Questions answered, unanswered by Seahawks’ Mike Macdonald

Feb 2, 2024, 12:31 PM

Seattle Seahawks Mike Macdonald...

Mike Macdonald speaks to the media as he is named the new head coach of the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 1, 2024. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

You didn’t expect to get every question answered from new Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald, right?

Salk: The 7 words that stick out with new Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald

Of course not. But we did get more insight than expected. Here are the questions we got answered by Seattle’s new coach… and the ones we’re waiting to hear about:

Answered: Will his personality work as a head coach?

Sure, we don’t know the answer to this definitively. But there was an idea heading into Macdonald’s introductory press conference that the former Ravens defensive coordinator was an introverted personality type, which is a sudden and notable shift from the extroverted, energetic and affable Pete Carroll.

After hearing from him during his presser and during an interview with Bump & Stacy, it sure doesn’t seem like that’ll be a problem.

Macdonald joked during his interview that he’s trying to work on not being as monotone – and you can sense that he’s more naturally reserved – but he’s also passionate about football and about players learning. He was engaged and answered questions with sincerity, including admitting that he didn’t have the answer to a few of them. You don’t need a rah-rah personality to resonate with your players, but you do need to be authentic, and Macdonald’s immediate impression checked that box.

Not answered: Is Geno Smith his guy?

And why would he answer that? There’s plenty of intrigue around pick No. 16 following Macdonald’s hire, thanks in part to his connections at Michigan – quarterback J.J. McCarthy is expected to be available for the Hawks there. Should the team hire Ryan Grubb as their OC – a rumored candidate – there will be questions about Michael Penix Jr. as well.

For now, Seattle will need to make a decision about whether or not to move on from Geno before Feb. 16th, when $12.7 million of his salary becomes fully guaranteed.

Macdonald and Schneider have a few options here. They could opt to draft a rookie and roll with him. Or, they could keep Smith (who’s full cap hit still keeps him outside of the top-15 paid players in football) and let a young quarterback learn behind him.

Answered: Why was he the guy for the Seahawks?

Because his Baltimore Ravens defense blew Seattle’s offensive players away, and because a number of people had nothing but great things to say.

“The product, really, watching the film, feeling their defense that day,” General Manager John Schneider said. “Then all the relationships and things because there’s so many people that really opened their hearts, and they didn’t have to.”

Macdonald’s defense held the Seahawks to a measly three points and 151 total yards, their fewest of the season. His defense was suffocating, and Seattle’s offensive players noticed afterwards.

“I tried to pick the players’ brains here and there throughout the season and that totally stood out. I forget which player it was, but they were like ‘What was that, who is that?’ A lot of players aren’t like, ‘Who was the coordinator over there, who was that all about?”

Not answered: What will his offense look like?

This one had half an answer, to be fair. We know what kind of defense Macdonald is capable of calling and we also know he’ll be calling that defense here in Seattle.

Macdonald didn’t commit to a run-pass balance. He doesn’t know what his personnel will look like entirely, and he also doesn’t know what a game situation will call for (he was open about being willing to make adjustments). But one thing he did make clear is who he wants to be: physical.

“To me, it’s going to mirror our football team,” Macdonald said. “We’re going to be a physical football team. We’re going to have answers. We’re going to try to be explosive and really build it around the players that we have.”

Answered: What kind of assistant coaches does he want?

No, you didn’t get names this time (despite rumors of interest in Grubb and Lions pass game coordinator Tanner Engstrand for the open OC job).

But you did get a type:

“You have to have hire character, and men and women with integrity,” Macdonald said. “I want to see a track record of being able to connect with your players, and a growth mindset. Efficiency in how they teach. In our systems, we’re going to get to a lot of different things and in order to do that you have to be incredibly clear. So when I’m listening to how they do things, I want clarity in what they’re asking from their players.”

More on Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald

• What Mike Macdonald plans to do with Seahawks’ defense, QB
• Seahawks hope ‘disruptor’ Macdonald can make them contenders again
• Key takeaways from Mike Macdonald’s 1st Seahawks press conference
• The File: Who is new Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald?

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Questions answered, unanswered by Seahawks’ Mike Macdonald