Where I’m at with the Seahawks coaching search

After Ben Johnson opted to stay in Detroit, I was asked on Twitter who I wanted instead. I said I didn’t know and needed time to think about it. After all, a couple of weeks ago I listed a top three of Johnson, Bobby Slowik and Mike Vrabel. None are in contention, after Slowik signed a new deal in Houston and Vrabel seemingly was never in the running.

I’ve slept on it and I’m still not 100% sure this is the right opinion to have but I’ll share it anyway.

I’m ready for the unknown.

My preference for this search was that the Seahawks would talk to a number of candidates and they’ve done that. I also wanted them to come out with a clear favourite, go after them and land them. I’m not sure they’re doing that, unless it ends up being that Dan Quinn was their target all along.

Tod Leiweke’s speech when Pete Carroll was appointed began by saying something along the lines of, ‘this will allow Seahawks fans to dream of Championships again’. I genuinely believed that in 2010. I’m not convinced any of the current remaining candidates will re-create that feeling.

Therefore, I want to dive head first into the mysterious. I don’t want a re-tread coach like Dan Quinn. I wrote about some of the positives about his candidacy two and a half weeks ago. I just don’t think he’s special. I think his time post-Shanahan in Atlanta is alarming. There were complaints about him not holding players accountable enough, he finished 0-5 before being fired. For all the deserved praise for hiring Kyle Shanahan, he had two goes at replacing him and failed with both.

Quinn’s a nice guy, extremely likeable, he’s said to be an excellent communicator — but I don’t think he’s a difference maker. Seeing Shanahan smirk about Green Bay’s demolition of Dallas in the playoffs was the final straw for me. He thrives on seeing his old boss beaten and I don’t want any part of that.

Then there was the note I received yesterday, from somebody who I trust, saying there’s some legitimacy to the Quinn/Chip Kelly talk. If true, the idea that these two are going to take the Seahawks to the pinnacle of the game feels like fantasy land stuff. It would be a complete energy vampire of a double-act. For all the talk of Quinn’s ability to build a great staff, that would feel pretty tragic. Meanwhile some of the better, more experienced staff on the market have already been snapped up by other teams because Seattle’s search has gone on a long time.

Give me Mike Macdonald or Mike Kafka instead.

I can’t say with any confidence I think either will be great. I’m intrigued by the talk around Macdonald. I think his character and personality are appealing and there’s clearly some tactical quality to his decision making and adjustments. I’m concerned about his ability to build a great staff, who his offensive coordinator will be, how that coordinator intends to drive the offense forward and as I noted in my recent article, there are things fans and media are not acknowledging with Macdonald as they’ve pinned their hopes on him being the saviour.

Even so, if — as Ian Rapoport suggested yesterday — Macdonald is viewed by some as a defensive version of Sean McVay, let’s roll the dice and see how it goes.

I’m not a fan of going with a defensive coach again because I think the team has been built to be offense-centric. Rebuilding the defense could take a long time and it’d be easier to produce a complementary unit rather than a top-ranking unit. Without an innovative, dynamic offensive leader I worry that Seattle’s offense will stay average — leaning on the players for streaky success — and that the defense at best might only upgrade to middle-of-the-pack given the extreme work required on that side of the ball. Thus, you’re left with in totality an average team.

Even so, the options are so underwhelming that if John Schneider decides there’s something a bit special in Macdonald, let’s see how it goes. Just make sure you get the offensive coordinator position right and that there’s a clear, broad vision for what the Schneider/Macdonald Seahawks look like, rather than simply hiring the hot candidate on the best performing team from the regular season.

With Kafka, I’m equally torn. He would satisfy my preference to have an offensive mind at the helm. I like the fact Andy Reid speaks so positively about him. If you could get Ejiro Evero out of Carolina to be his defensive coordinator, that would feel like a great move. Often it isn’t the flashy hire that works — or the top performing coordinator. Kevin Stefanski was Minnesota’s offensive coordinator for a season and a half before taking over in Cleveland. He led the 10th best overall offense with the 10th best pass offense and 15th best rush offense in 2019. He’s not exactly Mr. Personality but has done a great job for the Browns.

It’s just hard to get excited about someone who is part of the New York Giants stench, having come off a poor season having seemingly been one of the victims of Brian Daboll’s reported toxicity. Listening to Kafka is a boring experience. He is not inspiring and will not get anyone excited. It doesn’t mean he can’t coach, though, and with the right support staff it could work, I guess. If nothing else — it’d be indicative of the Seahawks understanding they need to draft and develop a quarterback soon.

Going back to Stefanski, that’s kind of what I want. Someone who, when faced with a nightmarish quarterback situation in 2023 and the loss of his best offensive weapon in Nick Chubb, still produced a tough, physical, brutal brand of football that was creative and challenged opponents. He’s a coach of the year candidate and he’s already won it once, in 2020. I would’ve had no idea he was as good as he is based off his time in Minnesota, so if Schneider hires Kafka — I’ll embrace it and see what happens.

