Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gregg Knapp and the Future of the Hawks' Offense

by: Michael Steffes

You all may see (in the left sidebar widget from our friends at Rotoworld) that Steve Wyche reported on NFL Total Access that the Jim Mora and the Hawks are expected to hire Gregg Knapp to run the offense next season. This report has been out there for some time, popping up as soon as Jim Mora was announced as the head coach in waiting.

It is as tough to get a read on the accuracy of this report as it is to predict the effect of this move. Gregg Knapp got his first shot as an O-Coordinator in SF under Steve Mariucci. You may remember Terrel Owens dressing him down on the sideline. He then became Mora's OC in Atlanta. Knapp's offenses in SF were for playoff teams. His roots are defintely in the West Coast Offense. In Atlanta, while successful rushing the ball, they were never able to turn Michael Vick into the accurate passer that the WCO requires. Now he has withered, as so many do, in Oakland. This week he was stripped of his play calling duties there. His reputation is suffering, but he and Jim Mora have a long history and have experienced success together in two places.

To continue . . .

Knapp's time in Oakland is tough for an outsider to judge. Last year they had a very effective rushing attack for such a terrible team. This year, while under Kiffin, they were still competitive. However, since his exit the offense has taken a massive decline which also coincides with Darren McFadden being sidelined. Warren Sapp went on record earlier saying that Al Davis even called in plays from the owner's box. So is Knapp simply a fall guy here, or is has he simply been unable to succeed in his last two roles? That is something that both Tim Ruskell and Jim Mora will have to make an honest and tough assessment of before making this hire.

I for one am not anxious to see Gregg Knapp announced as the offensive coordinator here. However, if I had to place odds, he would be the safest bet to be the guy. There is something to be said for Mora having a guy he can trust. If Knapp has one thing going for him, it is that he is experienced--not only in the league, but in difficult situations. I have to believe this has influenced a great deal of personal growth. With Mike Holmgren leaving, it is hard to imagine that the offense won't suffer some sort of drop off. But that said, others with less pedigree than our coach have coordinated some record-setting offenses as of late, including youngsters Jason Garrett and Josh McDaniels.

Clearly it is too early to be speculating about the future of the Seahawks' offense, but with this report showing up on the blog, I thought it was worth addressing. Feel free to discuss. I am sure many of you are skeptical of Knapp, as am I. But let's not take this hire as gospel just yet. Next Tuesday I will make all the possible coaching changes the focus of our look at 2009 piece. Until coaches are hired though, all of this is really just speculation. ~END~