Bold, aggressive, fearless — Bobby Slowik feels like the kind of appointment John Schneider would make

It felt like there were a lot of ‘easter eggs’ in John Schneider’s press conference this week. After all, this isn’t a draft. Deception isn’t necessary. You’re not going to blurt out you’re preferred candidate but neither do you have to go overboard trying to conceal your intentions.

The extent to which Schneider talked about the issue of losing a successful offensive coordinator felt like an obvious tell that, if nothing else, they were conscious of this very real problem in the modern NFL. You only have to see from the total lack of buzz surrounding Jim Schwartz, Brian Flores, Steve Spagnuolo and others. The league wants offense. If you hire an offensive coach and nail the defensive coordinator position, you are far more likely to keep your staff together.

I suspect this will be emphasised even further if/when Raheem Morris, Ejiro Eviro, Patrick Graham and maybe even Dan Quinn don’t get Head Coaching offers, while the offensive-minded guys are preferred. We’ll see what happens.

The other thing I think might be more telling than anyone first thought was the point Schneider made about being in charge of hiring the coaches. Initially I thought he might be making an ‘it wasn’t me, ‘guv, honest‘ type gesture — trying to distance himself from the inglorious appointments of Ken Norton Jr, Clint Hurtt and others. I now want to bring another angle to the table. What if it’s a hint that he’s the one doing due diligence behind the scenes to create a staff?

This wouldn’t be necessary if he was going to hire Dan Quinn or Mike Vrabel. They’ll have ready-made staffs. Quinn in particular will have been working on a plan for a long time. If he was going to take a chance on a relative newcomer though, without a rich contacts list, Schneider would presumably need to assist.

Bobby Slowik was not a household name 12 months ago. His work with Houston has elevated him into the spotlight. It’s been such a meteoric rise, most people don’t know that a few years ago he was working for PFF as an analyst — appearing on podcasts discussing the NFL with Zac Robinson (now working with the Rams).

His work with the Texans has been so impressive — helping turn C.J. Stroud into a rookie revelation and making a cast of receivers and tight ends highly effective in one of the surprise stories of the season. Despite all of the legit concerns about a lack of experience, it’s impossible not to look at the way he was scheming targets open (brilliantly highlighted by Josh Norris here, here, here and here) and wonder — maybe this guy is legit? Maybe we’re seeing the start of something special? Perhaps all of the concerns about his inexperience deserve to go in the same place as the concerns people had about Sean McVay when he took over the Rams?

We’re living in a new world. The NFL has changed, as Schneider acknowledged on Tuesday. The game will always be about winning in the trenches and every team, at least for me, should set out to build greatness up front, find a quarterback and then — as the third most important aspect — find ways to challenge your opponent schematically. The modern way to do this is to use deception and misdirection to create wide-open targets and exploit weaknesses (we’ve seen Shanahan and McVay attack Seattle this way for a long time).

Slowik is showing he understands this and is very good at it. Couple that with his background of being around Kyle Shanahan and McVay, plus the fact he speaks incredibly well for such an inexperienced coach, and maybe he is the real deal?

Doesn’t this seem like an old head on young shoulders?

If you need a glowing reference from anyone, how about Kyle Shanahan?

“Bobby was as talented as anyone I’ve ever worked with,” Shanahan said. “I didn’t want to lose him at all. DeMeco knew that he was special. DeMeco and he had a close bond together because they both were [quality control coaches].”

Let’s just repeat those first two sentences: “Bobby was as talented as anyone I’ve ever worked with. DeMeco knew that he was special.

I could write down about five different scenarios for what the Seahawks are going to do and make a compelling case for each. One of those scenarios, without a doubt, would be Schneider taking the plunge on someone like Slowik. Shooting for greatness, rather than settling on a new coach. The man who craved gunslingers like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen in the draft, when he already had Russell Wilson, doesn’t feel like a conservative coach-picker to me.

Perhaps that comment about having control over the coaching staff is indicative? Maybe the Seahawks intend to go after someone like Slowik and part of Schneider’s plan will be to use his own extensive contacts to land the defensive coordinator who can greatly improve an underperforming unit? To go and get the wise old head, in whatever capacity that might be, to act as a sounding-board for Slowik in his first big gig?

It feels brash, confident, aggressive. It feels like a John Schneider move.

Plus if he intends to draft a quarterback sooner rather than later, why not go for the man who has done as much as anyone to elevate the play of a young signal-caller this season?

And as we’ve discussed — while all of the candidates they’re talking to are worthy in their own right to be interviewed for the main role, there are some coaches who might be available down the line. A year ago, Ejiro Evero was offered the chance to stay in Denver as defensive coordinator or move on, once Sean Payton was hired. He chose to go to Carolina. Now they’re hiring a new staff. Will the Panthers similarly allow him to depart if he wishes? Could the Seahawks create enough of an impression to team him with Slowik, perhaps as ‘Assistant Head Coach/defensive coordinator’?

It’d be totally different to what the Seahawks had under Carroll. That does feel important. It’s time for a new vision, new ideas and new personnel — not clinging to the past and trying to copy what happened before.

I mean, look at what 49ers writers are saying on their websites:

Good news for the 49ers: If the Seahawks hire Dann Quinn.

