Key takeaways from Mike Macdonald’s 1st Seahawks press conference
Feb 1, 2024, 1:25 PM | Updated: 3:01 pm
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Mike Macdonald was officially introduced as the next head coach of the Seattle Seahawks at press conference Thursday, and it’s clear to general manager John Schneider that they got the right guy.
“This is the future right here,” Schneider said, pointing to the 36-year-old Macdonald. “This is where it’s going.”
“Mike is a learning networker, not a climbing networker,” Schneider later told reporters. “And there’s a huge difference there. This has happened quickly for him. But when you sit down with him and you get to meet him, you understand why. The whys of ‘Wow, he knows that guy, he knows that guy, knows this guy.’ I’ve been in the league for 30-some years, and we know a ton of the same people. That really stood out.”
Schneider said a key focus of the Seahawks’ coaching search was finding someone who would “change the marketplace.” He thinks Macdonald is just that.
“The product is the product. He’s done it. You’ve seen it,” Schneider said. “And that’s why he was (2023) assistant coach of the year.”
For Macdonald, he comes to Seattle after spending nine of the last 10 years in Baltimore, including the last two seasons as defensive coordinator. He said there are a lot of parallels in how the Seahawks and Ravens operate.
“The first thing that really popped to me was the parallels of the organization that I’ve been working for for 10 years and where I’ve really grown into the person and the man and the coach that I am today,” Macdonald said. “And that was extremely appealing to me.”
It took a bit for the Seahawks to be able to talk to Macdonald after moving on from previous head coach Pete Carroll due to new rules regarding coaching hires, and Schneider made it clear he wanted the Ravens to get eliminated in the playoffs so he could talk to him.
“Last Sunday before they played, I was at church and people were probably looking at me like, ‘Wow, that guy’s really been sinning a lot or something. That guy’s praying his tail off right now,’ because I wanted the Ravens to lose and I wanted the Lions to lose,” Schneider said (the Lions’ offensive coordinator, Ben Johnson, also interviewed with the Seahawks but is returning to Detroit).
Why Seahawks think Macdonald is the guy
What jumped out to Schneider about Macdonald?
“The product, really,” he said.
Macdonald made quite the impression against the Seahawks as the Ravens held Seattle out of the end zone completely in a 37-3 win in November.
“Watching the film, feeling their defense that day, being there in that stadium,” Schneider said. ” … There’s a feeling that we all had when we were there and felt, right? But in talking to the players, several offensive players really were like, ‘What was that? What just happened?’ I try to pick the players’ brains here and there throughout the season, and that totally stood out.”
“We were doing our due diligence,” Schneider later said. “… In scouting, we call it checking boxes, right? And then sitting down in person, we had a lot of great candidates, guys did a great job and people in this building felt them.”
Schneider said there was a”connection” and “clarity” when talking to Macdonald.
“And then everything that everybody says about his great reputation came to life very quickly. It was very evident,” he said. ” … It was communication, leadership, clarity. I think that’s what jumps off with Mike.”
Macdonald echoed all that, too.
“When we started talking about vision, how we wanted to play and the direction that I felt like how I’d like to take the team and how that paralleled what they saw, it just became very clear that the thing that was the thing that you’re looking for. So it just made sense at that point,” Macdonald said.
Macdonald owns his personality
Macdonald is not as outgoing as his predecessor, and Macdonald is going to stick to who he is.
“Pete has a great personality, but it’s his and it’s authentic to who he is as a person. I think that’s why the players resonated with him and why he has such a great reputation and his track record is what it is,” Macdonald said. “I have a different personality. And you’ll get to know me. But my plan is to be myself every day and you’re just gonna get me. It’s not a facade. There’s no alternate agendas or anything like that. It’s all about what’s the best interest for the team, what’s the best interest for the players and how we can be successful … If you’re trying to be somebody that you’re not, one, it’s exhausting, and two, people see right through it.”
Macdonald coached under both John and Jim Harbaugh over the last 10 years, and he learned quite a bit from them
“Those guys are some of the most authentic, competitive people I’ve ever been around,” he said. “And the players know when it’s real. They love their players, and they have their players’ backs, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to put them in a position to succeed. And sometimes it’s tough love, but it’s telling them the truth, being respectful. They go about it two completely different ways, but they end up in the same spot.”
That authenticity is especially important to Macdonald.
“The players will know. They’ll know whether we’re consistent or not in our approach and whether we have their backs,” he said. “Now, we’re going to tell them the truth and there’s going to be a standard here in how we’re going to play, but everybody’s going to understand that from Day 1. And ultimately I think where you have success is the players start to hold each other accountable as well because they understand what the standard is as well. I think if you’re consistent and you’re honest, I think they respect that.”
Macdonald made it clear that players are the priority for him and his coaching staff.
“Our players here and the players that we’ll be able to coach for the Seahawks, man, I just hope you understand that you’re the driving force behind everything that we do,” he said. “And I can guarantee you this: you will get everything out of myself and our coaching staff every day. And we will not stop until we want to get to where we get, OK? And I hope that’s very clear to you. You’re the first thing that goes through our mind when we make decisions, and that’s the only way to do it. That’s the only way to win.”
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