Is it a case of no smoke without fire when it comes to Mike Vrabel and the Seahawks?

A couple of days ago we noted the sudden buzz surrounding Mike Vrabel and the Seahawks. In an appearance on the Dan Patrick show, Adam Schefter revealed John Schneider and Vrabel had ‘a great relationship’. Peter King connected Vrabel to Seattle saying it would ‘make sense’. Gregg Bell did a piece projecting betting odds, putting Vrabel as the 3/1 favourite for the gig.

It all came out of the blue on the same day. Now we have a new report on the same topic. ESPN’s Dan Graziano played matchmaker with all of the teams looking to hire a Head Coach. He paired Seattle with Vrabel:

I know, he hasn’t even shown up on the Seahawks’ interview list yet. And sure, Quinn has a connection to Seattle from his time as its defensive coordinator under Carroll. The Vrabel thing is a bit of a hunch, though I do have several sources who share the same hunch and the idea that he could be a sneaky late entry into this pool.

It’s almost certainly a coincidence that the Carroll news broke the day after the news that the Titans had fired Vrabel. But it’s also possible that the opportunity the current high-level candidate list offers is part of the reason Seattle decided now was the time to make a change.

There’s not a lot of meat on the bone here. Graziano simply refers to sources sharing a hunch. Yet it’s a hunch that is starting to do the rounds through various reporters.

So what’s going on?

Firstly, I think this could be partly instigated by the Vrabel camp. Everyone expected he would go back to New England but they appointed Jared Mayo instead. With the Chargers seemingly set on Jim Harbaugh, the Raiders with Antonio Pierce and the Falcons — short of any movement from Dallas to remove Mike McCarthy — positioning to hire Bill Belichick, there aren’t that many alternatives for Vrabel.

He’s been around Adam Peters the new Washington GM before, because Peters worked for the Patriots when Vrabel played in New England. However, as we’ve been saying, the word on the street is Peters has been communicating with Ben Johnson to team up. The hot candidate in this hiring cycle, Johnson appears destined for Washington unless things change.

Having just left the Titans and with the only other open gig in Carolina, it’s possible Vrabel looks at the coaching landscape and sees the Seahawks as his best and possibly only realistic option to jump straight back in. It wouldn’t be unheard of for a few well placed calls to go in by an agent, generating a little media buzz around Vrabel and the Seahawks. It can’t do any harm because at the moment, nobody’s talking about him. It feels like he needs his name out there at a time when Johnson, Bobby Slowik, Mike Macdonald and others are getting most of the attention.

That’s not to say there’s nothing in this link. Such an appointment would make a lot of sense for the Seahawks. Vrabel is highly rated and had a lot of success in Tennessee initially.

It’s worth noting again all that he achieved. He led the Titans to the AFC Championship game in his second season, beating the Patriots and Ravens on the road (ending the Brady/Belichick era in the process) before losing to eventual Champions Kansas City. He followed that up by going 23-10 in the next two seasons, although they lost close playoff games to Baltimore and Cincinnati. He won coach of the year in 2021.

Things were really motoring at this stage but then GM Jon Robinson shockingly traded A.J. Brown during the 2022 draft. It was a calamitous error, preferring a cheap rookie (Treylon Burks) instead of paying Brown. Vrabel’s disbelieving reaction was captured on camera once the plan was enacted.

That was the beginning of the end for the Titans under Vrabel. They started 7-3 in 2022 but after dropping two games to Cincinnati and Philadelphia, Robinson was fired. They ended the season on a seven-game losing streak. That run included four games where they lost by four points or less. You have to wonder what would’ve happened with Brown still on the roster.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry both aged and talk about their futures was persistent. It created a weird dynamic. The Titans under Robinson drafted Malik Willis to plan for life after Tannehill. Interim GM Ryan Cowden actually set up the team for the 2023 draft, where they selected another quarterback in Will Levis. The situation became quite muddled, especially when they chose Ron Carthon to replace Cowden in the hot-seat. They’ve had three decision makers running the roster in three years.

Jumping between QB’s plus constant chatter about Henry’s future, not to mention a host of injuries to the defense, meant the Titans finished Vrabel’s final season 6-11. Yet you can legitimately challenge how much responsibility he has for that, especially given the way his team continued to fight until the bitter end — preventing Jacksonville from winning the AFC South with a hard-nosed victory in week 18. They also had the #1 red zone defense in the league this season and the #18 ranked defense despite all of the injuries. They punched the Seahawks in the mouth on Christmas Eve and nearly won, despite missing half of their roster.

For Seattle he’d be a ready-made Head Coach, working with a far more settled front office unlikely to pull any shock moves like the Brown trade. If he can get the Titans to the AFC Championship without a lot of stars other than Henry and Brown, you wonder what he could do with more talent at his disposal.