Bad news for the 49ers: If the Seahawks hire Bobby Slowik.

If Ben Johnson really does have his heart set on Washington (as appears to be the case), Slowik could be the ideal alternative.

Assuming the Texans don’t upset the Ravens this weekend, the Seahawks would be allowed to meet with Slowik in person next week. The process will ramp up over the next seven days, with the only potential delay being the possibility of other candidates remaining in the final four. If these games go as expected, that would only leave Detroit’s Johnson unless the Seahawks do want to speak to Baltimore’s Mike Macdonald (so far, he hasn’t had a reported interview request).

If one of the worst kept secrets in football of Johnson to Washington is legit — and if Houston loses this weekend — the Seahawks won’t have any limitations in place in terms of speaking to the candidates they seem to have identified for the role. It’s not impossible that this time next week we might know who Seattle’s new Head Coach is.

Finally — I was invited on to Dan Viens’ show today to talk about the Seahawks’ coaching situation. Check it out below:


  1. Hawk Finn

    I really appreciate your insights here. It’s great learning about each of these relative unknowns. Certainly an exciting time to be a Hawks fan.

    • Rob Staton

      Thank you!

  2. ShowMeYourHawk

    “What if it’s a hint that he’s the one doing due diligence behind the scenes to create a staff?”

    John Schneider as the franchise’s Nick Fury, approaching Bobby Slowik: “I’m here to talk to you about the Seahawk Initiative.”

    All kidding aside, Slowik’s youth and rapid ascent could mean that we could lock in a wunderkind early in his HC career on the relative cheap.

  3. Allen

    I’m intrigued with Slowik. I think he’d be great for the Seahawks passing game, Geno, and a future young QB. Definitely one of my favorite candidates along with Ben Johnson.

    • Orcas Viking

      Maybe he could unlock Lock…

      • seaspunj

        If Slowik is the HC maybe Davis Mills gets added.

        who has more upside Lock or Mills?

        • Walter Rucker

          Good point

  4. bmseattle

    I’ve come around on Slowik, and he is now the guy I’m most excited about.
    The knock on him, that he wouldn’t be able to hire a staff, is mitigated greatly if Rob’s guess is correct, and JS has got his hand in that already.
    It makes a lot of sense.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s something I wish I’d talked about more — the idea that the very experienced and respected GM might also be able to work to put together a great staff

      • BK26

        It’s a very unique and new idea. Innovative.

        Like what Seattle used to be. Innovative

      • TomLPDX

        Well, you’re talking about it now and I’m listening. I hadn’t really thought about this angle but once you brought it up, it makes too much sense.

        This was a very intriguing article Rob, thank you.

  5. KennyBadger

    💯 I’m in.

    Stroud may end up being awesome regardless of coordinator but to watch the Texans offense is to see guys consistently open and witness shrewd use of the running game.

    If he is the hire, who starts at qb next year?

    • Orcas Viking

      Hire Slowik, drop Geno, sign Lock up for 3 years at $5M/year. See if he can unlock Lock and at the same time draft a new QB within the next two years.

      • MarkinSeattle

        Agreed. Try drafting a QB this year and let Lock take a turn for a year or two before promoting the new QB. Move on from Geno, Adams, Diggs and maybe some of the other over priced non contributors.

  6. Blitzy the Clown

    Slowik has been my second choice behind Johnson from the drop for all the reasons you mentioned. Shanahan tree wunderkind. Tremendous success with a rookie QB. Brilliant scheming as evidenced in games like the WC vs Cleveland. Likable, relatable. You’d think he’d welcome sharing responsibility with his defensive equal. Especially since he was but a lowly PFF analyst a few years ago.

    Say, if Ejiro Evero is the DC, what’s the chances we could get Brian Burns in FA to come along with him? Too expensive? Eh, one can dream…

    • Rob Staton

      I think Carolina will tag Burns

    • Patrick Toler

      I would be excited about any of the young offensive wunderkind in part because I would assume that they have nailed the interview/reference part of the interview if they get the nod. Vrabel is the non-OC type I would be most optimistic about.

      • Lonnie Anderson

        What’s your thoughts on David Shaw as a candidate?

        • Rob Staton


          • MGoCard

            💯 agree Rob.

        • Sean Z

          loved you in WKRP

  7. Uncle Bob

    For all those who believe having a play calling Svengali is the only qualification in the “modern NFL”, I urge you to read Sheil Kapedia’s column on how to interview a potential head coach. (Pete haters will get an extra treat from the buried inferences).

    IF Slowik is a HC capable guy (not just a good OC), then pairing up with Schneider would be one of the smartest life choices he ever makes. Of the 6 teams currently looking for a new HC, is there any one that has as high a quality GM to work with as the Seahawks? Especially if you have regard for branches of the Green Bay management tree? If I’m pitching the Hawks to Slowik and his agent I’m hitting that factor hard to give him a boost for success. Again……………..IF he’s got the chops…………….

    • Rob Staton

      For all those who believe having a play calling Svengali is the only qualification in the “modern NFL”, I urge you to read Sheil Kapedia’s column on how to interview a potential head coach.

