had a running quarterback in Atlanta and two, in Oakland, we had a very young quarterback in JaMarcus Russell. The running game is your best friend for a young quarterback."
Knapp indicated he will probably work Seneca Wallace into the offense, possibly with Hasselbeck also on the field. Wallace's mobility could pair nicely with some of the zone blocking schemes in the running game, Knapp indicated (with the zone run going one way and the keeper or keeper fake going the other way). Knapp also said he was eager to have an experienced, traditional passing quarterback as his starter.
Knapp: "A lot of it is dictated by the personnel. Here we have a very experienced, Pro Bowl, played-in-a-Super Bowl quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck and I am
kind of licking my chops because I am back with a guy who has a lot of savvy, a lot of experience, has made tough decisions in close ballgames and has done well. It helps my cause as far as what to choose from when you are using the playbook."
Despite his pass-happy reputation, Holmgren's offenses ran the ball 1,827 times and passed the ball 1,827 times on first down during the same period, 2001 to 2008. Go figure.