It’s also important to note what kind of coach Vrabel is. He’s described as defensive-minded but he is to the extent Dan Campbell is offensive-minded. Both coaches are figurehead types. Both are highly aggressive, focus a lot on situational football and pay attention to analytics.

As with Campbell, the staff appointments are critical. In Detroit, Campbell had the 29th ranked offense (per DVOA) under Anthony Lynn. After switching to Ben Johnson, their offense has been ranking in the top-10 (#5 this year).

Vrabel’s first offensive coordinator hire in Tennessee was Matt LaFleur, as he looked to tap into the Sean McVay tree. With hindsight it was an inspired decision as LaFleur has done well in Green Bay. It also spoke to Vrabel being open-minded about offensive trends.

LaFleur didn’t have a successful year as the team went 9-7. The Titans lost Marcus Mariota to injury, Delanie Walker missed virtually the entire season and the O-line was banged up. They finished 25th in DVOA for offense. Despite that, he was still hired by the Packers after just one season as an offensive coordinator.

He was replaced by Arthur Smith, who helped craft the AFC Championship run in 2019, then led the #5 offense (per DVOA) in the NFL in 2020. He might be a bit of a figure of fun currently, given how things ended in Atlanta — yet when he was hired by the Falcons, he was seen as one of the hot coaching candidates in the NFL. Smith’s departure was met with widespread disappointment in Tennessee.

After going 2/2 with his hires, Vrabel then couldn’t repeat the act. His third offensive coordinator, Todd Downing, was fired after two seasons. Tim Kelly took over in 2023. Again though, this also coincided with losing Brown and Henry going from ‘superhero’ to at least a more mortal version of a brilliant running back. Ryan Tannehill only played in 12 games in 2022 due to injury — with Joshua Dobbs and the rookie Willis filling in. This year they broke in another rookie in Levis. Great offensive output shouldn’t have been expected, especially with constant injuries to the offensive line.

The two big takeaways here are — Vrabel has shown an ability to get these hires right initially in his time at Tennessee which is encouraging. However, John Schneider specifically mentioned yesterday the problem with successful offensive play-callers being poached. That happened to Vrabel twice. You can’t keep replacing OC’s and retain success, even if the Brown trade made life tricky for Downing and Kelly.

That line on coordinators was quite telling from Schneider yesterday and one of my main takeaways from the press conference, as noted in my reaction piece, was the feeling he’s focused on a young, offensive-minded coach in tune with the modern NFL. I’d guess that’s what Jody Allen and Bert Kolde want too, even if everyone’s open-minded to alternatives.

When Schneider was asked directly if he had any input on the decision to part with Carroll, he refrained from answering apart from to say Carroll knew his opinion on where they needed to improve, as did ownership. My impression is Carroll wanted to ‘run things back’, retaining most of the personnel, philosophy and coaching. Schneider, I’d suggest, favoured a different approach featuring bigger personnel and philosophical changes including the drafting of a quarterback in the near future — a view I think ownership shares. That would mean pairing your offensive coach with a new quarterback as has been the modus operandi in Green Bay for decades.

Schneider also admitted they’re having to compete for candidates, which to me means Ben Johnson, the coach Mike Garafolo recently called ‘the belle of the ball’ in this cycle. He ticks every box and, to me at least, is the obvious person to make the #1 target. If Johnson is truly destined for Washington, what are the other options? Is Bobby Slowik ready for a top job if they want a young offensive mind?

The Seahawks, quite rightly, are going through a process. They are right to interview a large number of candidates. Picking the brains of different coaches from different teams and schemes is what they should do. Yet they’ll likely have a ‘name’ or ‘names’ at the top of their long list.

If they are competing for Johnson and miss out, there’s a situation where someone like Vrabel could become extremely appealing. He’s been there, done it. I think it’d be an easy hire to sell to fans.

Further to that, the coordinator he had most success with — Arthur Smith — is available. He’s also unlikely to be poached any time soon after failing in Atlanta. So there’s an opportunity to create a water-tight staff where there are no concerns about your offensive play-caller being poached. If Smith recreates the success he had with Vrabel in Tennessee, nobody will be complaining.

Therefore, I think Vrabel should be considered a dark horse for this job. Perhaps, you could say, Plan B. However, I still think Schneider’s words point towards a plan to go with a young, innovative offensive coach and the top candidate who fits that bill is Ben Johnson. If they compete for him and lose out, and if they think Bobby Slowik is a bit too green, it’s plausible they could pivot to the established Vrabel.


  1. bmseattle

    This all makes sense.
    Vrabel would make sense if the young, offensive minded guys are off the table.

    Still, it would be somewhat underwhelming, and I am doubtful that this is the preferred path for JS.
    The fact that Vrabel’s name isn’t being talked up tells you that other teams feel the same.
    I’d prefer him over Quinn, for sure… but I really hope we don’t end up with our 3rd or 4th choice in this process.
    Which is what it feels like Vrabel would be.

