Pete Carroll is known to be a coach who likes to innovate and go above and beyond what other coaches do. With Seattle, he has built the foundation for one of the most successful NFL franchises in recent memory with his unique style. But will this new coaching staff continue that legacy, or does it represent too much change?
Pete Carroll was hired by the Seattle Seahawks in 2010. He’s coached the team to a Super Bowl victory and has led them to three consecutive playoff appearances. However, he is now entering his fourth season with the Seahawks and it seems like he might be getting tired of being comfortable.
6 a.m. ET
Brady Henderson is a professional football player. ESPN
SEATTLE (AP) — Pete Carroll had to be devastated by the decision to terminate defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. on a personal level.
The Seattle Seahawks coach is renowned for his devotion to his assistants, and he has long admired Norton, describing him as “one of my favorite individuals I’ve worked with throughout my coaching career.” Norton was an All-Pro linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers in the mid-90s, and Carroll was their defensive coordinator at the time. Since their time at USC, Norton has worked with Carroll for 15 of the last 18 seasons.
In that regard, Seattle’s decision to fire Norton, as well as defensive passing-game coordinator Andre Curtis, this week was moderately shocking.
It was not in every other way.
During Norton’s four-year career with the Seahawks, the defense was solid at times. However, two of the greatest periods came after abysmal beginnings in each of the previous two seasons, when Seattle surrendered historically high numbers of yards early before turning things around. Over those four seasons, it was never consistently good, never finishing in the top ten in points allowed or the top 15 in yards allowed.
To be fair to Norton, he didn’t have the same degree of skill as his Legion of Boom predecessors Kris Richard, Dan Quinn, and Gus Bradley. While Seattle’s defense was a part of the issue in 2021, particularly early on, it’s difficult to say it was the main reason the team ended 7-10 and missed the playoffs for just the second time in the previous ten seasons.
• Is the Mahomes-Allen rivalry the next big thing? • Inside Brady’s playoff touch • Kupp praises his wife as an influence The Bengals’ offense is a source of worry for the Titans. The Jets are being rebuilt.
After a season in which the Seahawks suffered their worst defeats in almost a decade, no one expected things to return to normal.
The team is now looking for their sixth defensive coordinator during Carroll’s tenure.
They’ve sought an interview with Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Other contenders are Seattle Seahawks defensive line coach/assistant head coach Clint Hurtt (in The Seattle Times), Chicago Bears DC Sean Desai (per The Athletic), and Dallas Cowboys defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr. (per NFL Network).
Before we look at each contender, consider the following three questions:
Jody Allen, what part did she have in the Norton and Curtis decisions? Their firings occurred only days after Carroll and general manager John Schneider met with Allen, the team’s de facto owner after the death of her brother Paul Allen in 2018. Carroll’s massive staff shakeup after the 2017 season is said to have been primarily at Paul Allen’s request. It’s reasonable to speculate about Jody Allen’s role in these modifications.
How enticing is the position of defensive coordinator with the Seahawks? It is contingent on the coach. For the most part, whomever Carroll picks will be in charge of Carroll’s defense. A more experienced coordinator who has had success operating his own program would be unlikely to embrace another’s. The Seattle post, on the other hand, might be appealing to certain applicants. Questions abound over which free agents (Quandre Diggs, D.J. Reed, Al Woods) and under-contract players (Bobby Wagner) will return.
However, there should be enough skill to avoid a rebuilding process between what they currently have, who they’ll re-sign, and who they could acquire in free agency with their abundant salary space. The fact that the Seahawks have a quarterback and offense capable of doing their share, if Russell Wilson isn’t moved, may be as appealing to potential DCs.
What adjustments to the scheme do you think Carroll has in mind? The days of the Seahawks running essentially the same defense, confident in their ability to execute even when opposing teams knew what was coming, are long gone. In recent seasons, they’ve done things differently. It was an abnormally high dosage of base personnel in 2019. They deployed what was virtually a five-man defensive line a lot in 2021. According to Reed, they also played more man later in the season, which helped limit the amount of yards they allowed in soft zones early on.
The point is that Carroll has been fine-tuning his defense. Whatever modifications he makes will almost certainly be aimed at increasing pressure and turnovers. Last year, they were tied for 22nd in sacks and 25th in takeaways.
Here are the four candidates that have been mentioned:
• Rankings: Kiper » | McShay » • Kiper’s debut 2022 mock draft » • McShay’s opening 2022 mock draft » • Meet the QBs in the 2022 class » • Draft order: Top 24 picks set » • More coverage » | Full rankings »
Joe Whitt Jr. is a member of the Whitt family. Whitt, 43, has no prior association with Carroll, although he did work under Carroll disciple Dan Quinn for portions of the last two seasons. Whitt served as the defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach for the Atlanta Falcons in 2020, Quinn’s last season as head coach. After Quinn was hired the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator last summer, Whitt followed him to Dallas. Carroll’s defense was coordinated by Quinn in 2013 and 2014, and he has continued to operate a similar system, giving him some built-in experience with Whitt. Carroll must be pleased with Dallas’ performance last season, which saw them lead the NFL in interceptions and takeaways.
Sean Desai is a writer. He also had no prior history with Carroll, having worked in college until joining the Bears in 2013. He just finished his first season as a defensive coordinator of any kind. Desai, 38, was Chicago’s safeties coach for two seasons (2019-20) before being promoted to DC last season. Last season, the Bears were 22nd in points allowed and sixth in yards allowed.
Desai is the NFL’s first Indian-American coordinator, according to the team’s website. In 2018, he received his PhD in educational administration from Temple University, where he worked as an adjunct professor in 2009 and 2010.
- how old is pete carroll
- 2013 seattle seahawks
- seahawks championships