Why ESPN’s Yates thinks Seahawks will hire Dan Quinn as coach

Jan 25, 2024, 4:28 PM

Seattle Seahawks Dan Quinn...

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn of the Dallas Cowboys at training camp on July 24, 2021. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

(Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Early last week, the Seattle Seahawks were one of eight teams looking for a new head coach. As of Thursday afternoon, they’re one of just two teams remaining that doesn’t have a head coach, the other being the Washington Commanders.

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When Seattle parted ways with Pete Carroll after 14 seasons, many pointed to Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, a former Carroll assistant on two Seahawks Super Bowl teams, as a natural fit to take over as the franchise’s next head coach. One ESPN analyst still thinks that’s the case.

“It felt like just within hours of that announcement dropping, it was already ‘Dan Quinn to Seattle’ had generated a lot of steam,” Field Yates told Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Thursday. “And it’s logical in the sense that, of course, Dan knows pretty much everybody that’s been in the building for quite some time. He’s been a head coach himself so you kind of have an idea of what he can bring to the table, he’s a defensive-minded man, which of course is important for a team that I think right now is in really good shape offensively and just needs to really, really figure it out on defense. My general sense is that we’re still heading towards the Dan Quinn conclusion.”

That, of course, doesn’t mean that it’s a sure thing, and we’ve seen surprise hires in the past, including with the NFL’s longest-tenured head coach.

“One of the great coaches who has been around for a long time, Mike Tomlin, this is how he got the job in Pittsburgh. It was sort of like an exploratory interview and it felt like the team had already made up its mind and he won over the Steelers’ brass, and then 17 seasons later with 17 seasons of .500 or better, Mike Tomlin remains in control in Pittsburgh,” Yates said.

What about Ben Johnson?

One of the more popular names this coaching cycle to have not yet been hired as a head coach is Detroit offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, who has helped guide the Lions to a spot in the NFC Championship and has led a top-five offense each of the past two seasons.

The Seahawks have been tied to Johnson, and many fans want him to be the team’s next head coach.

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Yates thinks Johnson will get hired as a head coach this offseason, but with the other opening that’s still available.

“I think Ben Johnson is headed for Washington to coach the Commanders, and they’ll have the No. 2 pick (in the 2024 NFL Draft) and they’ll probably get whoever their favorite quarterback is not named Caleb Williams,” he said.

Whether it’s with the Seahawks or Commanders – or another team down the line – Johnson has certainly caught Yates’ eye.

“I have been impressed with the play-calling ingenuity of Ben Johnson. And because I remain of the fundamental belief that whenever you can do to surround your quarterback with the right pieces, and I talk about not just wide receivers and offensive linemen but also coaches, I think that’s usually the most tried and true successful plan in the NFL,” Yates said. “So I would say that Ben Johnson, because he is on that offensive side of the ball and has a lot of work with quarterbacks probably gives me the most confidence. But certainly there’s still a lot that he has to prove even with what looks like a pretty darn good résumé right now.”

Hawks have some of those pieces in place

When asked about how appealing of a job Seattle is, Yates said there are two lenses to look at.

One is how quick you can win with a new team, and while the Seahawks were 9-8 and just missed the playoffs in 2023, they’re in an NFC West division that had two playoff teams this season.

The other lens has to do with the roster, and the Seahawks have intriguing pieces in place at multiple key positions.

“Seattle, back-to-back seasons with nine wins, has a quarterback that’s good. You’ve got multiple receivers in place, you’ve got two bookend offensive tackles that can be good players, Boye Mafe was one of the breakout pass rushers in the NFL, Devon Witherspoon is a potential Defensive Rookie of the Year. Like, I just hit five of the key premium positions in the NFL and Seattle might have them all,” Yates said. “I mean, if you can protect, if you can cover, if you can rush and you’ve got a quarterback and pass catchers, you’re in pretty good shape, and Seattle has pretty much all those boxes checked.”

Yates is also a big fan of the guy calling the shots for the Seahawks.

“I’m a huge fan of (general manager) John Schneider and love the way that he goes about his business,” Yates said. “I think he’s one of the best and most resourceful evaluators in the entire NFL. So all of those things I think makes Seattle really attractive.”

More on the Seattle Seahawks coach search

NFL insider Pelissero breaks down ‘truly open’ Seahawks coach search
What to know about Seahawks coach candidate Patrick Graham
• Why Kafka is a Seahawks coach candidate despite poor Giants offense
• Why Seahawks candidate Ejiro Evero is so highly regarded
• Salk: Five things the Seahawks should prioritize in search
• Why is the Seattle Seahawks’ head coach job so appealing?

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Why ESPN’s Yates thinks Seahawks will hire Dan Quinn as coach