    • Rob Staton

      The fact that Vrabel’s name isn’t being talked up tells you that other teams feel the same.

      There might be reasons for that though.

      Chargers — seem set on Harbaugh
      Falcons — seem set on Harbaugh or Belichick
      Raiders — their players are threatening to demand trades if Pierce doesn’t get it
      Washington — seem set on Johnson
      Carolina — just a shambles

      It’s hard to know where he would be linked if all of the above is accurate, thus maybe why the connections to Seattle are being chucked out there

      • Peter

        I was thinking more simply that he’s not coaching so no one needs to make any requests?

        Or perhaps he’s not fielding calls. Waiting on something?

    • Huggie Hawk

      If Arthur smith is hired in any capacity, I will simply take a vacation from being a Hawks fan until that regime is inevitably fired after marginal to no success.

      • Rob Staton

        You see, stuff like this sounds a bit silly to me.

        The league is full of quality coordinators who weren’t cut out to be Head Coaches. Look at Jim Schwartz, Steve Spagnuolo etc.

        Smith was a great coordinator for the Titans. But we’re going to act now like he’s totally useless because he flopped as a HC? Come on

        • nfendall

          My belief as to why people are averse to Smith as an OC are because the terrible usage of Pitts and especially Bijan, and the last thing we saw from him was a childish meltdown after the Saints scored a meaningless garbage time touchdown.

          Clearly he has shown that he can succeed as a coordinator, but I can understand why people wouldn’t like the idea.

        • Peter

          In an alternate world Pete carrol gets schwartz or spagnuolo and let’s them actually coach and he stays in Seattle another half decade.

        • SeaTown

          Very silly indeed. The Arthur Smith hate is driven by fantasy football.

          • BK26

            Maybe not hate, but could also be a worry about his inability to maximize talent/scheme his talented players open?

            If you are a fan of a team and your players aren’t utilized, might not having anything to do with fantasy football. Could be legitimate concern instead.

            • SeaTown

              Well, I didn’t watch the Falcons every week but Tyler Allgeir looked like a solid RB and as for Pitts/Drake London, well, the QB situation was atrocious. It seems Smith maximized AJ Brown, Jonuu Smith and Derrick Henry in Tennesse just fine. I’m not sure he purposely under utilized those Falcon players as the fantasy community would tell you. I’m no Arthur Smith apologist but I don’t see the benefit to purposely under utilize those players. It serves no one’s best interest.

  2. Denver Hawker

    I think Vrabel is becoming a very likely candidate for the Hawks for all the reasons you pointed out. He wouldn’t get anyone excited immediately, but could be a good fit overall.

    I also thought Schneider’s comments on revolving OCs had added context related to QB development, mentioning Alex Smith. Defensive players and schemes can be more easily replaced. The QB needs consistency in running a system so he added another comment about coaching development which I interpreted as it’s okay to lose an OC as long as you’ve got another good one in the chamber running the same system. It’s all still less ideal than an offensive system HC, but gotta play the hand dealt.

  3. Sparky

    My ears perked up when JS talked about continuing Pete’s “positive” culture. Johnson seems to fit into that. So does Raheem. But does Vrabel?

    • Rob Staton

      I wouldn’t read too much into that. I think this basically means not appointing someone who will wreck all the feel-good vibes, like Josh McDaniels has done in two jobs, Matt Patricia did in Detroit, Brian Daboll seems to be doing in New York. Vrabel seems to be much loved by his players and is not a toxic individual. But the Seahawks don’t need happy, smiley and full on energy to continue a culture of enjoying where you work.

      • Ty

        Rob, Vrabel doesn’t really fit Seattle. He could connect with the players but not with the front office or media. He seems like someone who can clash with others and I doubt JS wants that. He’s been grumpy towards the media before and that’s not a good look.

        • Rob Staton

          This is a misconception.

          Firstly, the media side. I’ve watched loads of press conferences and a two hour pod with Vrabel. He’s excellent with the media. People latched on to that clip recently where he said he’s sick of f-ing losing to a reporter. What they don’t know is he then spent a good 2-3 mins passionately explaining why, in a calm personable tone. It was a sensational answer and spoke to the respect he has for the media. There is absolutely no issue there, I can confirm that having studied how he is. He addresses media members by name and had a good rapport.

          Not that how he speaks to the media should have ANY bearing on this by the way. It might actually shake things up to have someone who is prickly.

          Secondly, there’s no evidence of him clashing with anyone. Jon Robinson was fired for one of the dumbest trades ever and rightly so. It’s been confirmed Vrabel got on fine with the replacement and his firing was more to do with the owner getting a bit silly about his ROH appearance (or whatever it’s called) in New England.

      • Sean

        I think it means Harbaugh is even more of a long shot.

