What Percy Harvin brings to Seattle

Speedy receiver provides another dynamic weapon for the read-option

Originally Published: March 11, 2013
By Andy Benoit | Football Outsiders

Percy HarvinBrace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY SportsIf he passes his physical, Percy Harvin will be catching passes from Russell Wilson next year.

On the day before NFL free agency begins, the Seattle Seahawks made a huge splash, by reportedly acquiring Percy Harvin for multiple draft picks -- including their 2013 first-rounder. A dynamic player such as Harvin can have all sorts of uses for the Seahawks and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who coached Harvin during his time in Minnesota. How will Bevell utilize Harvin?

What stood out with Seattle last season was the way Bevell shrewdly tailored his game plans to fit the strengths of his players -- specifically, the strengths of Russell Wilson. Early in the year, the Seahawks were a confined and measured offense, which operated predominantly out of "12," "21" or "22" personnel (the first digit represents the number of running backs and the second represents the number of tight ends). They even dabbled with 13 personnel and ran some of their passing game out of it. Those heavy packages compelled defenses to stay with their base personnel, making defensive schemes more predictable and making the game easier for the inexperienced Wilson. When Wilson did attack downfield, it was often on a defined read and against an uncomfortable linebacker in coverage.

By November, with Wilson becoming a savvier drop-back, rollout and progression passer, the Seahawks had expanded to feature more 11 personnel concepts (three receivers, one back, one tight end). But they still didn't quite have the resources to fully thrive in that set. They did, however, have a dual-threat quarterback that was quickly learning to read the entire field. So Bevell hopped on the read-option bandwagon and started beating opponents with the mere threat of Wilson's legs. This opened things up significantly for Marshawn Lynch and played to Wilson's strengths in the pass game. And now Harvin will add a new wrinkle.


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