Is Hawks’ Schneider or Macdonald under more pressure in 2024?

Apr 23, 2024, 12:19 PM | Updated: 12:27 pm

The upcoming Seattle Seahawks season will bring a ton of new storylines, spurred in large part from a change at the very top, where general manager John Schneider has assumed full control over football operations and former Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has been hired as head coach.

Brock’s Seattle Seahawks Draft Profile: A power-speed force on the edge

The NFL is a league made up of little patience and plenty of debate, so given that: is John Schneider or Mike Macdonald under more pressure in 2024?

Bumpus: it’s John Schneider

For Bump, the pressure will eventually shift to Macdonald. But right now, there’s more pressure than ever on Schneider to get this draft class right. Particularly without a second face – Pete Carroll – to shoulder blame if things go wrong.

“This is your weekend,” Bump said of the draft. “This is your time to shine. You’ve signed Leonard Williams, you’ve made Geno feel safe at home, you’ve signed offensive line talent. His pressure is now he’s got to get the draft right. What’s important to your team now? Is it interior defensive linemen? Is it guard. And I hope he gets it right. He did a good job last year at No. 5 (picking cornerback Devon Witherspoon). How are you gonna attack this? His pressure is getting the personnel right.

“Macdonald’s pressure is different. It’s about what you do with the personnel. What’s your scheme gonna be on offense?”

“Up to this point, most of the pressure is on John Schneider, because Mike Macdonald doesn’t even have his full team. He doesn’t even know what this roster’s going to look like until after this draft. So it’s on Schneider to get this draft right – and every pick isn’t going to hit – but pick No. 16, he’s got to get this one right.”

Bump said he knows some fans and critics will have all eyes on Macdonald, but it’s up to Schneider to give Macdonald the right tools to work with.

Stacy: it’s Mike Macdonald

I need to make this clear.

I’m not saying it should be Mike Macdonald, a 36-year-old former defensive coordinator who’s proven he’s a brilliant mind and will most certainly hit more than a few obstacles on his first venture as head coach. That would be silly. Of course, he should have some grace.

I am also not saying John Schneider has no pressure on him; when the Seahawks moved on from Pete Carroll, the conversation in Seattle quickly focused on the fact that it was “John’s show now.” (I did a horrible job of explaining this in the video attached to this article, but what I tried to say in pointing out Schneider’s up-and-down draft history is that even with the downs – struggling to draft defensive linemen, misses in the first round – there hasn’t been as much pressure on him as you’d expect.)

What I am saying is that the reality of this league and of sports media (and media consumption in general) is such that the name we’ll all be talking about – the name you’ll be hearing most often and seeing in headlines nationally – if this team starts 1-8 or 0-5 is “Mike Macdonald.”

Is Macdonald in over his head?

Has Mike Macdonald lost the locker room?

How does Mike Macdonald keep players believing?

If this team starts out slow, and it’s quite possible they will, those are the types of headlines you’ll see. It doesn’t make it right, but that’s how media works.

Let’s talk about that context. First, head coaches are fired more often than general managers. Steve Keim, former GM of the Arizona Cardinals, was retained after the one-year firing of Steve Wilks; John Elway remained when the Broncos moved on from Vance Joseph. Heck, Denver has a history of this (it’s not just because of Elway’s legacy). Current general manager George Paton has remained even though the team fired Nathaniel Hacket after one season, and this is all despite Paton orchestrating one of the worst trades in NFL history.

Secondly, head coaches are more visible entities. Quick: who’s the GM of the Buccaneers? He’s had that role for a decade. How about the Colts? Seems like one someone might know, since he’s won Executive of the Year. Vikings? Bengals? Panthers? How about the Chiefs? They’ve won multiple Super Bowls under this guy. Let’s say you know the answer there is Brett Veach… could you tell me what he looks like? About how old he is? Where was he prior to his tenure as GM of Chiefs? Now name me the head coach for all of these teams.

If you know every single answer to these, congratulations! But I can promise you the average sports fan doesn’t. It’s not because they’re not smart and it’s not because they don’t care about football. It’s because most of the time the answer doesn’t matter. But that week’s opponent – and their coach – does.

Thirdly, Macdonald doesn’t need to take this team to a Super Bowl in year one to prove he’s a great coach. But there’s a lot of pressure in assuming a role most recently vacated by the winningest coach in franchise history. And taking time to build up your own culture – one that looks different from the one that was here for 14 years – means people are standing by, whether out of curiosity, passion, or fear, looking for results.

Listen to the full conversation at this link or in the video at the top of this story.

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