  4. Sea Mode

    That’s a great point: maybe what finally made it urgent this year to move on from Pete is that JS knows this is the draft he’s going to target a QBotF and he wants whoever the next head coach will be to be on board and joined at the hip, not inherit the big investment a year or two later, a much harder sell.

  5. BK26

    I think that he’s the second wave. There isn’t going to be a push for him (unless maybe the Cowboys or Eagles do something), so he is going to be around. You aren’t necessarily scrambling around if everything falls apart.

    John got way too specific with offensive coordinators and Alex Smith for that to just be an offhand comment. That was probably the most telling thing in his press conference. Plan A has to be getting the offense every tool possible (in terms of coaching), someone to keep pace with McVay and Shanahan. That’s what John has been waiting for.

    If that doesn’t work, Vrabel coming in with a whole coaching setup and experience is a good Plan B. He might have the lowest floor of any potential coach.

    • Peter

      Lowest ceiling?

      I think he demonstrated the highest floor outside of Harbaugh with regards to average to good with average to below average rosters.

      I like the ceiling of Johnson etc but we don’t even know if they can run a team yet.

      • BK26

        Highest floor**

        Boy that makes a big difference on everything that I said!

  6. Mr drucker in hooterville

    What’s going on with N.O? Looking to interview Waldron for OC.

    • Big Mike

      They fired their OC
      No idea how Dennis Allen is still employed….

    • Big Mike

      They fired their OC
      No idea how Dennis Allen is still the HC

    • Rob Staton

      Too many nights out clearly

    • cha

      Players in New Orleans need a calm, dull, unexciting voice at practice after a night out partying on Bourbon Street. Waldron fits a very specific need and is perfect.

      • God of Thunder

        lol! I take it you’ve been to NO

        • cha

          Nope. Just seen more Shane Waldron press conferences than I’d care to admit.

          PSA: Do not operate heavy machinery while listening to Shane Waldron talk.

  7. nfendall

    I wouldn’t be super excited by a Vrabel hire, but I would gladly take him over Dan Quinn.

    Still crossing my fingers it will be a young offensive mind, but I could at least convince myself to trust a Vrabel hire if it happened whereas I don’t know that I could do that with Quinn.


    I just want to be the bully again! The absolute worst is getting pushed around and run over game after game. The last SF game was it for me when their players were commenting after and basically laughing at the Seahawk players. If Vrabel can transform this team into one where opponents know they better “strap them on tight cause they are going to get hit…” sign me up!

    • jr66


      Remember when we beat teams up so bad they lost the next week too.

  9. samprassultanofswat

    At first when I heard the name Vrabel I was: to put nicely (extremely lukewarm). Let’s say only 10%. Interested. Let me be clear. I am sold on Ben Johnson. But what if Ben Johnson is not interested.

    In my opinion the Seahawks opening is the best of all the teams looking for a head coach.
    Period. Yes, San Diego has Justin Herbert. But Seattle still has everything going for it.

    But let’s take a moment and talk about Vrabel. Vrabel has a lot going for him. He played under Belichick. He was not part of the Belichick coaching tree. While he was at Tennessee their strength was running the football and playing defense. Two things missing from the Seahawks. I believe Vrabel can fix both the running game and the defense. Or at least vastly improve the running game and defense. It seems like Vrabel wants the job.

    Earlier I said that ” Dan Quinn does not excite me. ” And that was before the Packers drop 48 on Dan Quinn’s vaunted defense. I just saw that Quinn had an interview with the Panthers. Great! Hope he drops anchor in Charlotte. Mike McCarthy not interested. If the Seahawks don’t land Ben Johnson or Bobby Slowik might be interested in McCarthy as a play caller. However, not 100% sold on that idea.

    So I would not be against Mike Vrabel. This Saturday game between the Texans and the Ravens will be interesting. You have the chess match between Mike MacDonald’s defense and Texas Offensive Coordinator Bobby Slowik’s offense. Who is going to win that chess match. After what the Texans did to the Cleveland Browns defense. I feel that Texans have a real shot at upending the Ravens. I think the Ravens are making the same mistake they did once before. They rested LaMarr Jackson on the final week of the season. And the Raven came out stale against Mike Vrabel and the Tennessee Titans. As you know the Titans SHOCKED the Ravens. Fast Forward to the 2023-2024 playoffs, again John Harbaugh chooses to rest Jackson. We will see what happens. But it will be a fascinating match-up between the Ravens defense and the Texans offense.

  10. Nick

    Is anybody worried that John Schneider’s going to give Jordyn Brooks a big contract?

    I hope he doesn’t, but we’re so thin at LB.

    • Wilson502

      You can find lbs in the middle rounds. Giving him a huge contact makes no sense

    • Sean

      I’m not worried about any personnel moves. With Pete, I was worried. Without Pete, I’m just intrigued.