      To be fair, I don’t think many people see it this way. This is often a bit of a smear directed at those people who acknowledge the league has gone a certain way, that there are benefits to having tactically excellent offensive coaches and want to see this approach moving forward, and that you guard against having your play-caller poached if they’re the Head Coach

      I wish I could have a dollar for every time a supporter of Ben Johnson or Bobby Slowik for the Seahawks gig is described as an ‘internet person’ or ‘nerd’ or whatever. A lot of people who are supportive of these candidates also acknowledge the need for leadership, having a good staff, having a clear vision etc.

      You could just as easily turn it around and say… what good is Dan Quinn or a candidate like that if he can deliver great speeches in front of the guys July-December, command the room and be a true guy’s guy leader — but come January, his defense is getting picked apart by a first-year QB because his tactical details are crap?

      • Uncle Bob

        That’s why I used the qualifier ONLY…………

        • king

          Did anybody ever say, ‘I want an offensive savant who can’t lead a team, that can’t motivate people, that can’t build a winning culture’? A certain minimum standard in those areas is assumed.

          Scheme is king in the modern game, but scheme is meaningless if you can’t get the players to believe and to actually execute it.

    • McZ

      McVay came in and found Snead and a middling franchise. Shanahan came into what was a crap franchise and had a major say in choosing the GM. McVay went to two SB, winning one. Shanahan had one and is on the road to his second.

      So, having a GM doesn’t seem to be a driving factor.

      What we have now is a GM wielding all the power in roster decisions. This has to be a big questionmark, perhaps even a downer for a coach like Slowik.

      Keep talking about the culture-crap and how talented the roster is vs being able to raze the whole damn thing to the ground, if there is a clear vision driving it. Those two things are utterly incompatible, and I think JS is still in the first camp. So I wonder if Johnson or Slowik as sure members of the other camp would want to come here.

      If JS is smart, having secured all the power, the most important move is to trustably be able to delegate those powers.

  8. CaB

    Rob, it’s great to see you energized and engaged after a pretty tough season – I’m certainly more excited about this team than I have been in years.

    I’m trying not to have favorites and trust John, he’s ultimately the one privy to all the interviews. And I think he’s handled this process flawlessly so far, both in actions and statements.

  9. Gross MaToast

    This is The Guy.

    I think if Quinn was the target all along, he would’ve been announced by now. Maybe the same for Vrabel. What’s stopping JS from grabbing either before someone else does if he’s dead set on one of them? Certainly either would jump at the offer.

    JS can obviously pull from his list of contacts and fill staff, as will likely be necessary with an appointment like this. And anyone he brings in at DC is going to be an improvement over what we’ve seen for the last 6-8 years. This may be how the modern franchise is built from here out.

    It’s hard to believe that JS has waited 14 years to gain control only to bring in either: a) A Pete protoge who is still great friends with Pete, or b) A guy who’s going to have a lot of opinions about how JS should be doing his job. John wants to run the franchise.

    Yeah, maybe it takes time for Bobby Slick to grow into the role, but that’s fine. At least the franchise is committed to growing towards something as opposed to the “run it back,” “pumped and juiced to get out there and get it figured out,” Tater/Nate model that’s dominated the last decade.

    • BK26

      It just seems too perfect. John picking a protege, an apprentice. This is the guy. This is the way. we fully retire “pay the iron price” for “this is the guy, this is the way…?”

      • Rob Staton

        They might pay the iron price after making this the way…

    • Big Mike

      Really excellent logic here Gross, especially as it concerns Quinn and Vrabel. Between you, Rob and what Shanahan said about Slowik I’m pretty hopeful here.

  10. Jordan Chevis

    Love the way you write, sophisticated and clear – your points come across very well thought out. Thanks for all these articles, I am checking daily for the next

    • Rob Staton

      Thank you

  11. Jeff

    Great analysis Rob! I found this comment intriguing “What if it’s a hint that he’s the one doing due diligence behind the scenes to create a staff?”

    Related to getting a young gun offensive mind, how would you compare and contrast the pros and cons of Ben Johnson and Bobby Slowik? Are there any pros of Slowik over Johnson?

    • Rob Staton

      Background with Shanahan and using some of those concepts?

      I prefer Johnson though because I think the players at Detroit are similar to Seattle’s and I can easily imagine what success looks like

  12. Joseph

    Rob, what do you make of Holmgren telling John to go with an Offensive coach? You think John we’ll listen?

    Also do you follow Daniel Kelly? He’s well know scout: had this to say about Rattler:

    • Rob Staton

      Rattler’s play is underrated

      He’ll have a bunch of questions to answer about his time at Oklahoma (I know some of them) but if he answers them well, he can soar

      • seaspunj

        can you see Rattler fall to 2nd or even 3rd round?

        i can maybe see a Will Levis situation

        also calling this in advance … Schneider trades down from 16

        • Peter

          Usually rail against this but if you can get a great center and/or a byron murphy for dline I’m in.

        • Rob Staton

          I can see Rattler going anywhere, a very fluid situation

          But he has a lot of talent

      • Peter

        Fine by me. I’m ready for that trade down get Rattler mid 20’s get the F grade and go get van pran and zintner.

