What to know about Seahawks coach candidate Patrick Graham

Jan 25, 2024, 10:23 AM

Seattle Seahawks coach search Patrick Graham...

Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham of the Las Vegas Raiders on Jan. 7, 2024. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks have been tied to a number of defensive-minded candidates for their head coach vacancy, including Patrick Graham, who just finished his second year as defensive coordinator of the Las Vegas Raiders.

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What do you need to know about the 45-year-old Graham, who reportedly had a second head coaching interview with the Seahawks this week? Jason Horowitz, the radio voice of the Raiders, joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob to break it all down.

“His defenses are predicated on turnovers,” Horowitz said. “And I feel like a lot of people say that, but it was pretty evident this year. (That was) difference in this defense from a year ago to this year, because last year there were like hardly any. They couldn’t get a turnover.”

The Raiders had just 13 takeaways in 2022, which was last in the NFL. That improved to 23 and an 18th-place finish in 2023. Additionally, Vegas was 15th in yards allowed and ninth in points allowed.

“The defense was really good (in 2023). And particularly when it was put together with (interim turned permanent head coach) Antonio Pierce, they became the No. 1 defense in the NFL from the time that Pierce took over to the end of the season,” Horowitz said. ” … It all really started to come together.”

What made that more impressive is that outside of star defensive end Maxx Crosby, the Raiders don’t have many big-name players on defense.

“To be honest, yes, Maxx Crosby is as good as it gets, but he did the rest with a lot of guys that were pieced together, and they deserve a lot of credit for that,” Horowitz said.

Graham is a really smart coach, Horowitz said, pointing to him playing in college at Yale and coaching under Bill Belichick in New England (as well as in Miami and New York). He’s also someone who’s backed by his players.

“The players all like him,” Horowitz said. ” … And in working for the Raiders where you saw and everyone read the stories as the year went on about team meetings and how the players interacted with (former head coach) Josh McDaniels versus how they went to bat for Antonio Pierce down the stretch, it’s very important for players to like a coach … I think that part of it is there. The players like him.”

Personality-wise, Horowitz said Graham is on the quiet side.

“But not because he’s not very good at communicating, but just more than I don’t find him to be this massive ‘rah rah’ guy,” Horowitz said. “But he is a good communicator, and the players do get what he’s trying to do and I do believe that is a really good thing, at least for the defensive aspect of things. But he’s never been a head coach, and I’m sure that’s something he’s trying to figure out how he would want to handle that, as well.”

Does Horowitz think Graham would be a good head coaching hire for the Seahawks or another team?

“I do think he would be a good head coach, because I think the players like him, but I also think he’d be a really good head coach because he’s a really good defensive mind,” he said.

You can hear the full Wyman and Bob conversation with Raiders broadcaster Jason Horowitz in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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