STACY ROST

What stands out about two NFL DCs in mix for Seahawks coach

Jan 23, 2024, 11:28 AM | Updated: 12:08 pm

Seattle Seahawks head coach Patrick Graham...

Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham of the Las Vegas Raiders on Dec. 14, 2023. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks completed a first round of interviews and have reported requested second interviews with a number of candidates around the league, including Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

Report: Seattle Seahawks set up second interviews with five candidates

On Monday, two reporters who know these coaches well joined Bump and Stacy to talk about what the Hawks might be seeing in both men.

Candidate: Ejiro Evero

Ejiro Evero, who has coaching experience with the Rams and 49ers, was a first-time defensive coordinator in 2022 and oversaw a Broncos defense that finished top 10 in yards and 12th in points allowed. The Broncos reportedly wanted to keep him on under new head coach Sean Payton, but agreed to a request for release, allowing Evero to take over as DC for the Panthers. The Panthers finished with the worst record in football, but that was due to an inept offense; Evero’s defense, despite a rash of injuries to starters, finished third against the pass.

ESPN’s David Newton was especially impressed with how Evero kept the defense competitive through a number of injuries, in particular because he didn’t make excuses.

“The first word that comes to my mind is just ‘class.’ He’s just first-class all around. Players respect him, they believe in him. He’s able to adjust and get the most out of players. And I think that’s what you look for in a head coach. And again, I think that leader of men quality. They had that last year in their interim coach, Steve Wilks, though they didn’t hire him because they still wanted to go in that offensive direction. But again, I think they also find themselves in a position (under a new head coach) where they need somebody that’s going to keep this team together and build a culture that’s long lasting, and what you see in Evero is a guy who can do that.”

One thing to watch? Evero is also a candidate for the Panthers’ head coaching vacancy and is having a second interview with Carolina, even tough their target is an offensive coordinator.

Candidate: Patrick Graham

Patrick Graham’s Raiders defense was 14th in yards allowed and seventh in points (19.2), the latter up from 30th in 2020 and 26th in 2021.

Vic Tafur, a senior writer for The Athletic who covers the Raiders, shared how Las Vegas’ defense grew under Graham.

“Last year was a little rough for him, the system I think was a little tough for players to grasp. But once they got it, you saw them this year play together, and they definitely had good chemistry on the field,” Tafur said. ” … I think players relate to him as easy going … I think he relates to them and spends extra time with them. I think he’s a guy players can believe in playing for, they can believe he cares about them.”

One thing to watch? Interim head coach Antonio Pierce is staying on in a permanent role, which could influence whether Graham stays. Tafur says he believes the plan is that if Graham doesn’t get a head coaching job, he’ll stay on and build on what he and Pierce have done last season.

More on Seattle Seahawks coach search

Seahawks Coach Search: Could Rams DC Raheem Morris be the pick?
• What make Detroit Lions OC Ben Johnson appealing
Will next Seahawks coach be Texans OC Bobby Slowik? Three things to know
• Seahawks Candidate Deep Dive: Isaiah Stanback on Dan Quinn
• ESPN insider details what Seattle Seahawks have asked coach candidates

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What stands out about two NFL DCs in mix for Seahawks coach