        • Rob Staton

          And if you don’t want a QB hey go put Troy Fautanu next to Van Pran and Zinter and there’s your OL set up for a long old time

          • Peter

            Could you imagine…..

            • Big Mike

              If only….

      • Mr drucker in hooterville

        Here’s another article about Rattler.
        If Seattle hires Slowick and Rattler continues to be underrated and we can get him at 16, that is a franchise-changing scenario.

  13. Olyhawksfan

    JS has watched Shanahan and McVay torch us for years. He’s watched Mahomes and Allen torch the league for years.

    I’m confident that if you were to ask him what’s his dream scenario, it would be a Shanahan coach with a young gun slinger. Not Geno Smith and Dan Quinn.

    • BrandoK

      Just hearing Geno at QB and Dan Quinn at HC just makes me detest the thought of it.

  14. nfendall

    If we could get Slowik and manage to get Evero as DC to pair with him, that would be my ideal scenario if Ben Johnson is indeed headed to Washington as expected.

  15. PJ In Seattle

    I guess the era of combing PFF staff for future NFL coaches is upon us. I’m here for it. Begrudgingly maybe, but I’m old.

    Your head coach, in my opinion, needs to be in this order:

    1) A leader of men into battle. Someone who will both inspire you and ride your ass without mercy if you are giving less than 100%. You start with the basics, like Lombardi with his “Gentlemen, this is a football” speech. Stupid penalties boil your blood. Bullshit tackling, even worse. But someone who also has a high enough EQ to connect with people as human beings and understand their struggles. Particularly when it comes to injuries, which are a given in the game.

    2) Has a deep enough understanding of the X’s and O’s to call a game themselves, if necesary. In today’s NFL, that is heavily slanted toward the offense. And likely to be that way for some time. A defensive-leaning coach could do it. But an offensive minded HC in a league that bends that direction more and more, has a an advantage.

    3) Understands and accepts his role in the overall franchise. Is not power-mad in insisisting he must have GM powers and ‘buy the groceries’. You are paid to coach, you will have input, but it’s ultimately not your call on who we draft or what trade or FA moves we make. Accept that another member of the team has that responsibility and work harmoniously with them to bring championships. Others will ultimnately buy the grocieries – it is your job to deliver the spectacular meal.

    I honestly don’t know enough about any of these candidates to know how they fit this criteria, but I trust that John Schneider does. Rooting for him to pick a winner.

    • PJ in Seattle

      Should have added – knows how to manage a game clock and timeouts but, if not, hires someone to literally focus 100% on that and be in my ear on the sideline for every game.

      • Peter

        I’ve long wondered how many wins were left on the table by being very bad at timeouts, challenges, and overall situational down and distance. A game a year? In 17 and previously q6 games that’s a pretty big swing.

        • PJ In Seattle

          Maybe it was dumb luck but I will never forget Bill Belichick letting the clock run at the end of that horrid Super Bowl in AZ. Maybe he was just agog and not even playing chess but he let precious seconds keep running and leaving NE with nothing but a miracle few sonds to workwith if we scored . And that then transferred 100% of the pressure onto the Seahawks, with their steamheaded, mofofacin’ yet not elite at goalline RB pawing the dirt and to run and yet the clock was ticking and no time outs…

          I don’t hate the pass play. I hate THAT pass play. Best call was to roll Russell out, take the TD if it’s there but, if not, throw it away or incomplete and serve up an epic push at the goaline on the next play with nothing left on the clock that even Tom Brady could answer to.

          I have re-lived this so many times. Sorry to share here.

          • John

            100%. Passing is fine, just not THAT pass.

            • Big Mike

              Yep. Fade to the corner to Mathews would’ve been fine too.

  16. OTS

    Michael Bumpus had an interesting take on the radio. He favors a defensive-minded head coach because, really, what offensive coach or coordinator are you going to hire that can win a shootout with Shanahan or McVay? They’re the two best offensive minds in the game.

    Bumpus’ argument was to zag and hire a defensive head coach who could slow down the 49ers and Rams-type schemes. Take that a step farther, you’re looking for a coach with proven success against those 90’s San Francisco or Denver or Green Bay West Coast Offenses that Shanahan, McVay, and many others have their roots in.

    This year, Mike MacDonald proved, at least for a game, that he had a Shanahan antidote. He appears to have a great rapport with his players. In previous years the Belichick scheme — implemented by Bill, Patricia, Flores, others — has been effective against those offenses. Belichick’s fundamentals are way different than Pete’s or Quinn’s. Those defenses tend to have big, physical, but slower linebackers that blitz, more two-gapping linemen, and sticky man coverage defensive backs. Physicality seems to be valued more than speed, whereas the Seahawks scheme has been more of a fast cover-chase linebacker, single-gap lineman rush, and zone coverage approach.

    On the above, I’ve really come around to Mike Vrabel. He brings the right scheme, enough experience to have worked out the kinks of being the lead dog, and is relatable enough as a former player that he doesn’t have negatives of Belichick tree guys like Patricia or McDaniels. Next MacDonald, Patrick Graham, or perhaps another defensive coach in that vein yet to be interviewed. I’m not sure that coaches who run a Carroll or Fangio scheme are going to have success in a division where you play SFO and LAR four times a season.

