Heaps: 11 names the Seahawks should consider for offensive coordinator
The Seahawks made a bit of a surprising move on Tuesday when they let go of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer after three seasons.
Schottenheimer was let go due to “philosophical differences,” and head coach Pete Carroll made it clear after Saturday’s playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams that he wants to get back to running the football more next year after the Seahawks’ explosive passing attack slowed down in a big way during the second half of the season.
With the Seahawks in the market for a new play caller, everyone is trying to figure out who will be Carroll’s fourth offensive coordinator since he joined Seattle in 2010. It will also be the third play caller that star quarterback Russell Wilson has had in his NFL career, which started in 2012.
Former Seahawks quarterback Jake Heaps has some ideas for how the Seahawks should fill that opening, and he provided 11 possible candidates of varying backgrounds that he would like for Seattle to look at hiring. Here’s what he had to say Wednesday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy.
Experienced play-callers/current OCs
There were two categories of possible offensive coordinator hires that Heaps broke down. The first features those who are currently offensive coordinators and/or have play-calling experience.
“This has everything to do with how aggressive you want to be in terms of trying to get the best and have the best,” he said. “… Some of these are not play callers. They’re OCs by name but they’re not the play caller, so there would be an incentive for these guys to get an opportunity to show what they can do as the main play caller for an entire season.”
Here are six names that fit into that category.
• Nathaniel Hackett, Packers OC
Recent experience: Packers OC 2019-present, Jaguars OC 2016-2018, Jags QBs 2015-2016, Bills OC 2013-2014, Syracuse OC 2011-2012
Jake’s take: “I believe Nathaniel Hackett would be an unbelievable hire with what they’ve been able to do in Green Bay, what they’ve been able to put together in their run game and their passing game. Nathaniel Hackett would be a guy that if you could lure him away with the idea of ‘Hey, you can be the play caller for us’ … I think there’s a chance there.”
• Alex Van Pelt, Browns OC
Recent experience: Browns OC 2020-present, Bengals QBs coach 2018-2019, Packers QBs coach 2014-2017, Packers RBs coach 2012-2013, Bucs QBs coach 2010-2011
Jake’s take: “Alex Van Pelt to me is a guy I’ve really enjoyed watching this season along with (Browns head coach) Kevin Stefanski, the way they’ve been able to get Baker Mayfield in a rhythm, the way they’ve still been able to be explosive … But also it was so impressive to see what he did when he had a chance to call plays against the Steelers last week when Kevin Stefanski was not able to be there due to COVID.”
• Arthur Smith, Titans OC
Recent experience: Titans OC 2019-present, Titans TEs coach 2016-2018, Titans assistant TEs coach 2014-2015, Titans assistant TEs/OL coach 2013, Titans offensive quality control 2012, Titans defensive quality control 2011
Jake’s take: “He’s been getting head coaching offers and I don’t know if Arthur Smith would be on the table, but he would be one I’d be very intrigued with in terms of going after. You talk about a run-centric offense, he knows how to run that. He had Derrick Henry, they were very run-focused, but they were also able to (put up) and sustain 30 points per game throughout the entire season, so they were explosive.”
• Shane Steichen, Chargers OC
Recent experience: Chargers OC 2020, Chargers interim OC 2019, Chargers QBs coach 2016-2019, Chargers offensive quality control 2014-2015, Browns offensive quality control 2013
Jake’s take: “Shane Steichen is a guy that’s been on the Seahawks’ shortlist I believe for offensive coordinators. He was the first name that was thrown out there by (NFL Network’s) Mike Garafolo after Brian Schottenheimer got fired, and he did a great job in terms of tutoring (rookie quarterback) Justin Herbert. Originally, (former Chargers head coach) Anthony Lynn hired him to really control the running game … but ironically enough, they weren’t very good in the running game last year … But they did have a dynamic offensive attack and Justin Herbert had an amazing year.”
