What K.J. Wright likes about new Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald

Jan 31, 2024, 11:31 AM | Updated: 5:00 pm

After a three-week search, the Seattle Seahawks have their guy in Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, who was officially announced Wednesday afternoon as the new head coach.

Seattle Seahawks hire Mike Macdonald as new head coach

Macdonald, 36, would be the youngest head coach in the NFL. This comes after Seattle’s last head coach, Pete Carroll, was the oldest head coach in the NFL last year at 72.

Shortly before the news broke that Macdonald was being hired, legendary Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright shared why he’s a fan of Macdonald during his weekly show with Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

Per reports by NFL insiders, Macdonald met with the Seahawks for the first time on Tuesday, and he was flown to Seattle on Wednesday for a follow-up interview before he was ultimately hired. The Seahawks were one of eight teams with head coaching vacancies this offseason, and they were the seventh team to make a head coaching hire.

“I’ll tell you this: When I asked (general manager) John Schneider a question about a year or two ago, I asked him why he took a certain player in the draft. And he said simply, ‘Because he’s the best player on the board. He’s the best player available,'” Wright said. “And when you look at what John Schneider is doing, his patience, his due diligence, he is simply going to take the best candidate that he feels is on the board. And the proof is in the pudding.”

The proof is especially in the pudding, Wright said, when it comes to Macdonald’s defense in Baltimore, which he’s led the past two years after spending 2021 as DC at the University of Michigan.

In Macdonald’s second year as Ravens defensive coordinator, his defense did something no other defense in NFL history had ever done: finished first in each of points allowed, sacks and takeaways in the same season.

“We’re talking about a bad, bad defense this past year, dealing with a bunch of I’m not gonna say (just regular guys), but dealing with some guys that are not just high profile-type of defensive players,” Wright said. “… You see his personality, see that he’s done it at the college level and at the pro level. He comes from a phenomenal culture, a phenomenal organization.”

Which Ravens free agents could join Mike Macdonald with Seahawks?

One of Baltimore’s best defensive showings actually came at the hands of the Seahawks. In a very lopsided affair, the Ravens limited Seattle to just 151 yards of offense while forcing two turnovers and recording four sacks in a 37-3 win in November.

“It was like a big sledgehammer against an ant. That’s what the Baltimore Ravens did against us,” Wright said.

Now, the man behind that sledgehammer is Seattle-bound.

“Let’s say you get away from Baltimore, you come over here and let’s annihilate the San Francisco 49ers and let’s annihilate the Los Angeles Rams. Because we’re going against a really tough division, we’re going against some really, really phenomenal offensive coordinators, and we need someone younger, someone new, someone with this really creative mind to come in here,” Wright said.

What stood out with Macdonald’s defense?

Wright shared what he saw from Baltimore’s defense and how Macdonald utilized one of the Ravens’ most versatile players in All-Pro safety Kyle Hamilton.

“I watched the way he utilized Kyle Hamilton. He had him in deep-third, had him covering man-to- man, blitzing him and blitzing him a lot,” Wright said. “(Edge rushers) Kyle Van Noy, Jadeveon Clowney, he really brought guys to life. And (inside linebacker) Roquan Smith, he had his man in the middle. ‘You’re the guy, you’re the alpha male, you get everyone lined up, you get everyone directed on this football field.’ You’ve got to have guys to bring your defense to life, and so I believe that everyone with the Baltimore Ravens did their part this football season.”

The Ravens may have lost the AFC Championship on Sunday, but they held the Kansas City Chiefs to 17 points total and no points in the second half.

“Zero points in the second half? Is that a correct stat against Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid and Travis Kelce? That’s not easy to do,” Wright said. “So hat’s off to him.”

Macdonald connecting with his team

Seattle would be Macdonald’s first head coaching job at any level, and he didn’t play college or pro football. With that in mind, Wright was asked about Macdonald connecting with players.

“If you’re a man, if you understand who you are as a human being, who you are as a coach, and you stand on that and you know what the heck you’re talking about, you will be well received from guys,” Wright said. “But if you come in that room and you say some off the wall stuff, you ask of something that that we feel like we can’t do as players, that’s really hard to connect with.”

Listen to this week’s K.J. Wright Show at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

More on Seattle Seahawks and Mike Macdonald

• Why ESPN’s Mina Kimes wanted Seahawks to hire Mike Macdonald
Macdonald’s defense has dominated Seattle Seahawks’ rivals
Huard: Seattle Seahawks seemed ‘enamored’ with Macdonald
Does Mike Macdonald have the personality to be Seahawks coach?
• Video: Instant reaction – Seattle Seahawks hire Mike Macdonald as coach
• Video: Ross Tucker on what makes Mike Macdonald so impressive
• Rost says Macdonald is most intriguing name in Hawks coach search
• Seattle Seahawks Coach Search: Bump calls Mike Macdonald the ‘fun’ pick

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