    I suppose the counterargument to all of this defense talk is that the QB position is king in the modern NFL. If developing a quarterback is key, you really have to like Ben Johnson or Bobby Slowik.

    Whomever the choice, it is exciting to think about a new approach. The last few years have defined insanity.

    • Rob Staton

      With respect, I hate this argument.

      Who’s beaten the 49ers in the playoffs over the last few years? Eagles, Rams, Chiefs.

      It isn’t a defensive-centric team restricting Kyle Shanahan. Good luck with that. Too clever, too many weapons. You have to throw punches back. You have to put points on the board. Those teams won those games because they had offensive power and were offensive led.

      Look at the Ravens. They beat the 49ers 33-19, not 10-7. They scored points. They applied scoreboard pressure and said to Shanahan — ‘right, you can’t just run McCaffrey and chip away now, you’ve got to put this on the arm of Brock Purdy’.

      We can sit here and say Mike Macdonald did a great job and he did. But guess what — without Lamar Jackson having almost a flawless game, it doesn’t happen. He completed passes to eight different players, ran away from pressure and was on the money throughout. They attacked the Niners.

      If you appoint a defensive HC, you will still need:

      a.) a really good OC, who you’ll end up needing to replace
      b.) a great QB

      And it comes back to this — why not appoint the offensive play-caller as your Head Coach so you never lose them, never disrupt the QB and just appoint a quality DC, who is less likely to leave anyway because the league isn’t going after defensive coaches?

      • LouCityHawk


      • LouCityHawk


        I have been hearing this chorus over and over

        “all the good offensive minds have been mined”

        It’s like we learned nothing from the smartest guys in the room era.

        I’m really curious as to what the resistance is the hiring the offensive minded coach. I’ve heard a lot of clichés ‘it is just a crap shoot there’ and ‘Adam gase’…

        Is this just a case of not wanting to go with the herd? It is starting to feel like it.

        • Rob Staton

          The two things that have annoyed me most this week…

          1. Mike Salk being unable to resist mentioning ‘internet people’ every time he mentions Ben Johnson (as if the only people who want him have no clue and are a bunch of nerds). Maybe just dig around instead to find out why he’s so coveted, rather than talk so much about Harbaugh, who they are clearly not hiring?

          2. The constant references to ‘culture’ and ‘keeping the Carroll way of doing things’ — that culture has produced absolutely nothing for years and had chaos behind the scenes at times this year. Time for something different

          But a pretty near third is the growing trend to suggest that there are suddenly a dearth of good offensive candidates so we better hire someone like Quinn or Raheem Morris, or that we need to bring someone in ‘to stop McShanahan’ as if that’s something that is easily done… while we continue to watch an offense not live up to its potential despite building the team to make skill players a major strength.

          Please… 🤦‍♂️

          • Mad Dog

            I would argue that culture was probably the only thing producing wins for the Seahawks. Certainly it wasn’t game plans, clock management, half time adjustments or team health. Pete’s positivity elevated a pretty bad coaching staff to mediocrity.

      • Ots

        This is a perfectly fair point, that good OC’s are tougher to find and in greater demand than good DC’s.

        I will say this. I think McVay, Shanahan, Andy Reid and WCA disciples have figured out the Carroll and Fangio schemes that so many (most?) NFL teams run and acquire personnel for. With talent, fine, those schemes work. I do think there is a strategic advantage to doing something different, on the field and player-wise and I really hope not to see another year of quarters coverage sitting back just beyond the first down marker…

        Give me something different on defense. Brian Flores, Wink Martindale, something, anything to put some real pressure on the opponent to execute.

        • Rob Staton

          I think that’s the key — can you find that difference you and I both crave on defense, without needing to appoint a defensive HC?

          My answer would be an emphatic ‘yes’

          And my evidence to point to that would be eight of the top-13 defenses per DVOA not coming from defensive-led teams

      • Ayaamuh

        Ravens beat Miami and Lions too. It wasn’t a fluke. And the win against 49ers at SF was 33-12 before it became respectable and raven had rested Lamar.

        And if we are going to bring in a offensive HC we better not bring in someone where 49ers defence would have more familiarity with the play calls than our offense.

        • Rob Staton

          Never said it was a fluke. Simply pointing out the fact that the offense applying scoreboard pressure to San Fran, plus the turnover luck they had, was the main reason Baltimore beat San Fran.

          Even we beat the Lions FWIW, and Miami are a major paper tiger.

          Not worried about Shanahan and Slowik being familiar. Everyone knows what everyone else runs, it’s how you adapt and play off it. It’d be just as useful for us to have someone who knows what Shanahan thinks to guide the defensive staff.

          • Ayaamuh

            But that lions offense whose coordinator has been sought after in this coaching cycle could muster up just 6 points.

            • Rob Staton

              I watched that game. The Ravens were a buzzsaw on offense, got completely on top of Detroit and they couldn’t keep up. This is the point. Baltimore are VERY offensive minded with their likely MVP at QB. And the defense plays off that. We can’t just ignore that.

    • ErickV

      Well said , one of the reasons Macdonald has been my favorite choice so far has been how he was able to play the 49ers. I know most people would prefer an offensive coach , but I would be excited at the prospect of having our version of a McVay on defense.

