Schneider: Why Seahawks’ new coaching staff won’t be at combine

Feb 22, 2024, 5:45 PM | Updated: 5:52 pm

The Seattle Seahawks have a new head coach in Mike Macdonald, and his coaching staff is nearly complete.

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Macdonald has hired his three coordinators in Ryan Grubb (offense), Aden Durde (defense) and Jay Harbaugh (special teams), along with a number of different assistants, which includes 15 official new hires on Thursday.

“We’re getting done. We’re talking about wearing nametags upstairs,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider told Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Thursday.

It’s a new experience for those coaches, as well as for Schneider, who worked with many of the same faces for the last 14 years when Pete Carroll was the team’s head coach. Now, the Seahawks have just one holdover from last year’s coaching staff in defensive backs coach and defensive pass game coordinator Karl Scott.

“So I was telling Mike that we might have to wear nametags here for a couple of days just to get used to everything,” Schneider said with a laugh.

Overall, Schneider likes what this new coaching staff has to offer.

“It’s a really cool mix of brainpower, creativeness, youth, experience with (running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu) and obviously (assistant head coach) Leslie Frazier,” Schneider said. “It’s cool, it’s exciting. It’s different ideas and different philosophies all mixed together. Everybody’s coming together. They’re now getting to a point where it’s gonna be all ball now.”

That means those coaches will not be attending the NFL Scouting Combine, which begins next Monday.

“They’re just focused on implementing their systems, so they’re not gonna be going down to the combine next week,” Schneider said. “They’re all gonna be here just 24/7 installing everything they need to get installed because it’s basically a race to April 8 when the players come in. Mike had coached in the AFC Championship Game, so there’s a little bit of a feeling that we’re behind the eight ball a little bit. So we’re getting caught up but still staying true to his hiring process and the group that’s come in and just mixing all those people together.”

John Schneider’s combine approach

Schneider is no stranger to the combine, having attended it in various front office and scouting roles since entering the league in the mid-1990s.

Schneider told Wyman and Bob that the Seahawks just finished their college meetings with the organization’s area scouts this week, and that he personally was able to scout and watch a number of players during the fall. But there are plenty of prospects Schneider hasn’t gotten to watch too closely yet. Those are who he’ll be focused most on at the combine.

“For me personally, it’s the guys that we covered in those meetings that I don’t have a very good feel for yet, that I wasn’t able to study in the fall,” he said. “So taking all my notes through the process and then knowing who I want to focus on based on what we haven’t covered yet and not necessarily getting into needs.”

While much of the focus with the combine is how players do in various drills and during interviews with teams, Schneider has a lot more on his plate.

“It’s not just the the college part, right? The first couple days we’re there, I’m involved with a lot of like league meeting stuff, just different committees and so on,” he said. ” … Then we’re spending a lot of time with our own players’ agents and we basically meet with every agency. And I try to get with every team and figure out where they are. It’s like this huge landscape as we turn the corner and get ready for the start of free agency that following weekend.”

Unrestricted free agents

The combine kicks off next Monday, and soon after, NFL free agency will begin on March 13.

“We have a plan, our personnel staff, the organization, of what we’re looking at, what our team looks like personnel-wise and how we move into the future here, how we come around this corner into the 2024 season,” Schneider said. “But we still have to get the coaches on-boarded and established here and have them get their input on where we’re headed and make sure we’re all on the same page. I view that process happening after we get a lot of answers at the combine terms of meeting with other teams and all the other agents for all the unrestricted guys and obviously our own unrestricted guys.”

The Seahawks have plenty of key players set to hit unrestricted free agency, including linebackers Jordyn Brooks and Bobby Wagner as well as defensive tackle Leonard Williams and three starting offensive linemen.

“I have individual meetings with all the unrestricted guys when they leave (when the season ends),” Schneider said. “I meet with with every one of them and tell them like what it’s going to look like (moving forward).”

This year is a bit different, though, as Schneider met with those players on a Monday, and two days later, Carroll was no longer the team’s head coach.

“They all know where they stand,” Schneider said. “Obviously everybody wants to have answers, and we just can’t give everybody answers right now because we’re working through a process of, again, a new staff, new systems and then understanding what the league is going to look like here. And again, we always feel like we have a better feel for what’s going on once we get through the combine week.”

Listen to this week’s John Schneider Show at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

• What will Seahawks do with Jamal Adams and Tyler Lockett?
• Rome Odunze: Seahawks ‘getting a dog’ in new OC Ryan Grubb
• Seahawks Draft: 2024 class filled with ‘some really large humans’
• NFL.com’s Reuter on picks he has Seahawks making, including Penix
• Bumpus: The aggressive but logical move for Seahawks to make
• Wyman: Brooks should be a higher priority for Seahawks than Williams
• Huard: Why Seahawks won’t use franchise tag this offseason

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