I really hoped there would be an appointment that united the fan base, had everyone excited and buying into the potential for the good times returning. That was probably a bit optimistic and naive. As the search has gone on, in classic passive-aggressive PNW, ‘Seahawks Twitter’ style, I think people have split into camps/teams and have argued for their positions, sometimes unfaithfully. I’m sure I’ll be accused of that too but I’ve also spent time reviewing several of the candidates and was always open about my preference from day one — and made my case for Johnson I feel, if nothing else, with reasoned arguments.

Now, I just want to know who’s replacing Pete Carroll. This has gone on long enough. Today’s the day. Let’s have a decision and move on.

I can’t shake the feeling though that this all feels very similar to some of Seattle’s free agency periods in recent years. Waiting for the process to come to them, being patient, not being overly aggressive. It’s how you end up swapping peak Frank Clark and streaky-yet-effective Jadeveon Clowney for Benson Mayowa, Bruce Irvin and L.J. Collier. I hope that actually, all along, Schneider has instead found his ‘Russell Wilson’. Someone we didn’t really talk about, kept in the background, who ends up being better than anyone could’ve imagined.

I’m surprised at how few offensive minds Schneider spoke to in this process. Two interviews with Ben Johnson, two with Kafka, one with Slowik and one with Frank Smith. That, to me, never felt like enough.

If you missed my day-one notes from the NFL Network broadcast of the Senior Bowl, check them out here.


  1. UkAlex6674

    Re your penultimate paragraph, I know what you are saying. It does have that feeling.

    However JS is at the wheel now and I am of the thought that his version of due diligence and final decision making is better than Pete.

    Maybe the upset Schefter referred to is a total wild card. Would be typically Seattle wouldn’t it?

    Either way though let’s just get it done.

  2. SeattleLifer

    “ I’m surprised at how few offensive minds Schneider spoke to in this process “

    This is what has had me concerned all along – that John/they are looking at things as we have a big problem with our defense and unless we can get the top knotch candidate in Johnson then the plan is to ‘fix’ our biggest problem(all while ignoring the only area of some strength on the roster on offense). Always chasing problems Pete and John have been for far too long and if that train of thought wins out, well I’m not a fan of it all and really it would speak to a number of the criticism’s I’ve had with this regime for the past 7 years or so : lacking forward thinking, getting caught out in so many ways, trying to put band aid fixes on major problems, not taking realistic stock of where your roster really is, doing things ‘thier way’/against the grain and not keeping up to date with a league that evolves rapidly and requires constant innovation and copying, waiting too long to make moves, and I could go on and on with plenty more but for the moment there is still hope we don’t get more of the same. Please John show us some dynamic forward thinking real plan in all of this.

    BTW – Quinn and Chip would’nt be far off of a Jamal Adams’esqe level of folly imo…

    • Peter

      I do wonder how much of chasing problems is effecting this process?

      They can bring in whomever and it’s basically over now. I made a clunky comment earlier but what I was getting at was if you were doing a wide net best candidate approach style process why then was the pool so limited?

      1. One great OC who may have reasons he can’t or won’t be a HC soon.
      2. One OC that was an unknown until mid point of last year.
      3. One OC who is not calling plays
      4. One OC who is getting hamstrung in New York.

      Just me but I would have liked to talk to quite a few more names especially if I was going to drag butt on this process.

  3. Mick

    Rob I could not agree more. I hope we give someone with new ideas a shot. Quinn won’t win us a Super Bowl. I would welcome MacDonald or Kafka, at least we’re rolling the dice. I would be partially alright with Vrabel, I could live with Graham or Evero until we find a better alternative.

    My thoughts on the hiring process are that John spoke with the guys he found interesting, and it’s not like he had better alternatives. The only guy we might have missed on is Callahan. If Slowik and Johnson didn’t work out, not necessarily John’s fault. The only surprising thing that he could pull off would be hiring Matt Nagy from the Chiefs or Steve Wilks from the 49ers.

  4. Big Mike

    It’s pretty obvious that Johnson was their first choice considering they flew to Detroit yesterday. What’s the pivot John? This is now your franchise. Step up, get it done and done well and then you need to get the draft done well including a QBOTF.

    • Peter

      Exactly. It’s great to have a first choice. However as it seems that John/jody/hawks/Vulcan do nott have the juice of Paul Allen or maybe more importantly a read of the situation that Johnson for a whole host of reasons was not going to be the HC….feels a bit like having all your eggs in one basket.

  5. PJ

    Still want to know how SEA and WASH didn’t know earlier about Johnson salary demand and hesitation. Just doesn’t smell good to me from SEA not knowing and Johnson not telling both teams and stringing them along.

    Regardless SEA hasn’t been playoff strong deep for years now. Don’t know if it was Pete or John making the personnel decisions but they weren’t great, team has issues and JS now running the show and exposed and he not looking good.