      I have no idea what Schneider and an as yet unnamed coach will do. I feel like with one guy (Schneider) clearly in charge, we have a better chance of personnel choices fitting the scheme. I don’t care what the plan is…I just want to see that they are executing one instead of floundering about.

      • Peter

        Yeah. If you have two qbs you have none. Apparently if you have two decision makers you have the seahawks for the last few years.

    • Sandman

      That seems like a Pete move. Many of us are hoping Johnny has a different roster building plan. More money focused on trenches like the Big Cat.

  11. nfendall

    McCarthy staying as HC in Dallas:

    At least we don’t have to worry about him ending in Seattle.

    • Big Mike

      GREAT news for us and of course Jerruh keeps his yes man.

  12. Hawkster

    Wow. Just a fantastic piece, Rob. A lot of detail on Vrabel’s tenure that is just lost in the memes out there.

    The notion of a durable unpoached Vrabel/Smith team is pretty tempting.

    Ben Johnson is the belle of the ball, but until a great OC proves they can HC effectively they still represent substantial risk.

    Great stuff. Fun to be ring side for this.

    • Rob Staton

      Thank you!

  13. GoHawks5151

    I got Vrabel 4th or 5th behind Johnson, Slowik and MacDonald. I’m intrigued by Frank Smith too. If we are going to get a QB of the future I’d worry about Arthur Smith as OC. Granted it is Desmond Ritter, but he got nothing out of the guy his whole tenure. Couldn’t get anything out of Mariota either. Tanne was his only success story. If we looking at refurbishing might as well keep Waldron.

    • Seattle Person

      I actually have Vrabel at 2nd behind Ben Johnson. Yes…I want an offensive coach to prevent turnover but the more that is dug into Vrabel — the more it makes sense.

      I was meh about Arthur Smith but what is lacking on this team is a run game. Develop a great run game and take pressure off of Geno. I think you can win that way. You already have 2 good RBs and another one with intrigue. Smith definitely knows how to develop a run game.

  14. Canadian Hawk


    I think it comes down to the point you made previously…..the new coach needs to be able beat Shanahan and McVay.

    Is Vrabel that guy?

    • Hawkster

      Not that it means much but he did knock them both off last time NFCW was in their rotation (2021) notably without Henry.

  15. OneBadMata’Afa

    Vrabel was a cerebral player who was hard-nosed and max effort. I suspect his coaching and leadership style is similar

    • Sandman

      Love to be able to say that about a Seahawk team in the near future!

  16. Palatypus

    I have absolutely no idea what is going on.

    And I am rather enjoying it.

    • Sean

      Totally agree. When I had no idea what’s going on mid season, I did not enjoy it.

      • Anonymous


        I like reading about the HC (and possibly OC) options. Vrabel was dealt some bad hands in Tenn. I think he did very well all things considered.

      • God of Thunder


        Enjoying this off season and the speculation.

        FWIW, I think Vrabel was dealt some mediocre hands in Tenn., and I think he did very well all things considered.

  17. geoff u

    So if:

    Chargers — Harbaugh
    Falcons — Belichick
    Raiders — Pierce
    Washington — Johnson
    Carolina — billy shambles

    That leaves quite a few names and some good options.

  18. Palatypus

    By the way, we are 13 days away from the first Senior Bowl practice.

    Please let me know what you would like me to investigate while I am there.

    • God of Thunder

      Quarterbacks not currently projected to be drafted in the top end of R1!!!

      Stunningly promising sleeper QBs overlooked by “name” commentators — but on the radar of astute watchers like R. Staton.

      • Palatypus

        It is quite possible I could meet him.

    • Seattle Person

      Can you keep an eye out for Michael Pratt. He’s a QB out of Tulane. He’ll be interesting to see if he can play well against better competition. He has a long wind up but sort of fits the boot-leg or run action type of QB. Pretty fast for his size.

      • Palatypus

        I knew this was coming. Jim Nagy is higher on him than I am. Perhaps he and Rob can argue about it. There is an interview coming, right?

        • Seattle Person

          He doesn’t strike me as anywhere near NFL ready. But, he throws down field a lot. The highlights I’ve seen only have deep balls. Can he process? Can he make other throws? I’m going to lie. A little bit of me is hoping there is a little bit of good Ryan Tannehill in there.

          • Seattle Person

            not going to lie*

            • Palatypus

              He learns quickly. There was a three-play sequence that Kalen Deboer did against Oregon that absolutely gutted them on a touchdown drive that I thought was really impressive. The next week I saw the same three-play sequence against…I don’t remember who it was against, but I thought, “Oh, my God, they did the same thing!”

              You have got to understand the style of offense that the former HC of Tulane, Willie Fritz (now Houston, why?) was like the June Jit Doe. There is no style. He just rips off what works.


