ESPN’s Barnwell: What Seahawks could do at coach and QB

Jan 18, 2024, 3:28 PM

Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll Geno Smith...

Seahawks QB Geno Smith and coach Pete Carroll celebrate during a game on Nov. 27, 2022. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Which direction are the Seattle Seahawks going to go in their head coaching search? Based on the team’s list of reported interview candidates, it’s unclear.

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Seattle has been tied to both offensive and defensive coaches. Some of those candidates have head coaching experience while others would be first-time head coaches should the Seahawks or another team hire them this offseason.

The Seahawks just had a head coach with a defensive background in Pete Carroll for the last 14 years, so does that mean they’ll be hiring someone who coaches on offense?

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy and shared why the Seahawks are an interesting team to follow in this head coaching cycle.

“Usually teams kind of go for the opposite of what they had previously. And that’s usually because if you have a defensive-minded coach, especially for a long period of time, they build up the defense and the offense is usually what’s lacking, so you hire an offensive-minded coach to replace that defensive-minded coach,” Barnwell said Thursday. “The Seahawks are an exception where even though their coach was from a defensive background, and a legendary defensive coach in so many ways, the offense has been the strength of the Seahawks the past couple of seasons. The defense has really been the weakness, so I can see a logic and going for a defensive-minded coach.”

Most teams have gone with offensive-minded head coaches in recent years, but that doesn’t mean that’s the right choice.

“If you’re realistic and if you’re thoughtful about the candidates available to you, look at Houston with (former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator) DeMeco Ryans, right?” Barnwell said. “Like would you rather have the best defensive coach available or the fourth or fifth best offensive coach available?”

“You want a guy who’s going to be a program builder,” Barnwell later said. “And you saw that with Pete Carroll. I mean, even though he’s not an offensive-minded coach, he had plenty of good offenses while he was there because he was great at building a program and then hiring an (offensive coordinator) who was going to make that work as well.”

How does Geno Smith tie into this?

One of the first decisions general manager John Schneider and the Seahawks’ next head coach will have to make is at quarterback.

Geno Smith just finished the first year of his three-year contract, and ESPN’s Brady Henderson told Bump and Stacy that guaranteed money for Year 2 of that deal kicks in just five days after the Super Bowl.

So will Smith be back in Seattle next year? Barnwell thinks it’s complicated.

“I think it comes down to a few different things. No, 1, of course, what does the new guy think of Geno, who I think, in my opinion, is a good NFL quarterback,” he said. “Especially later in the year he played really well. I think he deserves to be back and given an opportunity to start again. But I think it depends on how you feel about the guys in this draft class.”

There are anywhere from five to six quarterback prospects who some believe could be first-round picks this year, but that doesn’t mean the Seahawks will love one of those guys or that someone they like a lot will be available when they pick in the first round. Right now, Seattle holds the 16th overall pick and the Hawks don’t have a second-round pick.

Barnwell doesn’t think the Seahawks should move on from Geno just because they want a younger quarterback.

“That’s how you get into problems in the NFL … But if you’re saying, ‘OK, there’s a guy who we really like here that’s going to be available in the middle of the first round where we’re picking or maybe we have to trade up three or four spots to get him … I think that makes sense to go out and get a guy who doesn’t have to start immediately,” Barnwell said. ” … I really think it’s about Josh Schneider more than the coach and about the eval in terms of what he thinks about this year’s quarterback class.”

What also makes the Smith decision interesting is that the Seahawks’ defense is more of a problem than Smith and the offense.

“If it’s not a guy you love, I think it makes total sense (to target defense early in the draft),” Barnwell said. “I would trade down and get two defensive pieces or draft a defensive piece at 16 because this is a team where you can look at the roster look at how they played last year, the defense is the problem with this football team. If you can get a couple more pieces and have some of their guys stay healthier, that to me is what’s going to make this team the best and most well-rounded version of this roster.”

Listen to the full interview with ESPN NFL reporter Bill Barnwell at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

More on the Seattle Seahawks’ coaching search

• Salk: The case for Mike Vrabel as Seattle Seahawks’ next coach
• Schlereth: What could motivate Seahawks to get offensive-minded coach
• Why K.J. Wright thinks Seahawks should hire Dan Quinn as head coach
• What would Vrabel, Quinn, Harbaugh bring as Seahawks coach?
• A look at young OCs who are latest Seahawks interview requests
• Seahawks Notebook: What GM John Schneider said about coach search
• Seahawks Coach Search: Bump’s easy, smart and fun picks
• Who are Seahawks’ first reported coach interview requests?

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