      • Rob Staton

        It’s one game though, where the undoubted scoreboard pressure impacted the game

        Not to mention some very fortunate turnover luck for the Ravens, those picks were pretty uniquely flukey in that game and they still gave up 429 yards and 6/14 on third downs

        Macdonald is doing a heck of a job in Baltimore but I don’t see him as McVay on defense. McVay is proven special

    • BrandoK

      This is exactly what the NY Jets are good defense but terrible offense and bad QB with bad OC that changes year after year. To me Bump just wants a team exactly like the Jets at this point. That’s just a nightmare.

  17. Huggie Hawks

    Dammit Rob, you’ve sold me, this is the guy. Well done on all the articles you are churning out.

    • Rob Staton

      Thank you

  18. Andrew M

    McVay, Shanahan, and McDermott, were all hired in 2017. Anthony Lynn was the coveted coach at the time, and this article has a few interesting nuggets to parse about the coaching cycle that year.

    McVay was, of course, paired up with Wade Philips, and the team hasn’t looked back. But he also wasn’t the most coveted head coach from that time. Anthony Lynn was, who also came from an offensive background/scheme.

    • Rob Staton

      Great find

      • Andrew M

        google: Sean Mcvay 2017 NFL coaches

        It’s good to go look at the year Mcvay was hired, and see who the competition was (Shanahan!). I really want the Hawks to go get their Mcvay. And I don’t mind sitting through a couple coaching hires to get there. Hire a young guy with energy and ideas. If that doesn’t work, you look again. I hope this fanbase is ready for a search-

        • Mad Dog

          If they can get it right the first time, I’d be much happier. Your willingness to wait it out likely means you have no skin ing the game (don’t have season tickets or attend many games). When you are putting out a couple thousand bucks every year, you don’t want a 10 year wait until greatness.

    • BrandoK

      It’s really interesting to see that the only coaches that work out was the ones that called there plays on their side of the ball too. All the other candidates just were just over seeing everything.

      The trends of the NFL has changed to have coaches either call the plays on offense or defense less GM types. While there are still some HC’s that don’t the majority of them call there plays.

  19. DJ 1/2 way

    Another great read that will stick in our minds for a while. Thanks Rob .

    I am on board with the idea that if it was a coach out of the playoffs that the Seahawks wanted then they would have this done. Also, John is using this time and these interviews to learn as much about the league and coaches as possible for future reference.

    If Slowick is the guy does that influece the rookie QB you would select? Likely he could work with any of them, and obviously he is working with CJ Stroud. Is Rattler a good fit? I like the comments above about giving Lock a shot.

  20. Palatypus

    I suspect this will be emphasised even further if/when Raheem Morris, Ejiro Eviro, Patrick Graham and maybe even Dan Quinn don’t get Head Coaching offers, while the offensive-minded guys are preferred. We’ll see what happens….

    …Bobby Slowik was not a household name 12 months ago. His work with Houston has elevated him into the spotlight. It’s been such a meteoric rise, that most people don’t know that a few years ago he was working for PFF as an analyst — appearing on podcasts discussing the NFL with Zac Robinson (now working with the Rams).

    I fear that the Seahawks might be following the herd with their new hire, rather than making a paradigm shift. A paradigm shift is what we did when we won the Super Bowl, All of the great offenses, like New Orleans and Denver, were about Yards-After-Catch. Our Lombardi team missed exactly one tackle in that game and it was only because the MVP Malcolm Smith knocked Bruce Irvin out of bounds to tackle the tight end with broken ribs from Kam Chancellor earlier in the game.

    Shanahan and McVay ended that era, but I don’t want to be on the tail end of a trend.

    Let’s not be the death of disco.

    Also, those PFF guys got the red carpet treatment at the Senior Bowl last year. I’ll keep you posted.

    • UkAlex6674

      What do you suggest they do to make a ‘paradigm’ shift?

  21. Jordan

    Kerry Joseph will be getting an up close look coaching Rattler at the Senior Bowl.

  22. Jo

    As usual you are like 2 years ahead of everyone Rob. I’m very happy that you don’t ignore me because I’m not that smart and get too passionate about the Seahawks. But I know what we need to challenge McVay and Shanahan and it’s someone their age with an offensive mindset and a young quarterback. But somebody that builds the lines especially if the quarterback isn’t available.

  23. Charlie TheUnicorn2187

    I have to give the Raiders their due, they hired the right man for the job. Pierce took a team, which was a complete mess, and turned them around by the end of the year as an interim coach. The shocking part is that they rewarded him by making the permeant HC. A very unRaiders thing to do.

    I love that Seattle is most likely talking to 4-8 guys who may al bring something really unique and special to Seattle. Vrabel, Johnson, Slowick….. I’m excited to see how they each could unlock the offense and hang some points on anyone in the league.

  24. Jo

    If Shanahan can be successful with Purdy let’s target Rattler and build our trenches with a coach that isn’t afraid to prove himself. I’m so tired of retreat . Andy Reid was never that by the way that whole deal was a typical Philadelphia shit show.

  25. L80

    I live 40 ,iles N. of Houston so I get a LOT of Texans news and former Hawk Sean Salisbury is on the local radio here. He’s constantly having good things to say about Slowik.

