Why ESPN’s Mina Kimes wanted Seahawks to hire Mike Macdonald

Jan 31, 2024, 2:46 PM | Updated: 5:00 pm

ESPN NFL analyst Mina Kimes went on record last week on NFL Live to lobby for Mike MacDonald to be hired as Seattle Seahawks head coach.

The problem: the Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator had not yet interviewed for the Seattle job.

Mike Macdonald’s defense has dominated Seattle Seahawks’ rivals

But coaching searches evolve quickly in the NFL. After the Ravens dropped the AFC Championship to the Chiefs 17-10 on Sunday, Seahawks general manager John Schneider reportedly interviewed Macdonald in Baltimore on Tuesday. Macdonald then flew to Seattle per NFL insiders for a second interview Wednesday, and reports soon broke that the 36 year old is set to become the Seahawks next head coach.

The Seahawks made it official late Wednesday afternoon.

Kimes, a noted Seattle sports fan, joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy on Wednesday and said that she was shocked and pleasantly surprised to hear the Seahawks would hire MacDonald.

As defensive coordinator this past season with the Ravens, Macdonald guided the first defense to ever lead the NFL in points allowed, sacks and takeaways simultaneously. And in the AFC title game, the Ravens held the Chiefs scoreless in the second half despite the offense repeatedly stalling.

The Ravens were excellent at disguising coverages and feigning pressure for the past two seasons under Macdonald, Kimes noted. But more impressive was his ability to get production out of Ravens players at different stages in their carers.

“It’s not just X’s and O’s and clever schemes,” she said. “It is the fact that he seems to have gotten the most out of so many players at different points in their careers. Obviously young stars like Kyle Hamilton have emerged as one of the best safeties in the NFL.

“Patrick Queen really develop(ed) underneath him… veterans guys like Kyle Van Noy, Jadeveon Clowney, Michael Pierce up front all having career years,” she added. “That to me stands out because the No. 1 thing you want as a head coach is something that get the most out of players.”

Recently, the Seahawks weren’t getting the most out of a defense that had the personnel to perform at a high level, according to Kimes. This past season, Seattle finished 25th in points allowed and 30th in yards allowed per game despite investing considerable money and draft capital into the defense.

“There is talent at all three levels,” Kimes said. “And yet it felt like in recent years they’re underperforming relative to that talent for whatever reason. Maybe it’s the wrong personnel for what they want to run. Injury certainly played a role. But I think the hope is that you can take a lot of the players who are already on the roster and that they can go to another level.”

Kimes said linebacker Jordyn Brooks, a pending free agent, would do well in in Macdonald’s scheme, noting his ability to read coverages. And she even believes Macdonald could get more production from a healthy Jamal Adams if the Seahawks choose to bring the struggling former All-Pro selection back for another season.

“I do think that there’s a lot that McDonald could do with him,” Kimes said. “I think there’s a lot that the existing coaches wanted to do with him. I do think questions of health will probably factor into that decision going forward. Because if they move on, that’s another position that they’ll have to address whether in the draft or free agency.”

Listen to the full Bump and Stacy conversation with ESPN NFL analyst Mina Kimes in the podcast at this link or in either the audio or video players near the top of this post.

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