I could simply say Harvin and be done with it. That would be too simple, and no fun.
First, what do we know about Pete? He hates turnovers. The turnover margin is often the first thing he mentions, win or lose. He hates turnovers like like I hate leftovers. Particularly in the red zone.
Second, when it comes to making offensive changes, Pete has to be forced to change. He has to see it work. Go back to the Chicago game, it took having our backs against the wall, facing a loss with little clock left, to put the offense truly in Russell's hands. Then overtime came, and with no clock to beat, Pete left the game in Russell's hands. And yet, there had been games earlier in the year, Detroit, Miami, and New England, where putting the game in Russell's hands had shown them what they needed to do. It just took a while to sink in. To me, the acquisition of Harvin is proof the lesson was learned.
Lets go back to the reasons Pete loves the power run. Clock. Turnovers. Tired 4th quarter defenses. But primarily turnovers.
How many red zone turnovers did Russell have last year? When it matters, in the Red zone, Russell is money.
How many failures did the power run game have in the playoffs in the red zone and in field goal range? When it mattered, it was the insistence that no matter what the defense did we were going to run that led to turnovers, and contributed to an early trip home.
The answer to the thread title is no. We are not going to be a pass first offense either, though. We are going to be a multiple offense. I still expect some growing pains as Pete cedes some control of the offense to the intuition and decision making of Russell, and power running is still a staple of the Hawks, but being multiple is going to be our identity moving forward. Harvin does so much with quick passes that expecting Russell to complete near 70 percent of his passes is not unreasonable. That negates some of the clock worries of passing more.
All that said, I expect our run game to be far more efficient moving forward. The threat of Harvin should create more space for running, and the development of Turbin should continue. A fresh Lynch for the playoffs would be welcome difference from last year.
The best part? Our offense can be whatever we need it to be. And when you think back to the mood around here before and as the season began last year, it feels like we are way ahead of schedule.