    It would make it double exciting to hire an unknown HC candidate. Especially one that is considered to be bright, and can relate to the game as it has become today.

    I’ve kinda adopted the Texans as my 2nd team, so should I root for them to lose today so JS can snag an interview?….Can’t do it, this area is as starved for some football relevance as any team in the nation, and they have a few ex Hawks on the roster.

  26. Rob Staton

    We are interviewing Ben Johnson today:

    • Murphy

      I initially read this as you,Rob Staton, were interviewing Ben Johnson…. I guess having the Seahawks interview him is a good consolation prize haha

      • Rob Staton


  27. Tallyhawk

    Rob your articles highlighting each candidate are fantastic. I love how you are able to make a case for and against each, even the less exciting hires like Quinn and Vrabel. I’ll get on board with whoever JS hires but I think he’s going to want to put his mark on the organization. He’s likely only getting one shot at this which I’m sure he knows. I think he wants to make an aggressive bold move. The case you just made for Slowik could be it. It would also bring his NFL journey full circle. When he was hired he was a young up and coming first time GM. He got paired with an established HC who had been around the league for years, even if PC had been in college for some time. Now he’s the league vet who’s been around for some time. He can bring in a bright young coach and mentor/work with similar to how PC did.

    • Rob Staton

      Increasingly I think you are right. Schneider will back himself to build the roster and get the players. He’ll want someone who is happy to cede that control and work with the pieces he delivers. I think that’s sound logic.

      And I much prefer that to be an offensive mind who can get the most out of DK, JSN, Lockett and the two RB’s than someone who will have to find an OC from somewhere, anywhere to do that.

      • SonGoku

        Rob, do you think with QB they could go out and try to build the trenches this year and target the QB next year? Could Quinn Ewers be a target then or is he projected (as of now) to go too early for them to have a chance?

        • BK26

          Ewers is going back to Texas.

  28. GerryG

    Getting another McVay is akin to drafting another Mahomes. It sounds great and all but you’re unicorn hunting. I remember a few years back listening to McVay on the Flying Coach podcast and realized just how special he is. To me, just watching from afar as a fan, him and Shanahan are peers on the play sheet, but McVay is the far superior talent when it comes to managing personnel, vibes, leadership etc.

    None of this is to say BS should or shouldn’t be the guy, but he does need to be more than just amazing schematically. I’m not worried about a lack of experience, we often say at work when we are looking to add folks, “it’s what they have done, not how long they have been doing it”.

    Brandon Staley was/is great schematically on the D side of things, but couldn’t manage a team or keep it together when the sh*t hit the fan. Problem is it’s much harder to gauge that than an XO’s philosophy.

    I do have confidence for now that they are casting a wide net and are considering everything: scheme,, personality leadership etc.

  29. Eduardo Ballori

    On another interesting note, Saw the our QB coach Kerry Joseph will coach the American Senior Bowl side and will have on his squad Spencer Rattler. There are some other QBs there but hope that this goes a long way in Schneider getting a inside scoop on someone like Rattler.

  30. Peter

    One low key positive about this coaching search is I’m finally making a tiny dent into Rob’s massive Horizontal board. Which kills me because by the time I get through oline and dline the senior bowl will be over and I’m sure those rankings will change.

    • Rob Staton

      New board coming next week 😂

      • Peter


        Coach is the most important thing. But I can’t wait to talk to you and the crew about some names I’m recently getting excited about.

        Teaser: ruke orhororo needs work but….some of his first step quickness is eyepopping

      • seaspunj

        looking forward to it!

        let the draft scouting speculation begin!

  31. KitsapHawk

    Really enjoyed this article, which talks about how Slowik wound up at pff and plenty of other things:

  32. 6x2 Stack monster

    Dan Quinn is a quality coach but to hire him or any other DC would feel like a Tyrone Willingham kind of hire. How excited did the Husky fan base get with the hiring of Peterson and Deborer and the potential to have explosive offensive football to watch. Hell even Sark’s hire brought some of that vibe too.

    • Rob Staton

      It’d just feel like a 9-8 type appointment

      • Big Mike

        That’s just some 9-8 bullshit!
        *Jeff Fisher

        • BK26

          Jeff Fisher is offended. Never go OVER .500….

  33. Troy

    Looks like the initial round of HC interviews will be completed tomorrow.

    Evero, Graham – Jan 17
    F. Smith, Quinn -Jan 18
    Kafka, Morris – Jan 19
    B. Johnson – Jan 20
    Slowick – Jan 21


    • Palatypus

      If I were John Schneider, I would call Jim Harbaugh just to tell him that he is NOT being considered. Just troll him.

      • cha

        Nah. Silence speaks louder.

  34. Palatypus

    Spencer Rattler’s NIL agreement was with Steinberg Sports when he was with Oklahoma, but last year Leigh Steinberg and Chris Cabbott split up. Now, Cabbott runs equity sports which represents Rattler.

    • Palatypus

      And as you can see from the link, also represents Patrick Mahommes.