    Sorry to say but this may be the precursor to a team on the way down as every team goes through a cycle of up and down. I’ve said all along SEA needs a real good CEO who has a pulse on and understanding of not only football but what the GM and HC are doing. He works off a master plan. Baltimore kinda has one.

    • Odium

      Better to go down than tread water at .500?

      Get a few years of premium picks, shed some big salaries.

    • Peter

      This is the big test. Part of me thinks it was foreshadowing when Pete in his final presser was telling John that he would see….

  6. L80

    This timing of getting rid of Pete was obviously way too late and now the team is in a bad position for a long term coach. Short term?…Nobody hires for short term but maybe it would be a lot easier to fire someone else rather than the finally failing Pete.

    It’s almost akin to drafting at the end of round 1… All the best prospects are gone and the choices are uninspiring….
    The Kafka / Eviro combo would be fun and interesting at least.

  7. Mexican Hawk

    Ejiro Evero would be my pick.

    If I were a betting man, would have to go with either Kafka or Macdonald, as those are the ones most rumored. With Quinn heading to Washington. But as per my pick for the Hawks would go Evero slightly over Macdonald, followed by Quinn. I am a fan of Quinn, but the transition that I would most want to see in the building is to one of discipline. I wish there was an OC in this cycle that had the innovative skills of a modern play caller coupled with the ability to lead an organization. From afar I just don’t see that in Kafka.

    Not a fan of arranged marriages, but an Evero – Kafka coupling would be appealing. With Evero being more apt to manage the “whole enchilada”. Again, in all likelihood it seems that the opposite may be more likely?

    Speaking of marriages, that is the number one thing I hope John shoots for. Pete always alluded to his comment in the initial stages of PCJS, him telling John: “we are getting married dude”. That’s what you need from a successful GM/HC coupling. The key is to create a compelling and capable arrangement not just one of comfort.

    No matter how successful a coordinator might be, if the fit ain’t right I am of the idea that it will usually not work out in the long run. Have not posted in a while at least this in-depth, but have tried to listen to as many press conferences, research coaches’ history and any pertinent comments from players and peers. On one end delving into the Ron Wolf lineage, all signs pointed to an OC being the ideal fit. Wolf’s philosophy as per picking a coach was originally defensively oriented, but even in his era he switched to the offensive side of the ball as per what he said was the future of the game. Couple that with the 2 undeniable facts that Rob has mentioned, I would agree. The first being all SuperBowl participants in recent history are on that side of the ball. The second is the constant churning of your OC if you have a defensive coach. Even John alluded to that in his press conference.

    Like you mention Rob in the article, quite suprised as per the lack of offensive coaches considered. At the same time, my gut feeling is that he wanted to hire an offensive coach. So why are most of the candidates defensive. Was it just to do a comprehensive search, get the lay of the land and figure out trends across the league. Maybe, but the often-mentioned comment of them willing to wait two weeks to interview Macdonald makes me feel the search truly was wide open for the best available fit. Personal preferences and offensive trends not withstanding.

    The wating for Macdonald might also imply that they did have a solid back up plan. At least I hope so. That could be Kafka or Evero, as per no low likelihood of losing them. Or Quinn, even though I suspect that he is a serious candidate in Washington. Meaning if you were willing to go all the way to interview Macdonald post SuperBowl you ran a high risk of losing Quinn. This said with loads of hindsight, as we know Johnson is out of the picture for Washington as was heavily speculated. Who knows what was known in the inner circles.

    Evero is not a sexy or flashy, but I think he has the most Sabanesque qualities. Upside, home run potential. Still young, as are others, but he has been through the block. I had no idea who he really was, but he looks like he has a chance. That is all. Very superficial, from a fan’s point of view. His history is varied, maybe a younger version of Raheem Morris. This last comment again may not generate much excitement. I just think he can command a room, has had varied mentors, been exposed to multiple schemes. More than anything I see him most capable of being a leader of a multi-layered operation. Seems that players respect him greatly.

    Ultimately, just hope Schneider gets married to the right person. Whoever he sees fit, as in all likelhood he won’t get a Mora type strike. This will probably be his only swing.

    Let’s see if the Seahawks surprise as Schefter mentioned. I am thinking we for sure will find out today. Can’t thank you enough Rob and community for providing this great Seahawks-centric outlet. Hope the outcome is not good, but rather great for all.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve struggled to get that excited about Evero. His Denver defense ranked 13th, which is fair enough. Just above middle of the pack. This year Carolina ranked 25th, that was down from 20th the year before. They did have Burns and Brown so it wasn’t a total lost cause in terms of personnel and they played in the crappy NFC South. Carolina were so dysfunctional so we have to take that it account — but for me there’s little evidence based on those results of an overachiever. And I say that through gritted teeth because I’d love to back a fellow Brit for the job!

