A Ravens insider breaks down strengths of new Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald

Feb 1, 2024, 9:27 AM | Updated: 2:00 pm

Seattle Seahawks Mike Macdonald coach...

Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald during his time as Ravens DC on Jan. 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Mike Macdonald may be getting ready for his first tenure as a head coach, but the Seattle Seahawks’ new hire has a lot of experience on an NFL coaching staff.

In particular, the Baltimore Ravens’ coaching staff.

What Macdonald must do in making jump to Seahawks head coach

The 36-year-old Macdonald comes to the Seahawks after spending all but one year since 2014 working under Ravens head coach John Harbaugh in some capacity, including the last two as defensive coordinator. And in the one year he wasn’t with Baltimore, he was at the University of Michigan serving as DC for John’s brother Jim Harbaugh in 2021.

To get an insider perspective into what made Macdonald such a strong candidate to become the next Seahawks coach, Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob talked to Ravens play-by-play announcer Gerry Sandusky earlier this week.

Here are a couple things that stood out from the conversation with Sandusky.

Adjusting is no problem

Asked what Macdonald’s strengths are, Sandusky quickly listed three things – but he spent the most time explaining the third.

“Mike has several strengths,” Sandusky said. “One, he has tremendous rapport with the players. Two, he has tremendous respect from the players. And three, his ability to adjust the gameplan to the situation is remarkable for such a young coach.”

Go on.

“So many coaches in the NFL are great coordinators from Monday through Saturday – put together the plan, everybody in place, do a great job coaching everybody up – and then Sunday, the plan doesn’t fit the situation and they don’t adjust. Mike is a Sunday through Sunday coordinator,” he continued. “And I’ve seen him throughout the course of the year make adjustments on the fly – the things that they didn’t anticipate or something that happens, there’s an injury, make an adjustment.”

The 2023 Ravens became the first defense in the history of the NFL to lead the league in points allowed per game, sacks and takeaways all in the same season. And the personnel they did that with wasn’t exactly what you might expect.

“The big picture, the Ravens had a lot of injuries,” Sandusky said. “They weren’t sure where they were gonna get pass-rush pressure from, so they pick up Jadeveon Clowney off the street, Kyle Van Noy off the street at different points in the season, and Mike McDonald did an unbelievable job of folding them into gameplans and building around their strengths. He can look at a player and figure out that player’s strength almost as fast as anybody I’ve ever seen. So we’re talking about an extraordinarily talented coach … We think the world of him in Baltimore and he’s a big part of this Ravens success.”


There was a bit of concern Monday when ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley described Macdonald as an introvert to Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk, which would be a departure from Seattle’s previous head coach, the famously outgoing Pete Carroll.

Related: Does Macdonald have the personality to be Seahawks coach?

But to Sandusky, there’s another way to look at Macdonald’s personality that should put fans at ease.

“I have no concerns about Mike because Mike’s not an artificial guy. Mike’s a genuine guy,” Sandusky said. “I would not call him a yeller or screamer by any stretch. He’s not a rah-rah guy. You had one of the great motivational coaches of all-time in Pete Carroll, and what made Pete Carroll so effective is that’s who he is … Players want authentic. Players do not want this guy to yell or scream, or ‘He’s a motivator.’ Players want a genuine person and a consistent person. This is Mike’s strength.

“Mike is the same guy on Tuesday as gameday. After a win, after a loss. It’s a long season, guys. They spend a lot of time together. They don’t want somebody who’s one coach in front of the media, one coach in front of the team. They want somebody who’s authentic in every situation. And Mike Macdonald, I would say, is very even-keel. He can get as intense as he needs to get, but he’s authentic and he’s consistent, and those are his strengths.”

You can listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with Baltimore Ravens play-by-play announcer Gerry Sandusky in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More on new Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald

Why ESPN’s Mina Kimes lobbied for Seahawks to hire Mike Macdonald
Macdonald’s defense dominated the Seahawks, and NFC West rivals
Which Ravens free agents could join Mike Macdonald with Seahawks?
What K.J. Wright likes about new Seahawks coach Macdonald
Huard: Seattle Seahawks seemed ‘enamored’ with Mike Macdonald

Wyman & Bob

Wyman and Bob

Seattle Mariners Jurrangelo Cijntje...

Zac Hereth

The unique ways Mariners could use ‘unicorn’ switch-pitcher

Rustin Dodd of the Athletic joins Wyman and Bob to discuss the interesting potential of Seattle Mariners first-round pick Jurrangelo Cijntje.

58 minutes ago


Seattle Sports Video

Video: Expectations for the 2024 Seattle Seahawks

ESPN Senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler joins The Wyman & Bob Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM to discuss the lack of Seahawks in ESPN’s Top 10 position rankings, why he is excited about what Devon Witherspoon can do in Year 2, and his overall predictions for the Seahawks season. Listen to The Wyman & […]

19 hours ago


Seattle Sports Video

Video: Why Teoscar Hernandez doesn’t like hitting at T-Mobile Park

Former Mariners outfielder and new Home Run Derby champion Teoscar Hernandez explained why he was never comfortable hitting at T-Mobile Park during All-Star Media Day yesterday. Former MLB pitcher Trevor May also explained that multiple players have told him they had issues with the batter’s eye. Does T-Mobile Park have a structural issue for batters? […]

2 days ago

Seattle Mariners closer Andrés Muñoz...

Zac Hereth

Sadler: How Mariners get best from bullpen arms

Ex-Seattle Mariners pitcher Casey Sadler explains why the communication and preparation from the organization is so effective in the bullpen.

6 days ago

Seattle Mariners J.P. Crawford Victor Robles...

SeattleSports.com Staff

Video: Mariners Breakdown – Is Seattle getting back on track?

Bob Stelton of Seattle Sports checks in to share his reaction to five Mariners questions after their two-game sweep in San Diego.

7 days ago

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodriguez San Francisco Giants 2023...

Cameron Van Til

A World Series winner can be the blueprint for Mariners

MLB insider Jon Morosi mentioned a World Series champion that could give a roadmap for how the Seattle Mariners can make a deep October run.

8 days ago

A Ravens insider breaks down strengths of new Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald