In the early stages of free agency, the Seattle Seahawks made it clear that addressing their run game was going to be a priority this offseason.
During an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Salk" show earlier this week, coach Pete Carroll was asked if the team is going to run the football more this year.
"We definitely will," Carroll said. "We lost 100-something runs last year. And that was basically the story. That was basically the tale of why everything came about as it did. The defense had to do some more stuff. We had to throw the ball more. We had to pass protect more and all of that because the running game got knocked up.
"With the quarterback being a mess and the running-back situation, everybody being banged up, we were just unable to find it. So I think we’ll come roaring right back at it."
As a team, the Seahawks totaled 403 rushing attempts last year, which ranked 20th. In the previous four years with Russell Wilson at quarterback, the Seahawks averaged 517.5 rushing attempts, more than any team in the NFL.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Seahawks called pass plays 64.5 percent of the time in 2016, seventh-most. The previous four years, that number was 54.5 percent, which ranked 32nd.
There are the obvious disclaimers here. Teams run the ball more when they have a lead and pass the ball more when they're playing from behind. That was a factor for sure. But last year's ratio also had to do with the Seahawks' struggles with the ground game.
Seattle ranked 23rd in rushing efficiency; it had never been worse than seventh with Wilson at QB. As Carroll mentioned, the issues started with Wilson's injuries and lack of mobility. The run blocking was rarely in sync. And the Seahawks had multiple injuries at running back.
So what's changed?
Wilson being healthy should provide a boost. With Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise, the Seahawks have more options than they did a year ago. And they expect the league's second-youngest offensive line in 2016 to get better.
Lacy was brought in to be the team's feature back. Prosise will provide a change of pace and be used plenty in the passing game. And Rawls is a wild card. He was great in 2015 but struggled through injuries last season and couldn't regain that form. Others like Alex Collins, Troymaine Pope and seventh-round pick Chris Carson will look to earn a role this summer.
Carroll has a formula he believes in, and it's brought plenty of success to Seattle. By all accounts, the Seahawks will look to regain their offensive identity in 2017.