Heaps: How Seahawks’ OC candidates list may signal direction they go
The Seahawks’ search for their next offensive coordinator continues, and a wide variety of names have been thrown out there since Seattle made the decision to part ways with Brian Schottenheimer two weeks ago.
So far, the Seahawks have reportedly reached out to 11 coaches regarding the vacancy, but some have either decided to stay put or have been hired by other teams. (For a full list of who Seattle has reportedly been linked to, check out this tweet.)
Shortly after Seattle moved on from Schottenheimer, former NFL quarterback Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy provided 11 names he thought the Seahawks should look at hiring for the job. His 11 aren’t the same 11 the Seahawks have ultimately talked to, but there is some definite overlap.
When Heaps put together his list – which you can check out here – there were two categories: experienced play callers and young up-and-comers.
The Seahawks have reached out to veteran play callers and former head coaches like ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase and longtime NFL running backs coach Kirby Wilson, but Heaps doesn’t think that’s the direction Seattle is going with the search.
“None of those (more experienced) names really should have been taken seriously,” he said. “Those were exploratory names.”
Instead, he thinks the Seahawks will hire someone who falls into the up-and-comer category and isn’t a current offensive coordinator for another team.
Heaps’ list is now down to five who are still available, made up of four from his initial list and one new name who the Seahawks have reportedly reached out to for an interview. Those five are Rams passing game coordinator Shane Waldron, Bills quarterbacks coach Ken Dorsey, Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Packers passing game coordinator Luke Getsy and Chargers quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton.
“Those five names to me, I think, is where this thing is narrowing down,” Heaps said. “Maybe we’ll be surprised by another name that comes out there, but just by seeing where this is narrowing down and where the focus has gone … I really think if you look at these five names, they stand out to me the most.”
“Ken Dorsey has been around the game a long time, but has also learned from guys like (longtime Chargers head coach) Norv Turner and has found creative ways to use guys like Cam Newton to make them as effective as possible, and (he) was a huge influence on (Bills quarterback) Josh Allen,” he said. “Everyone talks about (Bills offensive coordinator) Brian Daboll, but Ken Dorsey was also a huge influence on Josh Allen and Josh Allen has tremendous things to say about Ken Dorsey.”
The 39-year-old Dorsey, a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist at Miami, has been a quarterbacks coach in the NFL since 2013 with a one-year break in 2018 where he was an assistant athletic director at Florida International University.
Schefter’s report over the weekend also said that the Seahawks were looking at talking to Waldron for the job. That report was what signaled to Heaps that the Seahawks will likely hire a younger up-and-coming coach to be the team’s next offensive coordinator.
Heaps’ preference of those five coaches listed would be Hackett, but he doesn’t think Seattle will be able to lure him from Green Bay. Though Hackett is the Packers’ offensive coordinator, he doesn’t call plays during games. If the Seahawks can’t make Hackett an offer he can’t refuse, Heaps’ new favorite is Waldron, and he believes Waldron and Dorsey have an “it” factor that could make them very successful in the NFL as play callers.
“I think Shane Waldron would be the guy that could add a lot of traits to this offense and play at a level that I think Russell Wilson would really like to play at when you look at the Rams and how they approach the game,” he said.
Wilson told reporters after the season he’d like to see the offense play with more tempo and urgency while head coach Pete Carroll told reporters he wants to run the ball more in 2021. Heaps thinks Waldron, 41, can bring in what both are looking for.
“You look at the Rams’ offense and the (Mike) Shanahan coaching tree, it starts with the run game, and they have great respect for the run game and creating a bunch of different ways to run the ball, and then you also have an explosive passing game off of that,” Heaps said. “I think it would be a really nice marriage for this offense and what they’re looking for.”
Heaps noted that with a hire like Waldron or Dorsey, there’s risk as they’ve never called plays before, but in the case of Waldron, Heaps thinks his experience shows he can handle that job.
“Shane Waldron wasn’t calling plays but he’s been a part of that game plan, that brain trust for (Rams head coach) Sean McVay over the last four years,” Heaps said. “He’s a guy that would bring a different element to this offense that they haven’t seen. The ability to mix in tempo and come up with creative plays to get your best guys the ball down the field and also intermediate to create space.”