      • cha

        Stats alone don’t work as well here though.

        Denver and Carolina were absolute wrecks on offense and Ejiro persevered through them and never gave up the fight.

        Nor did his squads. Players from both teams talked about how they would run through a brick wall for him.

  8. DT35

    This is certainly a pipe dream, but could they offer Kafka a similar position to Desai a few years back but on the other side of the ball? I guess it would need to be a promotion so could we make him OC / Associate Head Coach, MacDonald as the Head Coach and Evero as the DC?

    • Rob Staton

      I believe they can

      • Mexican Hawk

        I agree in believing they can as per the Associate Head Coach part of it.

        Even if it weren’t I think with Kafka it’s more likely you can land him as per Daboll maybe not wanting him back? With Carolina, it’s the opposite. They seem to want him back, from the looks of it not allowing him to interview for DC positions? Even though its a new regime (Canales). Not sure if you can poach him, just by adding the Associate Head Coach. Was thinking yes, not sure if technically that is the case.

  9. LouCityHawk

    I can’t shake the feeling, after sleeping on it, that if Paul Allen were still alive Ben Johnson would’ve been on a plane to Seattle.

    personalities are one of the hardest things to judge for the fan public. I found myself engaging with (previously unknown) users on multiple platforms who were die-hard Seahawk fans that thought we should respect Johnson and not doubt that he wanted to stay with Detroit. It felt very much like the crowd that rose up to support Carter all the way to draft day. I’m guessing this is a new agent technique.

    Washington blogs are not nearly as apocalyptic as ours. They seem to be immediately rallying around Quinn/Macdonald (his wife was a cheerleader for the Commies). They are Anyone But Bieniemy

    Interestingly, I’ve found Macdonald’s personality to be unengaging, reminiscent of a Belichick disciple. Of the two, I’ve found I prefer Kafka, who definitely shows the wear of working with Daboll over the last two years.

    Defensive wunderkind is a movie I’ve seen before, it’s called Marvin Lewis’s Bengals.

    Ultimately, the process isn’t concerning me because of the coaches hired, only Callahan strikes me as a misstep. There are names on the bench I would have like to have heard, but none of them would have united the fan base like Johnson. Certainly there are no Holmgrens or Carrolls this cycle.

    I’m not sure there was a coach (other than Johnson) this go-round that would have made everyone feel that a championship was back on the table.

    I remember Carroll in New England, and wondering why he’d subject himself to that circus, you could see the light drain from him every week.

    A closing thought on Kafka – if you take 2023 out of the picture, how do you feel about him then?

    • Rob Staton

      Defensive wunderkind is a movie I’ve seen before, it’s called Marvin Lewis’s Bengals.

      Or Brandon Staley

      • Big Mike


      • STTBM

        Or Fangio, Wilks, Vance Joseph, Saleh…Rex Ryan, Rahem Morris, old guys included…

      • Mexican Hawk


        Agree the unknown with Allen now no longer at the helm is if there is any hesitancy with top tier candidates as per the future of the team.

        If it’s not due to money, Johnson’s decision is certainly intriguing. Is he is holding off for a better fit, but as others have mentioned tough to beat the Washington opportunity. John also has a track record as do the Seahawks. Not sure if it was of his choosing, but he had both options.
        A proven owner/commodity in Seahawks and its GM and the blank slate option in Washinton: seemingly solid ownership (Harris), up and coming GM, as good as can be opportunity for a franchise QB (Caleb or Daniels), plus the most cap space.

    • Peter

      Jeff simmons on the recent hawkblogger pod was speaking truth to the idea that we view Kafka in a negative light because of NY.

      Who knows if Kafka has the stuff. But I feel there is merit to the idea that fans are fairly basic in their thinking.

      Kafka-NY…they suck so he sucks.

      Kafka stays and becomes OC for KC….it’s pretty clear to me fans would sell themselves on how bad their WR’s were and that’s not on him.

      Meanwhile in NY I have no idea who the WR’s are. Daniel Jones has actually always sucked. Barkley was injured. And that oline was so bad that hawks fans lived off the fumes of that game for 3/4 of a season talking about how we are top whatever in sacks when like most of the season that to was a mirage.

      • BK26

        With Kafka it literally comes down to this: do the Seahawks think that he can run a team and be a head coach, the on-field CEO?

        I am not too worried about his skills on offense and he is probably the best developer of talent this offseason (Slowik has Stroud, Kafka has Mahomes AND Daniel Jones). Just throw out this last season from NYG. We now know that the head coach has some canceric (might have made that term up) elements to him that affected the team.

        If he doesn’t get hired, I think he is back in KC soon. Probably the first phone call that Veach makes. That says a lot as well.

        There might be less home-run to him, but much less striking out. Better chance of a higher average. Can’t believe I am saying it (hate the Chiefs and hate Northwestern so I have rooted against him for quite a while), but he might be the route that they need to take. Or at least get him on the staff.