• Nick Sirianni, Colts OC
Recent experience: Colts OC 2018-present, Chargers WRs coach 2016-2017, Chargers QBs coach 2014-2015, Chargers offensive quality control 2013, Chiefs WRs coach 2012
Jake’s take: “(The Colts) have a run-oriented attack … (but) he is not the play caller. That is (another guy who runs a run-oriented offense) that have explosive and dynamic offensive attacks that I think could help this offense.”
• Doug Pederson, former Eagles head coach
Recent experience: Eagles HC 2016-2020, Chiefs OC 2013-2015, Eagles QBs coach 2011-2012, Eagles offensive quality control 2009-2010
Jake’s take: “Doug Pederson is one that’s a complete outside shot, it’s not going to happen. I would love to see Doug Pederson here, but there’s just no way … (I don’t think Pederson or the names mentioned above) will be here because I don’t think they will have (full control of the offense) and be able to call the game the way they see fit and they way they want to manage it.” It’s worth noting Pederson was born in Bellingham and grew up in Ferndale.
Up and coming innovators who aren’t current OCs
Heaps thinks it’s likely that the Seahawks won’t be able to hire any of the names above due to Carroll wanting the offense to operate in a specific way. As such, he thinks a coach who isn’t currently an offensive coordinator or wasn’t in that role in 2020 will ultimately be the hire for the Seahawls.
“I think this is more of the list that you’re looking at,” he said. “When I think about this … these are the guys I think are more legitimately on the table for you and are easier to get to come to Seattle.”
• Mike LaFleur and Mike McDaniel, 49ers coordinators
LaFleur’s recent experience: 49ers pass game coordinator 2019-present, 49ers WRs coach 2017-2018, Falcons offensive assistant 2015-2016
LaFleur’s age: 33
McDaniel’s recent experience: 49ers run game coordinator 2017-present, Falcons offensive assistant 2015-2016, Browns WRs coach 2014, WFT WRs coach 2013, WFT offensive assistant 2011-2012
McDaniel’s age: 37
Jake’s take: Heaps said with either of these two, you’re picking from the Kyle Shanahan tree of coaches down in San Francisco, where the 49ers’ offense has been very good since he took over as head coach in 2017, especially in 2019. And a quick note on LaFleur: his older brother is Matt LaFleur, the Packers head coach.
“Those two guys are incredibly innovative, they understand the evolution of what is happening to offenses right now and have found creative and dynamic ways to be successful in the passing game, be successful in the running game. So either one of those two guys would be great.”
• Shane Waldron, Rams pass game coordinator
Recent experience: Rams pass game coordinator 2018-current, Rams QBs coach 2019, LAR TEs coach 2017, WFT offensive quality control 2016
Jake’s take: “I think Shane Waldron has been more entrenched (than Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell) in what (Rams head coach) Sean McVay has done with this Rams offense. So he would be a guy I would be highly encouraged by if they brought him in.”
• Pep Hamilton, Chargers QB coach
Recent experience: Chargers QB coach 2020, DC Defenders HC/GM 2020 (XFL), University of Michigan assistant HC and pass game coordinator 2017-2018, Browns assistant HC and QBs coach 2016, Colts OC 2013-2015, Stanford OC and QBs coach 2011-2012
Jake’s take: “Pep Hamilton has a unique background, I mean a really unique background in terms of being an offensive coordinator (with the Colts as well as in college at Stanford) … And I think he did a great job tutoring Justin Herbert (as the Chargers QBs coach in 2020).”
• Luke Getsy, Packers pass game coordinator
Recent experience: Packers pass game coordinator 2020-present, Packers QBs coach 2019-present, Mississippi State OC and WRs coach 2018, Packers WRs coach 2016-2017, Packers offensive quality control coach 2014-2015
Jake’s take: “If you can’t get Nathaniel Hackett and you’re looking at what Green Bay did and are envious of what Green Bay did, Luke Getsy is the passing game coordinator for the Green Bay Packers.”
Jake & Stacy