Would Gus Bradley as Seahawks DC be right mix of familiarity, fresh eyes?

Feb 1, 2022, 12:03 PM | Updated: 12:03 pm

Seahawks Gus Bradley...

Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley of the Las Vegas Raiders looks on during the second half against the Baltimore Ravens. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The NFL’s coaching carousel is in full swing as multiple teams have their new head coaches and coordinators, but the Seahawks are still in need of a defensive coordinator following their firing of Ken Norton Jr. after four seasons.

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A name that’s been tossed around for Seattle is Gus Bradley, who was the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks from 2009-12, the last three years of which were under head coach Pete Carroll.

Bradley is now on the open market as the Las Vegas Raiders hired Josh McDaniels to be the team’s head coach, and Bradley almost certainly won’t be retained.

The Seahawks have been linked to four names for their open coordinator position, but Bradley to date isn’t on that list. He is, however, reportedly interviewing with the Indianapolis Colts for their defensive coordinator vacancy.

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Should the Seahawks be targeting Bradley for a return to Seattle? And is he actually the best candidate for the job? Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton weighed in on Bradley and the Seahawks’ coaching search during Monday’s edition of Wyman and Bob on 710 ESPN Seattle.

“We talked about (reported candidate Ed Donatell) being that nice blend of fresh eyes on the product, if you will, versus familiarity and somebody who’s on the inside,” Stelton said. “He kind of bridges both those gaps. Bradley would be the same thing. I wouldn’t call him a Pete Carroll disciple because he’s been out of the building for a while. It’s been a few years since he’s been here, he’s had other experiences. And perhaps he looks at it with a fresh perspective now that he hasn’t been in the building if he were to be a consideration.”

Donatell has a history with Carroll dating back to the early 1980s where the two coached at Pacific University together. Donatell later was Carroll’s defensive backs coach when Carroll was New York Jets DC from 1990-93 and then head coach in 1994.

Bradley, meanwhile, worked for Carroll for three seasons before being hired as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, a role he held from 2013-16. After that, Bradley was the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers from 2017-20 before having that same role with the Raiders in 2021.

Wyman pointed out that 2012, Bradley’s last year as Seahawks defensive coordinator, was the first of four seasons Seattle ranked No. 1 in scoring defense.

A common talking point regarding the Seahawks’ defense is that it’s “Pete’s defense” regardless of who the coordinator is. Wyman believes that ultimately the Seahawks won’t stray too far from what they’ve typically done under Carroll with their next coordinator hire. That could bode well for Bradley if the Seahawks are interested.

“I don’t think they’re going to take some drastic departure away from the kind of defense that they’ve been running here,” Wyman said. “If you look at it that way and that it’s going to be that way whether you like it or not, you want somebody that’s familiar. I mean, you would want someone like Gus Bradley, I would think. Donatell, (he and Carroll) have coached together, but it was a long time ago. And I don’t know, I feel like this one is different.”

Ultimately, Wyman doesn’t think scheme is the No. 1 priority for the team’s next coordinator.

“I do like your idea that you need to get fresh eyes in here … And to me, it’s not so much about the scheme, it’s about how you’re playing,” Wyman said. “Like where’s the urgency? Where is the the aggression? We just haven’t really seen that, and you’ve got some guys that can do that.”

Wyman said the eventual hire will be very interesting because it could turn out to be someone from the outside who doesn’t have experience with Carroll or a system like his, which is was what happened last offseason when the Seahawks hired Shane Waldron to be offensive coordinator.

“The thing with that was you’ve got to find somebody who’s going to be totally compatible with (quarterback Russell Wilson), but on defense it’s not really the same way,” Wyman said.

Wyman said even if star linebacker Bobby Wagner was a few years younger and under contract for multiple seasons rather than in the final year of his deal, the Seahawks wouldn’t be hiring a DC to be compatible with him more than anyone else, as is often the case with offensive coordinators and quarterbacks.

“It doesn’t really work so much that way on defense, but it does need to be a guy that clicks with a couple of the players that you have,” Wyman said. “And if you’re going to keep Bobby and pay him that much, he’s got to be one of them. And the other one is Jamal Adams, and possibly Carlos Dunlap, too. You need somebody that’s going to really sell those guys, the leaders on your team defensively, that, ‘Hey, this is what we’re going to run and it’s going to be great and we’re going to get so much better.'”

Listen to the first hour of Monday’s Wyman and Bob at this link or in the player below.

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Would Gus Bradley as Seahawks DC be right mix of familiarity, fresh eyes?