          • Dregur

            He very raw. And his offense was all half-field throws, even as a senior, even in his highlights it looks like he’ll read half the field, then tuck and run. Decent arm strength, but it doesn’t really pop. Likes throwing deep, but some of those throws would be picked off or slapped away easily.

  19. Denver Hawker

    After watching a ton of videos and reading other fan sites, I can see Vrabel fitting in very easily in Seahawks org. He might find the front office competence refreshing and renewing. His teams seemed to have a good balance of fun and discipline. Holds guys accountable.

    That’s all great, but can he beat McVey and Shanahan? Is that a critical question here? Those guys are young and not going anywhere soon, despite McVey booth/retirement rumblings every year.

    • Big Mike

      That’s all great, but can he beat McVey and Shanahan? Is that a critical question here?

      Not only is it critical, it’s highly critical. This franchise must start winning at least half the games vs. 9ers and Rams imo. And 9ers are going to be an extra pain for a couple more years cuz they won’t have to pay Purdy squat.

      • BK26

        Or at least act like they deserve to be on the field with those teams. We were 1 out of 4 last year, with 3 games being embarrassments: with effort, planning, everything. Even in terms of wanting to be on the field.

        That has to change. We have to be able to go toe to toe with them.

  20. Palatypus

    This is interesting.

    Ron Rivera and Mike Vrabel were both on the Competition Committee. Does that mean there are now two vacancies? Or if we snag Vrabel, do we get to have someone who writes the league rules?

  21. geoff u

    Where do I sign up?

  22. Travis

    Vrabel is the guy I want here in Seattle. His players love him and he seems like him and JS would get along well. He’s beat Brady and Belichick on the road in the playoffs, was coach of the year in 2021 and probably would still be at Tennessee if the gm hadn’t traded AJ Brown. He’s not the sexy choice but I think he very well could be the right choice

    • Sandman

      He also meets a key prerequisite by beating both McVay and Shanahan when he played them in 2021.

  23. Palatypus

    I was having trouble finding Vrabel’s agent through Bing, so I tried the AI Co-Pilot and got Kim Miale of Roc Nation Sports. But I don’t see him listed on the website or his agent.

    I do see Kliff Kingsbury.

    And look, Rob! They have an office in London.

    Elsley Court
    20-22 Great Titchfield Street
    3rd Floor
    London, W1W 8BE

    • cha

      In the business world, that’s what is called a Loss Leader.

    • geoff u

      What? Ten million people didn’t rush to sign up just to watch the game? How odd, no one could’ve seen this coming.

      • AlaskaHawk

        I did sign up for one month of Peacock , then I’m going to turn it off. So I’m all set. lol Oh and I was watching “Sing” on it today.

  24. Gifty

    You don’t have to hire the hot media darling to be successful. No one knew Pete would be this successful when he hired. Everyone thought it was underwhelming. No one thought McVay would do what he did, ditto Shanahan. I prefer the hawks trust their establishment and their due diligence and make a decision based off those merits. Whoever it might be, I’m sure we’ll be happy in the long run. JS seems to tap into a lot of resources and his relationships around the nfl to make a sound hire.

    • Palatypus

      When Pete got hired it was in the wake of all that Reggie Bush BS. How things have changed.

  25. BrandoK

    It could be interesting to see if Vrabel is willing to be an Assistant HC/DC with a young Offensive HC like Bobby Slowik. I would love to see it but i don’t know if Vrabel is willing to do that or he just might sit out the year waiting for another opportunity next season to be a HC again.

    • Nathan M

      I’ve been thinking the same but is Vrabel really a ‘proven DC’? I read he was only 1 year with Houston before getting the Titans HC job.
      Can he still scheme up a D to stop McVay/Shanny?

      • UkAlex6674

        He beat them both in 2021. The Rams win only yielded 195 offense yards for the Titans and they still won.

        So I’d say yes.

    • Rob Staton

      I’d be very surprised if Vrabel does anything other than HC

  26. cha

    Vrabel might be smart and do the Mike McCarthy and take a year off. McCarthy landed the plumb gig of the Cowboys so he obviously didn’t get forgotten by the league.

    In 2025 there could be some great jobs opening up. Dallas (heh), Philly, the Giants, Pittsburgh, maybe the Jets.

    • Palatypus

      The Jets feels very cathartic. But, I see Saleh turning it around.

      • Big Mike

        Not me cuz Rodgers will likely be hurt again and they have no competent backup. Now if they got one (could’ve had Flacco this season), maybe. But man the dysfunction runs deep in that org.

        • UkAlex6674

          I don’t think what Flacco did was sustainable for a whole season. He wouldn’t have saved the Jets.

  27. Palatypus

    One more Senior Bowl note.

    The 75th Anniversary Team will be parading into the stadium before the game. There are two Seahawks represented, Steve Hutchinson and Kevin Mawae. Their observations on the game should be interesting.

