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Seahawks Coach Search: Bump’s easy, smart and fun picks

Jan 16, 2024, 12:21 AM

Seattle Seahawks coach Panthers Steve Wilks Geno Smith...

Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith talks to Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks in 2022. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks are working their way through candidates to be their next head coach, and there are a lot of directions general manager John Schneider could go.

A look at Seattle Seahawks’ first reported coach interview requests

For former Seahawks wide receiver Michael Bumpus, he sees three choices that fit different descriptions that he thinks are worth looking into. On Monday’s edition of Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy, he broke down those three choices like this: the easy pick, the smart pick, and the fun pick.

Here are those three candidates, and what Bump had to say about each of them.

Who could be the Seattle Seahawks coach?

Easy pick: Dan Quinn, DC, Dallas Cowboys

Quinn has been perhaps the most mentioned name when it comes to potential successors for Pete Carroll as Hawks coach. His candidacy may have taken a hit Sunday when the Green Bay Packers scored 48 points on his Dallas defense, but he still has a strong track record that includes being the DC under Carroll when Seattle made its back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, plus a run to a Super Bowl as a head coach himself with the Atlanta Falcons.

“The reason it’s the easy pick is because it’s familiar,” Bumpus said of Quinn. “Dan Quinn’s been here, the 12s know Dan Quinn. You have good memories of Dan Quinn. He’s been across the league, coached at a couple places.”

The numbers were strong with the Cowboys in 2023, too. Dallas was fifth overall in total defense, whereas Seattle was 30th. The Cowboys were also fifth against the pass, 16th against the run and sixth in turnover differential, while Seattle ranked 21st, 30th and 15th in those respective categories.

Because of his connection to the previous Seahawks coach, going with Quinn wouldn’t exactly be exciting, but it’s very possible Schneider and team chair Jody Allen could find that appealing.

“I think that people want a fresh start,” Bumpus said. “They don’t want Dan Quinn, but I could easily see Jody and John sitting down and saying, ‘Alright, let’s run this thing back, man. We know Dan.’ It’s a safe pick.”

Smart pick: Steve Wilks, DC, San Francisco 49ers

How about helping your team and hurting a division rival all at once? That’s what the Seahawks could do if they went for the 54-year-old Wilks, who led the defense for the NFC’s No. 1 seed in 2023 after spending the previous year with the Panthers as defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach, and eventually became Carolina’s interim head coach.

“This is a name that I haven’t heard anybody talk about when it comes to him being connected to the Seattle Seahawks,” Bumpus pointed out. “The reason why I like Wilks is because he has been a DC before, he was the interim head coach for the Panthers in 2018. … And why not snatch the DC from a rival?”

Does San Francisco’s personnel outweigh the Seahawks’ so much on defense that it’s giving too much credit to Wilks as a coach?

“We look at that 49ers defense and we go, ‘Man, look at Fred Warner and (Dre) Greenlaw running around,’ and personnel determines a lot, you cannot deny that. But I’ll also look at just the intensity that these guys play with,” Bumpus said. “I watched the Seahawks’ defense versus the 49ers’ defense, and the intensity wasn’t there and the passion wasn’t there (for Seattle), and that comes from personality and leadership. I look at Wilks and he does that. You see him on the sideline, he has this composed intensity about him.”

Bumpus is impressed by Wilks’ demeanor.

“Why not give this dude a chance? It makes complete sense. He’ll be a disciplinarian, he’s no-nonsense, but he also has a connection with that defense… I like Wilks, I like what he did with that defense over there with the 49ers, and I love the passion and discipline that he brings.”

Fun pick: Mike Macdonald, DC, Baltimore Ravens

Bumpus said he considered both Wilks and Macdonald for the smart and fun picks, but ultimately landed on Macdonald for the latter due to age and experience. After all, at 36, Macdonald is literally half the age of the last Seahawks head coach.

What stands out about him after spending the past two seasons as Ravens DC? One thing really jumps off the page.

“The Ravens led the league in points allowed per game – they allowed 16. They led the league in sacks – 60. They led the league in takeaways – 31. They’re the first team in NFL history to lead the league in all three categories,” Bumpus shared.

Alright, hard to argue with that. What about the age thing? Bumpus sees it as a positive.

“He’s young and I feel like he can communicate with these players on a different level. At 36 years old, he’s (already) seen a lot in this league. He also was a defensive coordinator for the Michigan Wolverines a couple years back when they made it to the College Football Playoff, so he’s done it on the college level, he’s done it on the professional level.”

The common thread

You may have noticed that Bump chose three defensive coaches for his picks. Why is that?

“I think that’s what needs to be fixed first,” he said.

His co-host, Stacy Rost, had an interesting perspective about that regarding the fact that the top two teams in the Seahawks’ division are led by younger offensive-minded coaches.

“I think that there’s this natural feeling, especially in the NFC West,” Rost said, “where we look at what Kyle Shanahan has done with the 49ers and we look at what Sean McVay has done with the Rams, and you think, ‘Can we get our version of this young, brilliant, offensive mind that can come in here and make this football team really innovative?’ That was what people had been calling for so much when Carroll was here. Like, yeah, people wanted the defense to be better, but we always heard critiques of ‘The offense is boring. How do you compete with guys as smart as Shanahan?’ So I am intrigued by your decision to resist the urge to compete by hiring an offensive mind, and instead say, well, how do you stop them? Oh, they have this weapon and they play this way? Well, how do you combat that instead of trying to do what they do?”

Listen to the full conversation from Monday’s Bump and Stacy in the podcast at this link or the player near the top of this post.

More on the Seattle Seahawks coach search

ESPN’s Schefter on if two big-name coaches could be in play
Salk: Best choice for next Seattle Seahawks coach is Jim Harbaugh
Huard: The unconventional pick for next Seahawks coach
Who will be the next Seahawks coach? Brock, Bump weigh in
Seattle Seahawks Coach Candidates: Who could succeed Carroll?

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