Seattle Seahawks

It’s possible Seahawks are keeping offense under wraps in preseason

With running back Marshawn Lynch mostly on the sideline during exhibition games this season, the Seahawks’ offense has struggled to produce points.
With running back Marshawn Lynch mostly on the sideline during exhibition games this season, the Seahawks’ offense has struggled to produce points. The Associated Press

For three weeks of the preseason, Seattle Seahawks fans have screamed one question persistently, if not quite at record decibel levels: Where’s the Seahawks’ offense?

Silly 12s, you know where it is.

It’s on the sideline wearing No. 24.

Marshawn Lynch is the team’s most reliable offensive machinery, fueled by colored candy, and he doesn’t get cranked up until Game 1 of the regular season.

This preseason, Lynch has two carries for 6 yards. All you need to know is he’s healthy and expected to be suitably menacing when they open the season at St. Louis on Sept. 13.

Most offensive shortcomings until that time have to be discounted if not dismissed.

So, as he says, stop freakin’.

Still, the Seahawks have scored just one offensive touchdown in the preseason, and that was on a screen pass to rookie Thomas Rawls in the final minute of the first exhibition game against Denver.

The three other touchdowns were a pair of Tyler Lockett returns in the kicking game and a Bobby Wagner interception return.

Even with the scoring by other units, the numbers are feeble. They’re averaging 16.3 points a game.

In 2012, when quarterback Russell Wilson was earning the starting job, Seattle averaged 30.5 points a game. The next year, it was 27.5, and then back to 30.5 last season.

Wilson hasn’t been sharp, with no touchdowns and no interceptions and a passer rating of 67.4. He has thrown only 31 times, though, and been under steady pressure behind a grab-bag offensive line still being sorted out.

Here’s the value of preseason passer stats: The touchdown leaders, in a three-way tie with four, are Landry Jones, Chase Daniel and E.J. Manuel — three reserves.

Meanwhile, Wilson could be viewed as among the elite quarterbacks this preseason, as Aaron Rodgers also has no touchdowns or interceptions, and Tom Brady has a 37.5 passer rating.

And while it’s true that the Hawks don’t really game plan for opponents in the preseason, and they’re being careful with veteran starters, the scoring seems to run counter to accepted protocol during the Pete Carroll era.

Carroll’s teams are know for showing up and revving at high RPMs for every game, regular season or not, and players are asked to compete for the full 60 minutes.

Young guys, knowing they’ll have a real chance to make the roster under Carroll, keep pressing hard even through the final minutes, so they’ve scored in the 40s at least once in each of the past three preseasons.

This preseason, though, could be a reflection of an evolving approach to Seahawks exhibition games, perhaps with more caution, and more rest for the veterans and those who’ve been banged up.

Maybe they’re thinking: We know what we’ve got. Let’s get to the real games as healthy as possible. And because everybody invests so much effort in dethroning Seattle, maybe there’s no benefit in showing them anything in the preseason they can spend time prepping for.

Let’s remember, too: This team has played more games than anybody else in the NFL the past three years. Nobody knows better that outcomes in August are irrelevant to those in January and February.

After the final exhibition game against Oakland, the Seahawks will have 10 days before opening at St. Louis against a rugged Rams defensive front. That group is well acquainted with Russell Wilson, having sacked him more than any other team in the NFL.

One good thing, the Hawks will know in a hurry whether the offensive problems are just a function of preseason sluggishness.

If they can’t score then, the shouting can start for real.