Nothing is stopping the Seahawks from naming new coach now
Jan 28, 2024, 6:53 PM | Updated: Jan 29, 2024, 11:23 am
(AP Photo/Brian Westerholt)
The NFL’s conference championship games were kind to the Seattle Seahawks and their search for their next head coach.
The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 in the AFC Championship, and the Detroit Lions suffered the same fate in the NFC Championship as the San Francisco 49ers came back for a 34-31 win, clearing the way for Seahawks general manager John Schneider to finally talk to everyone he wants to.
The Ravens and Lions each have a coordinator that the Seahawks have been reported to be interested in. Per multiple NFL insiders, Seattle was able to get in a first interview with Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson earlier this month, but it was unable to speak with Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald due to league rules. There have been several reports of the Hawks’ interest in Macdonald, though, and those rules are no longer an issue with the Ravens’ season over.
The Seahawks are one of just two teams left looking for a head coach for the 2024 season. The Washington Commanders are the other, and they hold a slight advantage in that they have already conducted a first interview with Macdonald.
Even so, there’s nothing to stop the Seahawks now from moving quickly to name the successor of Pete Carroll, who was removed from the head coach position on Jan. 10 after 14 seasons with Seattle.
With six other teams having hired new head coaches already this month, Macdonald and Johnson have emerged as the top remaining candidates along with former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel and current Dallas Cowboys DC Dan Quinn. The latter has in particular been seen as a good fit for the Seahawks, as Quinn was Carroll’s DC when Seattle reached back-to-back Super Bowls about a decade ago. He also has the benefit of leading the Atlanta Falcons to a Super Bowl appearance as a head coach on his résumé.
Patience may end up paying off for the Seahawks considering they and the Commanders are the only teams who waited long enough to potentially nab a coach from the staffs of any of the four teams to make the conference championships.
Both Macdonald (36) and Johnson (37) are roughly half the age of the 72-year-old Carroll, and they have a lot of steam behind them.
The 2023 Ravens defense under Macdonald led the league on points allowed per game (16), sacks (60) and takeaways (31), becoming the first team to lead each of those categories in the same season. This season was Macdonald’s second as head coach John Harbaugh’s DC, but while he took the position after spending 2021 as Jim Harbaugh’s DC at Michigan, he was on the Ravens staff in various roles from 2014-20.
Johnson joined the Lions in 2019 as an offensive assistant, was tight ends coach from 2019-20 and passing game coordinator in 2021, and took over the offensive coordinator duties for the 2022 season. Under Johnson, Detroit’s offense finished fourth in total yards and fifth in points in 2022, then third in yards and fifth in points in 2023.
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