    • Duceyq

      or Pete Carroll or Bill Belichick…

      I see your point though but the equation has worked the other way too. Plenty of OC’s hired as coaches have fizzled out too. It’s really a crap shoot. I remember when PC was hired i gave a big eye roll because of previous failed stints in NY an NE..but sometimes coaches need to fail to find there voice.

      At this point I’m just like whatever it will be it will be and to trust the process. John has earned enough equity with me to take this shot.

  10. Joseph

    I wonder if the culture in Seattle isn’t as good as we think it is.

    I also wonder if Jody Allen is a reason why coaches wouldn’t wanna come here. I mean she’s not doing a good job at all running the Trail Blazers.

    • MNF_Hawk

      Do I think Jody was right to trade Russ, fire Carroll, fire Stotts, trade Lillard.


      Was she at minimum two years late in all these decisions?


      Do I have any faith that she will make the right decision or hire the right people to make those decisions in a rebuild?


      • Joseph

        Just like the Mariners. It’s all about money to them

        • Big Mike

          She’s not that bad. No one in N. American pro sports is that bad….imo of course

  11. TatupuTime

    Like everyone I think I’m just ready for this to be over. It’s gotten to the point where Seahawks twitter and message boards are starting to be super annoying.

    I fully agree with wanting an offensive HC and Johnson was really the guy. Clearly something off there (even if thats just $$ which I don’t understand from BJ side). I do wonder if the offensive market is just not there. There are only so many guys with innovative cutting edge offences. A lot of them have been snapped up in recent years. It’s a copy cat league. Other than Callahan its not like there was a guy out there that was an obvious offensive guy to look at.

    Eventually they’ll be a new defensive guy that comes with a bit of an antidote and the league will change again. But it’s always really hard to bet on being the first one to do the opposite of what the league is doing. I can at least sell myself that MacDonald’s D and it’s disguises is doing some of that.

    Just get someone new. End it.

    • Joseph

      Unfortunately Slowik Ben and Callahan were the closest. They should’ve also interviewed Callahan. I can’t blame Schneider a whole lot because sure Ben was his #1 target.

  12. DK

    I think Johnson was plan A all along, and I am wondering if Slowick didn’t interview well or struggled to provide a good staff.

    Here is my thing with MacDonald, yes there are issues many are glossing over, but to me one thing that stands out is that he is from that Ravens culture. They have built something from the top down, starting with Ozzie Newsome now Eric DeCosta. Super Bowls with Brian Billick and John Harbaugh.

    Is this maybe what John Schneider meant with culture? Maybe he sees his ability to find guys that fit what MacDonald wants means he can truly build a great defense that can stack up against Shanahan and McVay on a year in year out basis.

    Macdonald built the top defense based on DVOA, this season and not many people would look at the players and say that is a loaded defense. He has gotten a ton out of Jadevenon Clowney, turn Justin Madubuike into a beast. Roquan Smith and Kyle Hamilton are probably the two most known players, both being at the top tier of their positions.

    Kafka intrigues me, the guy was seen as a rising star and was blocked by Bienenimy in KC and if he would have waited one more season he would have been in the KC OC role and perhaps generating more buzz than before.

    He has worked with Reid and Daboll, and perhaps could snag the passing game coordinator from Detroit and learn more about that offense as well. Pair him with a good DC and we might have it.

    Based on it sounding like Johnson really wanting the Chargers gig, I get the feeling he wants a situation more like he inherited in Detroit. Veteran QB, some skill guys and then they can fill in holes. Which also might be a sign that Schneider is going to move on from Geno this offseason and Johnson wanted him to be that veteran QB he has worked with.

    Now it is just the waiting game.

    • Joseph

      We’re in a tough situation to draft a QB this year. As much as I don’t agree with KJ on a lot of his takes, I do agree with him that we have to address the trenches.

      • Peter

        Counter: we’ve been in a tough year apparently every year including the year we had a freebie top five pick and another first rounder.

        At some point you need to make moves. Maybe not his year. Maybe they can’t and they just take a flyer type. Say we get the same record next year? Or better? We can’t then say “we’re in a tough spot, need to focus on position x,”

        • BK26

          They need to find their guy and just get him. It’s that simple. We aren’t in a tough spot, John just needs to do his job and do some work.

          They have had excuses ad nauseum at that position for FAAAAAAARRRR too long.

  13. Sea Mode

    A little report from Pauline about Denver possibly selling the farm to move up for one of the top 3 QBs this draft. Just to keep in mind for potential mock draft scenarios.


  14. STTBM

    I’m ready for different. Let’s go with Evero, possibly with Kafka. Evero has rocketed up, doing a killer job at every stop, even moreso than Mcdonald.

    This does feel like JS Free Agency disasters, always misjudging the market and expecting guys to be lining up for the opportunity to be a Seahawk….PS….it never has happened, not since Avril/Bennett….

