Look out, NFC West. The Jumbo offense is coming to the Emerald City.
After a series of successful runs all across the NFL, former Los Angeles Rams passing game coordinator and Tufts Jumbo Shane Waldron (LA’02) is taking his talents to the Seattle Seahawks as their new offensive coordinator. Waldron will look to draw from his diverse experiences in many different areas of the game to take Seattle’s already explosive offense over the top in 2021.
Waldron’s journey began at Tufts University where he was a tight end and long snapper for the Jumbos under coach Bill Samko.
“Coach Samko was just a great mentor to me and … I stay in touch with him to this day,” Waldron said in an interview with the Daily last March.
It was at Tufts that Waldron developed the mindset needed to succeed at the next level as a coach.
“I think the college experience in my mind is that while you’re there, you’re just trying to experience as many different things as you can,” Waldron said. “Just that ability to develop relationships and friendships with people from all different walks of life … When you get into the coaching profession, that ability to communicate and relate to everybody has been a really helpful thing along my journey as a coach.”
After graduating from Tufts in 2002, Waldron’s career was sparked by an internship with the New England Patriots. He then went on to work in a wide range of different football environments, picking up bits and pieces of knowledge and tactics from each organization along the way. After several successful stints at the high school and collegiate levels, Waldron landed with Washington, learning under then-offensive coordinator Sean McVay as an offensive quality control coach.
“I had a chance to work with coach McVay in Washington … and when he got the job out in Los Angeles I was fortunate to come with him on the ground level and start with the new coaching staff,” Waldron said.
Waldron’s opportunity in Los Angeles was what truly put him on the map. He was a key part of the Rams’ offensive resurgence in 2017, and has worked several roles with the heralded McVay offense since then.
His resume caught the eye of the Seattle Seahawks, an NFC West rival looking to rebrand their offensive identity. Seattle made headlines early in their offseason after a disappointing playoff exit, ironically to Waldron’s Rams. While their offense had been explosive beyond measure early in the season, they had fallen back to Earth leading into the playoffs. The late-season offensive lull ultimately cost the Seahawks’ former offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, his job.
Head coach Pete Carroll had expressed a desire to return to a run-heavy approach, whereas Schottenheimer had advocated for a more pass-heavy system running through quarterback Russell Wilson. Carroll ultimately had the final say, and Waldron’s hiring is likely to align much more with the run-game emphasis Carroll wants.
Waldron steps into an incredibly exciting and favorable situation, regardless of the offensive identity Carroll may demand. Wilson is an undisputed superstar quarterback in the NFL who throws to a pair of dynamic receivers in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Wilson also brings an extra layer through his ability as a runner, a rare trait for a quarterback that is known to aid the run games of teams across the league. The run game itself boasted Chris Carson in 2020, a talented running back known for his no-holds-barred running style. If the Seahawks want to emphasize the run in 2021, bringing Carson back through free agency will be key.
Waldron will have another Jumbo working alongside him to jumpstart the Seahawks run game, as the Seahawks also hired Andy Dickerson to be the run game coordinator. Waldron and Dickerson are close friends and former teammates at Tufts. Dickerson interned alongside Waldron with the Patriots and the pair also coached together with the Rams, as Dickerson was an offensive line coach.
Waldron’s experiences working in various roles under McVay will help him along the way as he adjusts to his new responsibilities as a leader of an NFL offense.
“I’ve been fortunate to coach different positions throughout my career. Every different room offers a new perspective,” Waldron told the Daily.
His role as the former tight ends coach in Los Angeles could be especially helpful as he works to install a run-heavy offense. The Seahawks boast a deep and intriguing tight ends room featuring Jacob Hollister, Will Dissly and Luke Willson. They could also look to add another impact player at that position through free agency or the draft, to aid Waldron’s run-blocking scheme and add another wrinkle to the short passing game.
Ultimately, Waldron is faced with an intriguing puzzle featuring countless talented and breakout-primed pieces. If he can put them together effectively, the Seahawks could be a truly deadly rushing team reminiscent of the Marshawn Lynch days. That could open up big plays for the receiving corps, making the offense very dangerous.
“At the end of every season, unless you’re that final team that ends up on top, there’s that ‘What can we do better?’ feeling … It’s still that desire to improve and that desire to figure out what we can do better … How can we help our team to win that one more game?” Waldron said.
So next season, when you watch D.K. Metcalf make a dazzling touchdown catch or Chris Carson power through the line for a monstrous gain, you’ll know former Jumbo Shane Waldron’s tireless work behind the scenes and thoughtful approach to the game is what’s making it all click.