ESPN’s Graziano: Seahawks not alone in thinking Macdonald is ‘a star’

Feb 9, 2024, 3:30 PM | Updated: 9:18 pm

Seattle Seahawks Mike Macdonald John Schneider...

Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider welcomes head coach Mike Macdonald at a press conference. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks were patient in deciding on their new head coach, waiting until all but one other NFL team had filled their vacancies before hiring Mike Macdonald on Jan. 31.

Seahawks hiring former UW Huskies OC Ryan Grubb, per reports

Macdonald wasn’t available until the season ended for the Baltimore Ravens, where he was finishing his second season as defensive coordinator. Just three days after Baltimore was eliminated with an AFC Championship loss to Kansas City, Macdonald was being fitted for navy and action green.

Was Macdonald the Seahawks’ choice all along? That might not be exactly the way to describe the pairing, but ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano told Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Thursday that it was clear Macdonald had impressed the Seahawks’ front office before he even spoke to the team about the job.

“I do think he was their top choice,” Graziano said. “I covered the Seahawks game in Baltimore this year, which you guys may remember, and the Seahawks people I talked to in the weeks that followed were extremely impressed with what he was able to do to them defensively. And they were far from the only team that felt that way.”

That game Graziano referred to happened on Nov. 5, 2023, and it saw Macdonald’s Ravens defense completely dominate Seattle in a 37-3 Baltimore win.

As if that isn’t enough pain for Seattle football fans that Macdonald was responsible for, Graziano mentioned that Macdonald played an integral role in the Michigan defense that helped the Wolverines beat the UW Huskies 34-13 in the College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 8.

“If you look at who Mike Macdonald is and where he comes from, he had been in Baltimore and then he went and did a year with (head coach) Jim Harbaugh at Michigan (in 2021),” Graziano said. “And that year, Mike McDonald really kind of installed a lot of the stuff that they’re still doing at Michigan that really won them the national title on defense – like, really overhauled the entire program. And then he brought that scheme back to Baltimore and started coaching it with NFL players who are quicker and don’t make as many mistakes as college kids. And you saw what that was, and it really blew a lot of people away.”

The Seahawks are certainly happy with their choice of Macdonald, and Graziano said there are other teams that highly rate Seattle’s new hire.

“I think he was the guy that a lot of people had interest in. I think he’s the guy that Seattle had their eye on from the very beginning, and once they were able to actually interview him and get in the room with him, I think that kind of sealed it,” Graziano said. “I mean, geez, they hired him the next day, right? The day after they first interviewed him? I think they think they got a star, and I don’t think they’re the only ones that feel that way about him.”

Listen to the full Wyman and Bob conversation with ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More on Seattle Seahawks and Mike Macdonald

Seahawks to hire Aden Durde as defensive coordinator, per report
Bumpus: How reported hire of Leslie Frazier will helps Macdonald
Huard: Seahawks who will benefit from Macdonald’s blitz schemes
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ESPN’s Graziano: Seahawks not alone in thinking Macdonald is ‘a star’