    • Rob Staton

      Evero has rocketed up, doing a killer job at every stop

      Has he though? Here’s what I wrote in an earlier reply:

      His Denver defense ranked 13th, which is fair enough. Just above middle of the pack. This year Carolina ranked 25th, that was down from 20th the year before. They did have Burns and Brown so it wasn’t a total lost cause in terms of personnel and they played in the crappy NFC South. Carolina were so dysfunctional so we have to take that it account — but for me there’s little evidence based on those results of an overachiever.

    • BK26

      I kind of agree about it feeling like free agency. The whole process just feels…uncomfortable? Willy nilly? Careful to the point of it making me feel like all that matters is to just get it over with.

      Let’s just rip the damn band aid off so we can move on.

  15. RomeoA57

    Rob, is there any other college coaches, other than Chip, who could be in play for Seahawks HC, OC or DC?

    • Rob Staton

      I don’t think so

    • Peter

      I think for me to look at college you’d have to really look at coaches with previous connections to pro teams who went back to college.

      Barring that I think increasingly college coaches and what that version of the gane has turned into has become so different it’s going to be rarer and rarer to see those coaches transition into the pros.

  16. HawksFanMattMan

    Once Johnson bowed out, it kind of snapped into focus for me that, wow, this wasn’t really that exciting of a coaching candidate pool.

    We were never going to go after Belichick or Harbaugh, and I wouldn’t have wanted them to. Vrabel’s personality seems to be the antithesis of the Pete Carroll culture they’re intent on preserving.

    Beyond that, it’s really just a bunch of unknowns. Macdonald provides some extra excitement, but is still unproven.

    Unknowns aren’t necessarily a bad thing, as we’ve seen many examples of coaches having success who weren’t household names.

    Excepting Quinn, if the Seahawks end up going after one of these unknown quantities, at this point it’s going to have to be a believe-it-when-I-see-it scenario.

    • BK26

      It ended up being a really, really bad pool to work with. Especially with (for me) the only two candidates worth excitement went back to their old jobs.

  17. Joe Verhei

    Kinda feels like a disaster if you don’t come out with McDonald.

    Firing a coach without a locked in plan to replace feels a little wreckless.

    If it’s not a young innovative coach, why hire a retread or someone without a solid track record of?

    Was going to be pleasantly surprised with Johnson or McDonald. But like Rob, a Quinn and Kelly hiring makes me want to barf.

    • Duceyq

      It’s more the Kelly hiring that turns me off the most; If it’s Quinn and a different OC then I can wrap my mind around it. But Chip Kelly I’ve never been a fan of.

  18. Sea Mode

    Is there some reference here that I’m missing?


    Come on @MikeGarafolo! Who’s coming to Seattle???

    Mike Garafolo

    I’ll tell you Thursday at noon

    • Rob Staton

      Nah, MG goes on their show every week Thursday at noon and they’re having a bit of fun

  19. Sea Mode

    Give me Mike Macdonald or Mike Kafka instead.

    How about both? Macdonald HC and Kafka OC/Assistant HC?

    Mike n’ Mike the best of both worlds as far as what we have left to choose from? Or would you fear that if Kafka has any success he will just be poached in 1-2 years anyways?

    • Patrick Toler

      Kafka is already getting legit HC consideration. If he comes on as assistant HC / OC and the offense is great he is a guaranteed one and done. At which point you are probably wishing you had just made him HC.

      • Sea Mode

        Here we go! Coming to visit us now. Looks like it might be getting serious.

        Tom Pelissero

        The #Seahawks are bringing in #Ravens DC Mike Macdonald today for a second interview for their head coaching job, per sources.

        Seattle met with Macdonald, 36, on Tuesday in Baltimore. Now, he’s going through the expanded process they did with other candidates.

      • Sea Mode

        Sorry for the reply fail above, Patrick. What I wanted to say was this:

        Kafka is already getting legit HC consideration.

        Is he really, though? A quarter of the NFL just hired a new head coach and there he is still in NY… (assuming he doesn’t get one of the last two spots) Sounds more like one of the names some teams add to the interview list just to be thorough, but how much he is really in contention, we don’t know.

  20. Cysco

    I’ve warmed up to the idea of Mike MacDonald.

    My thought being that if he is as smart a defensive coach as we’ve heard he is, that there would have to be a positive impact on the offense as well. I would think he’d be able to understand the tendencies of the opponents defense and work with the OC to make sure the game plan took that stuff into account.

    He wouldn’t be calling offensive plays, but I’ve convinced myself he’d be a positive influence on the offense and how it attacked opposing defenses.

    Of course, at this point I’d find a way to convince myself that Platypus would be a logical choice.

  21. Sea Mode

    Here we go! Coming to visit us now. Looks like it might be getting serious.

    Tom Pelissero

    The #Seahawks are bringing in #Ravens DC Mike Macdonald today for a second interview for their head coaching job, per sources.