    • Palatypus


      Scroll down.

      • Palatypus

        EDIT: FOUR Seahawks should be present. Bobby Wagner and Richard Sherman are on the defensive team.

        • Anonymous

          Five: missed Shaun Alexander and six if you count Jimmy Graham

          • Blitzy the Clown

            I do NOT!

            jk idgaf

  28. RobCee

    What percent do you think seahawks management was influenced by fans to part ways the Pete?

    And do you think that same influence will help with the new coach hire? Seems most fans want Johnson, Slowik and McDonald.

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think you can put a percentage on it. But any owner is going to be conscious of fan opinions, especially when so many away fans suddenly started buying tickets off Seahawks fans

      • bmseattle

        Yeah, they probably have multiple ways to measure fan apathy.
        It’s been pretty obvious that interest in the team has been declining the past few years.

  29. samprassultanofswat

    Between Johnson, MacDonald, Vrabel, and Slowik: Schneider should be able to bag one of these four coaches.

    • UkAlex6674

      That’s a good way to view it.

      Which would your order of preference be?

      • Blitzy the Clown


        Reserving the right of dark horse candidate replacement

    • Ian

      Yep, agreed.
      ” With the Chargers seemingly set on Jim Harbaugh, the Raiders with Antonio Pierce and the Falcons — short of any movement from Dallas to remove Mike McCarthy — positioning to hire Bill Belichick, there aren’t that many alternatives for Vrabel.”
      If, for conversation’s sake, we also slot Johnson to the Commanders in this game of musical chairs, that only leaves Seattle, Carolina, and Tennessee with HC vacancies. So only two possible landing spots for Vrabel, but only three possible landing spots for MacDonald, Slowik, et al.
      Would Philadelphia be a more appealing vacancy for Vrabel if Sirianni gets fired? And is it time to read into the fact that an interview request still hasn’t been made for MacDonald?

  30. bv eburg

    Well researched, thought out and presented. Thanks for another quality article Rob.
    I was lukewarm on Vrabel until reading this. Vrabels now risen to just behind Johnson for me because I can see a path to success with him.

    • Rob Staton

      Thank you!

  31. Sea Mode

    In the end we miss out on all the big names and… 😁

    “We are ready in everything, anybody that you can pretty much think of. I had a gentleman e-mail me the other day whose buddy is the Pop Warner coach down the road, and he’s extremely interested, too.”

  32. Mr drucker in hooterville

    Phew. The McCarthy chatter can cease. Jerry Jones is stupid.

  33. Sea Mode

    Can your coach predict the future…?

    • Sten

      Back in the day there was an NFL films cut where Pete did this with Earl and he got a pick 6, I remember it from Rain City Redemption

  34. Gritty Hawk

    I can understand the hesitation around Arthur Smith, but FWIW, he did deliver the #8 offense by DVOA in 2022 with a pretty bad roster. Mariota and Ridder at QB. Turned in a competent run-first offense with a 5th round RB (Allegeier) and 31 year old converted WR (Patterson). Sure they had London and Pitts, but Pitts didn’t do much that year and London only came on towards the end (over half his yards came in the last 5 games).

    This year was a train wreck and I don’t entirely understand what was going on with Bijan, but it’s also pretty clear the Desmond Ridder is a dreadful QB and no receiver ever had a chance to succeed with him under center. We also shouldn’t ignore that despite whatever was happening, Bijan still amassed nearly 1500 yards and 8 TDs as a rookie. I would be comfortable if he came as a package with Vrabel. To Rob’s point, after this dumpster fire year, we probably have a good 3 years before anyone would even dare consider hiring Smith as HC.

    • JAFreeman

      Gritty Hawk wrote:

      “We also shouldn’t ignore that despite whatever was happening, Bijan still amassed nearly 1500 yards and 8 TDs as a rookie. I would be comfortable if he came as a package with Vrabel.”

      Agreed, I would also be comfortable if Bijan came as part of the package with Vrabel.

  35. Blitzy the Clown

    Apologies for an off topic post but this is a must for Kraken fans:

    • cha

      That’s awesome. Love it.

      The creativity of the fans is amazing.

      My personal favorite is Dr Zoidberg

      • Group Captain Mandrake

        Well, now I want a Zoidberg sweater

  36. Jhams

    One name I’m surprised we’re not hearing more about is Todd Monken. He’s done an amazing job completely remaking the Ravens offense, and while their skill position guys are better than previous years they’re not world beaters. He has HC experience albeit at the college level. Been around longer than someone like Slowik so may have better luck building a staff.

    I’m not saying I’d take him over Johnson but it’s surprising you don’t even hear his name brought up. Any thoughts on him as a possible candidate Rob?

