Will next Seahawks coach be Texans OC Bobby Slowik? 3 things to know

Jan 21, 2024, 10:31 AM | Updated: 1:48 pm

Seattle Seahawks coach search Bobby Slowik...

Houston Texans OC Bobby Slowik talks with QB C.J. Stroud. (Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

On Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob, they’re working their way through each name that comes up as the potential next Seattle Seahawks head coach with the help of an insider who knows the candidate well.

Seahawks Candidate Deep Dive: Isaiah Stanback on Dan Quinn

On Thursday, it was time to take a look at Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik, aided by the insights of Drew Dougherty, who hosts Texans television broadcasts.

You can listen to the full conversation in the podcast at this link or in the player below. After that, let’s break down three things to know about Slowik that we learned from Dougherty.

A closer look at Bobby Slowik

1. The Texans don’t want to lose him.

Dougherty was perfectly cordial when he joined the show, but he quickly turned territorial before the first question about Slowik could be asked.

“Let me preface this all by saying keep your filthy mitts off of our OC,” Dougherty joked.

He’s that good, huh?

Well, the Texans ranked 12th in yards per game at 342.4 during the 2023 regular season, including an average of 245.5 passing yards, which was seventh. They were also 14th with 22.2 points per game. Those were all significant improvements from the year before, when the Texas were 31st in total yardage, averaged almost 50 passing yards less per game (196.7), and tied for 30th in points at 17 per game.

What changed? Just about everything. DeMeco Ryans became the head coach, rookie quarterback CJ Stroud entered the fray, and Slowik became OC after six years in lower-level assistant coach roles with the San Francisco 49ers all between the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

So how much credit should Slowik get for the Texans’ big step forward, which helped them go 10-7 to win the AFC South and blow out the Browns 45-17 in the wild card round of the playoffs last weekend?

“It’s been a massive impact,” Dougherty said of Slowik’s arrival. “It’s a guy who is very, very fundamentally sound when he gets his offense across, but he’s also open to accentuating his players’ strengths and he’s open to input. … Now how does that translate to him being a head coach? I don’t know. But at least as far as being an OC, those are some very exciting things to see here. There have been some good offenses here with the Texans over the last 15 years, mainly in the (Gary) Kubiak days – Kubiak (as head coach) and Kyle Shanahan when he was an OC – but it’s really been a fun season with Bobby Slowik and this young quarterback in CJ Stroud.”

On that note, the head coach at the 49ers while Slowik was with San Francisco? Kyle Shanahan. So if the style of offense that dates back to Kyle Shanahan’s dad, Mike, and has been all the rage throughout the league is what the Seahawks are looking for, Slowik has shown he has a pretty handle on it.

“They’ll go deep, but it’s not like an Air Raid offense where they’re just throwing all the time and you sneak in a run here and there,” Dougherty said of the Texas’ offense under Slowik. “They want to be able to run the ball or at least be able to set up the play-action. It’s sort of from that traditional Shanahan/Kubiak tree of offense that’s really working well in places like San Francisco and Miami right now.”

2. He’s young, but may also be ready to be a head coach.

Like another name the Seahawks have reportedly requested to interview, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Slowik is exactly half the age of Seattle’s last head coach. Pete Carroll is 72, and Slowik is just 36.

Age has been less of a concern for coaches ever since the Rams hired Sean McVay before his 31st birthday in 2017, then won the Super Bowl under him five years later. But is Slowik seasoned enough to vault to the head coaching ranks just a year after his first OC job?

“It’s such a tough question to answer,” Dougherty said. “It wouldn’t stun me if he got a head coaching job somewhere and just immediately was a success. That would not stun me at all. I’m sure another year of experience wouldn’t hurt either, but it seems like he’s ready, I suppose. I mean, like I said at the outset, keep your filthy mitts off him. Nobody around here wants him to go because he’s been just terrific, but I would think he seems to be ready.”

Whether or not he’s ready to make the leap, Slowik wasn’t putting the cart before the horse ahead of Saturday’s divisional round game for Houston against the Baltimore Ravens (the Texans came up short 34-10 against the team with the NFL’s best record, and Slowik was reportedly set to interview with several teams including Seattle on Sunday, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter).

Relayed Dougherty: “He said earlier this week in his press conference with the media, ‘I have not done any interviews yet. That’s something that when that time comes, yes, I will do it, but I haven’t. I’ve been totally focused on the game and that’s on the back burner ’til it’s time.'”

3. He took a unique path to an NFL OC job.

One reason may be ready to be a head coach now is because he’s been around coaches essentially all his life. His dad, Bob Slowik, was a longtime defensive coordinator with several NFL teams and still coaches linebackers in the CFL for the Calgary Stampeders. Bobby Slowik has also been coaching in the NFL for the better part of the past decade, breaking in as a defensive assistant with Washington from 2010-13.

There’s an odd gap in Slowik’s coaching history, though. There were four years in between his time with Washington and his next NFL gig, which was defensive quality control coach with the 49ers in 2017 and 2018. So where did he go?

Believe it or not, he was an analyst for Pro Football Focus, the online outlet that specializes in analytics-laden breakdowns. As a senior analyst, Slowik’s job involved grading NFL players and reviewing other analysts’ own grading.

How do those three years at PFF inform how he coaches?

“He says he learned a lot from his time there, so I’m sure that that applies to what he does,” Dougherty said. “And I know that the guys that work there have said what a boon it was having him there. They learned a (heck) of a lot from him.”

Another interesting thing about Slowik is that while he started as a defensive coach, a few years after his PFF stint he switched to the other side of the ball. He was also an offensive player, as he was a wide receiver at Michigan Tech in college.

“He’s a well-rounded guy. He’s got a great base of knowledge, nice experience,” Dougherty said. “… He has got a lot of institutional knowledge, and he’s certainly a very attractive head coaching candidate.”

More on Seattle Seahawks coach candidates

ESPN insider details what Seattle Seahawks have asked head coach candidates
ESPN’s Barnwell: What Seahawks could do at coach and QB
Is USC’s Lincoln Riley open to going to the NFL?
Salk: The case for Mike Vrabel as Seattle Seahawks’ next coach
Schlereth: What could motivate Seattle Seahawks to go for offensive coach

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