    • Rob Staton

      And I’ve been in touch with them about an interview, fingers crossed down the line

  35. ShowMeYourHawk

    Obviously, it likely depends on the HC (and subsequently, the OC) hired but are we looking at a complete OL rebuild? I suppose Cross’ first round pedigree and showing that he’s a capable, if not fantastic, left tackle gives his some room to start and grow. But between Abe’s wonky knees, Lewis’ free agency and Brown’s milquetoast play, is there anything to feel good about going forward?

    Does Bradford get a shot at locking down the full-time RG position? What do we have in Olu Olu? There was much excitement when he fell to us later than anticipated in the draft but he was used sparingly this season and it seems everyone has written him off as a potential contributor. Is he already just ballast?

    Once JS begins slashing at the roster to create cap room, are there any FAs to be available that we should anticipate him bringing in, as we surely can’t address all the holes in the draft?

    Thanks, Rob!

    • cha

      I think there are just too many variables to know at this point. No doubt the whole roster will be evaluated in the light of John Schneider’…unobstructed vision. The coach and staff will play a huge part as well.

      But it is another reason to want an offensive coach. McVay has coached through very volatile offensive line performances. Stefanski did it this year (with a handful of QBs I might add). Nobody is hailing San Francisco’s offensive line as the vanguard of the NFL (aside from Trent Williams that is).

      It is encouraging that Slowinski and Johnson have done what they have with their teams despite not having some diamond-studded lines.

  36. Mr drucker in hooterville

    Rob, you’ve looked at JS’s relationship with Ron Wolfe. Is it fair to say that Wolfe was not afraid to hire coordinators with no HC experience? John Schneider mentioned at his press conference that he had recently visited with Wolf. Perhaps it was asking Wolf about this ….

    • Rob Staton

      The people I know who know Wolf, didn’t make reference to that

  37. Sean


    In your interview with Viens you mentioned how unusual it was for Peter King to push a coaching candidate (I’m paraphrasing). My recollection is that he did something similar with Mike McCarthy and Dallas. I have not found the article, but he had a lead story about the evolution of McCarthy and how he’d studied and thought and grown, etc., since his firing by the Packers. I think he was at MMQB back then.

    • Rob Staton

      It’s very possible he has both coaches as contacts and is doing them a solid

  38. JoeG

    Will be hard to get fans excited for Slowik after this loss. Just like Quinn, “ I don’t want to judge a coach on one game, but this loss leaves a bad taste in your mouth.” Especially when it’s a game of such significance.

    • Rob Staton

      The Quinn situation is totally different to this though

      Home team, heavy favourite, expected to win, established team — Dallas gets blown out

      Road team, big underdog, expected to lose, rookie QB, upstart overachieving roster — Houston

      • Palatypus

        Add to that Houston had some big key injuries.

  39. Adam

    Well after last night It’s Macdonald for me, he’s pulled Slowiks, Johnson’s, Shanahan’s, Macvay and our pants down this season. It’s clear he builds a formidable defense.

    • Rob Staton

      1. They haven’t even requested an interview with him to this point

      2. I am eternally surprised that people don’t realise that this isn’t some magician DC, it’s the best team in the league by a distance led by a MVP QB who apply scoreboard pressure and get after opponents, built by a philosophy that has been there for over 20 years. You cannot transplant that by hiring one Ravens coach

      • Adam

        But hiring someone who can’t fathom how to beat it is the best we can do?
        Macdonald can bring the right “Culture” (hope that boiled your blood 😄)

        • Rob Staton

          It’s too simplistic a way of looking at it though. It’s not Mike Macdonald vs Kyle Shanahan or Bobby Slowik. It’s the NFL MVP Lamar Jackson applying massive scoreboard pressure, it’s a SB winning Head Coach, it’s a roster built by people who over 20 odd years have won two SB’s and might be about to win a third. It’s having a DL coach who himself is getting HC requests and acts as Assistant HC and has tremendous influence.

          Macdonald has done a great job but this idea that if you bring him to Seattle this is transferable, I’m afraid, is for the birds. There are so many things about the Ravens you can’t bring with him.

          That’s before we get into the fact he might struggle to build a staff, given one of his key contacts is about to take the Chargers job and John will likely replace from within. So who comes with him to set up the Ravens culture? Who is his offensive coordinator?? A vital hire. And when are you building a staff if they make the SB? After everyone has plucked the market of the best options? That can’t be underestimated.

          Or for that matter, the fact that as I type this, they haven’t even requested an interview.

          • Adam

            Wouldn’t the same be said of Ryan’s to Houston? If we had a half decent defense we’d be contenders.

            • Rob Staton

              No, how is it comparable to Houston?

              And the whole point is Houston have had lost of their success… because of their QB and Slowik

    • McZ

      McDonald is a great DC. He completely turned around Patrick Queen, who was a sloppy tackler. He uses Hamilton as the kind of backfield general ET was. That said, he Ravens defense was on the field for only 22 minutes, because the offense controlled the clock. They hang 229 yd of rushing on a completely overwhelmed run defense.

      About Slowik… 3yd total offense is certainly nothing to write home about. They completely lost the run, and their play design didn’t deceive anybody. Stroud at times had forever to throw, but his receivers were blanked. He’s nowhere close to McVay.

      I still think he’s the dude.

      And the central thing to learn to me is to consequently draft best player available. Zay Flowers puts the JSN pick to shame.

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