    Seattle met with Macdonald, 36, on Tuesday in Baltimore. Now, he’s going through the expanded process they did with other candidates.

  22. Brett


    Mike Macdonald interviewing again in Seattle today. I expect we’ll hear about a deal being done by the end of the day.

  23. Mick

    Sign him today guys, if he is flying here, he is interested.

  24. geoff u

    I really hate hate HATE to say this, but finding a coach post-Pete Carroll is starting to feel a lot like our plan for finding a franchise QB post-Russell Wilson…

    • Peter

      Like there may not be one?

      Hoping Macdonald works out today. And in the future.

      • geoff u

        I will of course give any coach John gets a chance. Big questions about MM, which I hope gets answered well during the season, is:
        1. Can he build a defense on par with the Ravens’? Can he bring the Ravens style here? Was it really his defense or was it Harbaugh’s?
        2. Can he build a complete team? What’s his offense going to look like? We know nothing about that.

        • BK26

          I’ll add: will he shirk the offense? Some defensive coaches are willing to stick with veteran, middling qb’s. They think that their defenses can make up the difference.

          He might be different with having Lamar and seeing him being an “x” factor. Still a bit of a worry for me.

  25. ShowMeYourHawk

    If it’s not Macdonald, I’m prepared for a name out of left field that no one is focusing on. Lincoln Riley, Matt Campbell, even Vrabel. Someone they could have interviewed on the sneaky without having to have requested permission from another team.

  26. Cysco

    lol, sounds like that chatter last night from that the Twitter user “Whitney” was actually correct. He’s heading to seattle and is “the guy”

    I’m onboard.

    • pdway

      I am too – I don’t disagree w the take on here that an offensive-side HC is the smart path these days – – but I do love the way the Ravens play – physical and aggressive, didn’t seem to miss tackles. Young coach w energy and looking to prove himself. Of course it’s not a sure thing – but I’m good w it.

    • Peter

      If it’s Macdonald I’m most excited to see who gets tge axe and who they prioritize in FA.

      • pdway

        Releasing Adams will be the catharsis we all need….

        • Peter


          I’d be happy to say farewell to Diggs who cares about nothing important ( madden stats, pff) more than consistency.

          And for the love of….if Wagner returns let’s get him off the field on any and all passing downs. Turn him into the specialist player at his age he should be.

  27. Palatypus

    Good morning from Mobile. I qm on time today.

    • Peter

      Little annoyed that the SDB scouting department has more higher ups in the ground in Mobile than the Seahawks because the coaching search has taken forever.

      I kid. I assume all the scouts are there….hopefully.

  28. Dahveed

    just a reminder its not just Pete we are moving on from but also the players he coddled(Adams) and the coaches (Hurt Waldron ) and that is enough to run from. Im hoping Macdonald is the dude as his style on D works on deflating Modern offense . As a leader well we will see but his players will run through a brick wall and that is half the battle .

  29. BrandoK

    McDonald is an interesting HC candidate but I just can’t see him coming to Seattle and fix this defense from bottom of the league to maybe near the top within the next couple of years more likely middle of the pack. Having the hot named HC candidate is not all that great most of the times they don’t result working out. Getting Kafka he knows how to develop a QB work with multiple times with KC & NYG. He doesn’t have the hype but could turn out to be one of the best candidates that checks the most out of all the ones left with more upside too.

    • Orcas Viking

      Let’s hope JS is also working to bring Kafka in as OC; pay him well and get a 2 year (minimum) commitment from him. At the same time, turn D in right direction by getting rid of underperforming vets, open up cap space and bring in 2 of the three FA defenders from the Ravens. If we can get the offense in the top 5-10 range and the D somewhere in the 15-20 range next year that would be exciting.

      • BrandoK

        The only problem with that is after lets say 2 years and they drafted and developed a QB in that time then Kafka leaves what then. The churning of OC and maybe never getting it right is not that enticing. For me I would rather take the chance to have Kafka at HC and not have to worry about losing him. You could always find a DC they just don’t get hired often and if they didn’t work out as a HC already they don’t have a chance to be one again the changing of them is very little.

        • Chuck

          I too prefer the offensive HC, but who’s to say we don’t improve quite a bit with a McDonald/Kafka duo and Kafka decided to stay a la Johnson and Slowik. Might be wishful thinking, but could happen. That also assumes Johnson and Slowik were even offered jobs, but the point remains. A big raise and a chance to win a SB could sway an OC to stay, especially if Kafka likes it here and doesn’t want to risk a new situation given the toxicity he endured in NY.

    • Cysco

      The way I’ve been looking at this is that he doesn’t have to make the defense a top of the league defense. He just needs to make them average to slightly above average. That alone would be a huge improvement.

      Same with the offense. They don’t need to be the Lions. They just need to be “better”.

      If the Seahawks sported a top-10 offense next year and a top 15 defense, that makes them very competitive.