  37. Blitzy the Clown

    Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

    Former Cardinals’ HC Kliff Kingsbury, a senior offensive analyst and quarterbacks coach at USC, is expected to interview for the Chicago Bears’ offensive coordinator job, per sources. Kingsbury’s USC QB Caleb Williams is expected to receive strong consideration to become the Bears’ No. 1 overall pick.

    Get ready for Caleb Football

    • Ian

      What are the thoughts on trading for Fields?

      • Rob Staton

        Not again…

        • Ian

          I’ll take that as a No:)

          • Rob Staton


    • Ian

      What are the thoughts on trading for Fields?

      • cha

        38 career starts
        30 interceptions
        38 fumbles

        career-best 61.4% comp / 82 QB rating in 2023

        • Ian

          Yikes! Well, when you put it that way…:)

  38. David


    My first mock draft of the year is in the books. Using PFN’s tool and doing a 3 round mock, I was able to trade back a few times…pick up some 2nd/3rd round picks and future capital (2 3’s and 2 4’s next year). Was able to bolster both the offensive (C Sedrick Van Pran) and defensive (DT Kris Jenkins) interior lines and get a potential QB 1 (Spencer Rattler) for the future. I realize the needs of the team, types of players that they may target, etc. may be completely different once they hire a coach – but what do you think of this first stab at the draft?

    Also love the coverage that you have done with the candidates for the next head coach. How much credence do you give to the idea that they might be looking at potential coordinators with these interviews as well? I too like the idea of Ben Johnson as the guy – but could get behind the idea that Seattle rescues a guy like Ejiro Evero from his situation to make a lateral move to be the DC with Johnson. I think that there is a very good reason that John mentioned that the coaching hires were under his purview. If not this pairing, what realistic pairings of candidates that have been announced would you be excited about?


    • Rob Staton

      I think that could easily be the thought process and it’d be a great idea if they can pull it off

      • Jack Frost

        Hey Rob,
        I think Kris Jenkins would a great draft pick. A lot of people are talking about adding a Center, is Olu Oluwatimi not the guy? Thanks.

  39. BK26

    Playoff teams remaining: 8 teams total. Want to know what 7 of those teams have in common? A first round quarterback starting for them. And we know that the 9er’s are the exception to anything qb related.

    Yet first round qb picks are “too big a risk, a waste of a pick, blah blah blah.” Looks like it’s easier for that option to pan out than trying to find our own Brock Purdy.

  40. PhilanderTa

    Adam Schefter just tweeted that the Seahawks are interested in speaking w/ Vrabel

  41. Matt

    I wouldn’t be super excited about the team going with Vrabel, but I wouldn’t be too upset either. I still hope they go for Johnson, Slowik or Macdonald first

  42. KH


    What do you imagine is the timeline that John Schneider is on? I understand that getting their top choice is most important but what events are important to have a new coaching staff in place prior to? Draft, Senior Bowl, Combine, key decisions on contracts, etc?


    • Rob Staton

      It depends if they want to appoint a coach in the Super Bowl but it could run all the way to then but the average is 26 days to complete the search someone said

  43. Blitzy the Clown

    Coaching candidates tracker

    Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

    Former #Titans coach Mike Vrabel is in L.A. today to interview for the #Chargers head coaching job, per sources.

    It’s the first known interview for Vrabel, 48, who was 54-45 with three playoff trips in six seasons with Tennessee.

  44. Brett

    Adam Schefter
    Former Titans’ HC Mike Vrabel is interviewing today with the Los Angeles Chargers, as
    reported. The Falcons and Seahawks also are interested in talking and meeting with Vrabel, per sources.

    • Brett

      Also, from what I’ve seen we won’t hear of an interview slip report because he’s not currently employed by an NFL team

  45. Tallyhawk

    My initial reaction to Vrabel being linked was hell no! I watched 3 games this year of the titans and thought he PC lite. His clock management and challenges made PC look good. Was thoroughly unimpressed. I also think too much is being made of them beating Jax in the season ender. The Jags specifically on D cost them a playoff spot not that game. They went in the tank to end the season and the only team who tanked harder was Philly. That game was also most likely Henry’s last game in a Titan uniform and it was a home game. The whole game felt like a send off party for him. Not to mention he turned back the clock to run rampant over the Jags. He’s from the Jax area and has always had big games against them. That being said the case Rob and others have made for him have me feeling better if he were to be the choice though he’d be way down the list. I was opposed to Pete when he got hired but he fell into the anyone but Jim Mora category so I was prepared to see how it played out. That’s how I am now except it was anyone but Pete. So whoever ends up being the coach I’ll support and hope it works out as well if not better than Pete did.

  46. Starhawk29

    Slightly off topic, but if we do decide to go with someone like Slowik or Johnson and want an experienced DC/AHC, I’d give Ron Rivera a call. He definitely has the experience and has stated he’d be willing to be a DC somewhere.

  47. Brett


    testing block quote


    • Brett




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