Will Greg Knapp help Seattle's running game?
Posted Jan. 08 at 03:10 AM
I see in my copy of The Seattle Times this morning that the Seahawks are excited about what Greg Knapp might do for their running game.
With Mike Holmgren gone, new coach Jim Mora has hired Knapp to serve as the team’s offensive coordinator. The two had the same relationship in Atlanta for three years.
It got me wondering, though. Does Knapp really know anything about putting together a good running game? When the Mora-Knapp tandem was working together in Atlanta, the Falcons led the league in rushing three years in a row. But they had Michael Vick at quarterback; with Vick averaging 846 rushing yards per year, it was really no surprise that the team was among the league’s rushing leaders.
Suppose, for example, that you added 846 rushing yards to Arizona, which finished last in rushing this season. With those additional quarterback scramble yards, the Cardinals would have ranked 9th in rushing. Would Ken Whisenhunt then be a master of putting together a good running game?
So I looked into it a little further. I looked at how Knapp has historically performed as an offensive coordinator – how his teams have fared, and how those rankings changed when the quarterback scrambling yards were removed.
The results weren’t as conclusive as I thought they would be. In each of his three seasons in Atlanta, Knapp’s offenses ranked 1st in both rushing yards and rushing yards by non-running backs (both QBs and WR), but those three offenses also fared pretty well just in terms of pure running back production – 12th, 11th and 8th. That’s a lot better than I thought it would be.
Knapp also did a nice job with the running game in his three years as an offensive coordinator in San Francisco – 2nd, 6th and 5th (and those rankings don’t change if you look solely at running backs). The 49ers had offensive head coaches (Steve Mariucci and Dennis Erickson) in those three years; I’m not sure how much say Knapp had on those teams in terms of playcalling and offensive design.
Knapp served the last two years as Oakland’s offensive coordinator. Lane Kiffin called the plays until being fired early last season, and Knapp was then stripped of play-calling duties after the offense managed only 3 first downs in a shutout loss against Atlanta. Those offenses also ran the ball effectively – 6th and 10th the last two years.
Looks like, in other words, you can put down Seattle for increased rushing production in 2009. At the same time, that probably will also mean the Seahawks will finish in the bottom 10 in passing yards and passing touchdowns.
GREG KNAPP’S TRACK RECORD AS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
2001 S.F. 122 YPG (2nd)
2002 S.F. 140 YPG (6th)
2003 S.F. 142 YPG (5th)
2004 Atl. 167 YPG (1st) (RBs: 106 YPG – 12th)
2005 Atl. 159 YPG (1st) (RBs: 116 YPG – 11th)
2006 Atl. 184 YPG (1st) (RBs: 118 YPG – 8th)
2007 Oak. 130 YPG (6th)
2008 Oak. 124 YPG (10th)
2001 S.F. 215 YPG (14th) 32-10 TD-Int
2002 S.F. 216 YPG (14th) 23-10 TD-Int
2003 S.F. 213 YPG (10th) 25-15 TD-Int
2004 Atl. 151 YPG (30th) 15-16 TD-Int
2005 Atl. 167 YPG (27th) 19-13 TD-Int
2006 Atl. 148 YPG (32nd) 21-15 TD-Int
2007 Oak. 164 YPG (31st) 17-20 TD-Int
2008 Oak. 148 YPG (32nd) 13-11 TD-Int
If you want to see the online version of The Seattle Times article, click here.
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