Seahawks Notebook: What GM John Schneider said about coach search

Jan 16, 2024, 12:56 PM | Updated: 1:20 pm

Seattle Seahawks John Schneider NFL combine...

Seahawks general manager John Schneider speaks to the media during the NFL combine on Feb. 28, 2023. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

When John Schneider was set to interview with the Seattle Seahawks for their general manager position, he had a binder full of notes about hiring the team’s next head coach.

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It turned out that Schneider didn’t need those notes, though, as the Seahawks had already hired Pete Carroll as coach, who then helped hire Schneider to run the front office.

That was in early 2010. Fourteen years later, Schneider is still with the Seahawks while Carroll was removed from his position last week, and the GM now leads the charge to find Carroll’s replacement.

For the first time since Carroll was let go last Wednesday, Schneider spoke to the media Tuesday at Seahawks headquarters in Renton.

“We are all here today because we underachieved in 2023. We all did,” Schneider said during the press conference (click here for video). “And now we’re in a situation where we all need to get better and we understand that … Everybody in this building deserves better.”

Here are a few of the more notable points Schneider touched on.

Keys to the hire

Schneider and his front office have a “clear directive” from ownership as the Seahawks looks for their next head coach, and he shared some keys for what the future looks like.

“We want to keep our positive culture. Everything that’s been created here, everything in this building, there’s so many special people in this building,” Schneider said. “It’s amazing to be on the phone with all these agents and the people that are interested in this position and to be able to explain to them, ‘Hey, there’s a foundation here that’s incredible. … I’m excited for this new individual to partner with and move forward (with).”

“Our culture and then how are we evolving?” Schneider later said when asked what qualities he’s planning to prioritize with this hire. “Who’s gonna help us move to the next level? How are we going to compete with everybody that we need to compete with and advance this organization moving forward?”

Schneider called this an opportunity to learn from some of football’s top minds as the Seahawks head into the future.

‘”If you’re stagnant in this league, you’re behind,” he said.

Schneider said he “always had to be ready” for life after Carroll.

“I’ve always had to have a list and try to be in the midst of what the landscape looks like around the National Football League,” he said. “And our staff does a great job with that.”

Timeline and a wide net

The Seahawks are still in the “initial processes” of their coaching search, Schneider said, as there are “a lot of boxes to be checked” in getting interviews due to new rule changes. Schneider expects interviews to start Wednesday.

Seattle has been tied to a number of names with reported interview requests starting to surface. Schneider made it no secret he wants to cast a wide net with this search.

A look at the Seattle Seahawks’ first reported coach interview requests

“Too many is not too many. We’ll handle it just like our free agency process or draft process,” he said.

Schneider said that candidates still with playoff teams are also on the Seahawks’ radar. Those candidates have a more limited interviewing scope until their season is done.

Schneider also didn’t rule out the possibility of hiring from the college ranks.

“I’m not sure yet. We haven’t decided that. It’s wide open still,” he said. “We’re ready in everything. Anybody that you can pretty much think of.”

What background do Seattle Seahawks want in a coach?

Carroll came from a defensive background, and the Seahawks’ current candidate list has a mix of offensive and defensive coaches.

Schneider shared why special teams coordinators also would make good coaching candidates.

“When you’re the special teams coordinator, you have a really good feel for and you’re in the midst of who’s going to be inactive and active all throughout the week,” he said, “and the planning on both sides of the ball with the offensive staff and the defensive staff and what both groups are looking for.”

As far as hiring a defensive-minded coach, Schneider said that if he hires a “really good offensive coordinator,” the possibility exists in an offensive-minded league that they could leave for a head coaching job after just a single year and then the head coach would need to find a replacement. He noted that former No. 1 pick Alex Smith, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, had multiple offensive coordinators for his first few years in the NFL.

The same can be said the other way around.

“If you hire a great offensive coach or a guy that’s going to be a good play-caller, where is the strength of the defensive coordinator and what kind of consistency and philosophy, strategy is that guy going to have?” Schneider said. “And how long is that guy going to be around?”

“Staff development, procurement, I think that’s extremely important regardless if it’s an offensive guy, defensive or special teams guy,” Schneider said later.

Is head coach experience necessary for Seattle Seahawks?

The Seahawks’ reported candidate list includes former head coaches as well as those with no head coaching experience.

Is it important for Schneider to find someone who has been a head coach before?

“It’s a balance, it’s definitely a balance,” he said. “So are you gonna get to take a shot with somebody that’s never been a head coach that hasn’t had necessarily had those ups and downs? … There’s something to be said for that experience, absolutely.”

“Our key here is to let people know that they’re going to have a strong foundation of people that are going to help them be the best head coach and have the best staff that they could possibly have,” Schneider later added. “And they’re going to know that we can support them whether they’ve been a head coach or they haven’t been a head coach.”

How Schneider’s role changes

Carroll wasn’t just head coach; he was also the Seahawks’ vice president of football operations, meaning he had final say over all personnel matters. He also had final say of his coaching staff.

That now changes.

“Our setup earlier was – and it’s been a question for a number of years – the coaching staff did not fall under my umbrella. And now it will,” Schneider said.

Schneider also said “yes” when asked if he had final say over personnel, regardless of who the head coach is.

More on the Seattle Seahawks’ coach search

• Rost: Besides coach, what’s Seahawks GM Schneider’s next big move?
• Schefter shares if 2 big-name coaches could be in play for Seattle Seahawks
• Pete Carroll details final meetings with Seahawks ownership
• Bobby Wagner reflects on playing for Pete Carroll on Seahawks
• Salk: Why best choice for next Seahawks coach is Jim Harbaugh

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