  30. Aaron Bostrom

    Part of me thinks Mike McDonald was the plan the whole time, given they waited for him and were willing to wait for him until after the superbowl. Maybe John loved BJ, but it’s hard to imagine John was super confident he’d get him, given everything that’s transpired.

    • Sea Mode

      Definitely possible.

    • DK

      I am starting to think Johnson doesn’t want to work with a just drafted QB, I think he would prefer a younger QB who has had time in the league. Based on reports, the fact he really wanted the Chargers gig tells me he might not want to deal with rookie QBs transitioning to the NFL game.

  31. Coach

    I saw on nflcom that MacDonald is getting a second interview with Seattle today. Hopefully they’ll pull the trigger after the meeting! I like the idea of having a “McVay,” at least on one side of the ball!
    Then Kafka as OC and assistant coach.
    The question then is who will be the DC?

    Then bring in Madubuike and Queen in free agency and we are moving in the right direction!


    Go Hawks!

    • Brennan

      I like the thought they are having a second interview with McDonald today……. maybe close the deal. I think Johnson was the “ideal” option and they took a swing and were rejected. Not much we can do any that. McDonald is intriguing. Disguising what you are going to do on either side of the ball is almost as important as what you are going to do after he snap. If the offense knows what your defense is doing it is much easier for them to attack it…..if they are constantly guessing then it makes it much more difficult. Seahawks defense would improve just by having better disguises and scheming which soars to be McDonald’s strong point.

      What they do on the offensive side of the sign McDonald will be very interesting. Kafka could be a nice choice and combo with McDonald. Hopefully, they get it done today.

      • Brennan

        Apologies for the brutal typos… need an edit feature. 😁

        First meeting with Mcdonald was in Baltimore…. today they are hosting him in Seattle. The VMAC on Lake Washington should show well……top rate facility. Hope they close the deal. 🍻🍻🍻

  32. Palatypus

    #50 Keegan on the sideline wearing jersey but no pads. Injury?

  33. PJ in Seattle

    As we sit and wait, I am reminding myself that I was initially unenthused about the hiring of Pete Carroll. I was certain his act would not translate to the NFL, his previous track record at that level was meh, and he was obviosuly fleeing NCAA retribution.

    Whomever it is at this point, I am likely to be unenthused again. And, hopefully, just as wrong in the log run.

  34. GoHawks5151

    I agree about your points on offense though the amount of times other coaches or players that have described our offense as basic or high School part of me thinks any guy who comes in and is organized will find some success.

    I think the timeline to rebuild the defense is slightly overblown though. MacDonald’s appeal is definitely utilization of talent. Moving corners to safety, getting the most out of draft picks who were stalled, putting new shine on retreads. Martindale’s defense was 28 in dvoa in 2021. They were 8 last year under MacDonald with many of the same names. There is talent on defense that I think he can work with and his specialty is front 7 so that gives me hope for a quick turnaround

  35. Gross MaToast

    Brandon Staley, excuse me… Mike Macdonald, is just what the Seahawks need – someone to come in and set this defense right. His next-level defensive prowess (we’ve been told that he is to defense what McVay is to offense!!!) is near-certain to flummox the McShanahan-dominated NFC West and lead Seattle to much glory. With his deep well of contacts resulting from years of working for one Harbaugh, then the other for a while, then the first Harbaugh again, he’s certain to cobble together a staff that would be the envy all football. Coach Staley… excuse again… Coach Macdonald is NOT a hot commodity that only became popular within the past few weeks – many people could have identified him as the Ravens’ DC well over a month ago… probably. No, he’s not bringing the vaunted Ravens “culture” that we hear so much about. Instead, he’ll be entering the John Schneider Zone – no hasty moves, the game will come to us… until it doesn’t and then we’ll make do. Coach Staley is perhaps likely to have input into staff and maybe even personnel decisions going forward, depending on whatever bullshit… excuse again… “promises” John Schneider has offered to secure a head football coach. Remember, JS has waited 14 years to take the reins and this is his career-defining appointment. Good luck to Coach Staley… excuse one last time, please. Coach Macdonald (and what’s the deal with not capitalizing the freaking first ‘D’?), good luck to Coach Macdonald and remember, it’s going to take (at most) one half of one game for McShanahan to dissect what you’re doing and turn it on you, so don’t let it get you down, it happens to a lot of guys; you’ll make a lot of money over the next 2-3 years.

    Dinwiddie ’28!

  36. Tomas

    Any HC candidate could reasonably have concerns about JS’s prowess, given the appalling number of WTF personnel decisions since the Legion of Boom years. But maybe those were all Pete’s fault? The problem is no one knows who was responsible for what.

  37. CL

    [Schefter] A youth movement in Seattle: Seahawks are expected to hire Ravens’ defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald as their new head coach, league sources tell ESPN. They’re still finalizing the deal, but Seattle has its man.


  38. Brennan

    Get his signature on the dotted line!

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