NFL insider Albert Breer: Why Seahawks’ coaching transition is unique

Jun 11, 2024, 12:03 PM

For the first time in 14 years, the Seattle Seahawks are preparing for a season without Pete Carroll on the sidelines.

What separates new Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald? Analyst dives in

Seattle parted ways with its most successful head coach in franchise history this past January and replaced him with 36-year-old rising coach Mike Macdonald, who was coming off a success-filled two-year run as the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive coordinator.

In a Sports Illustrated article published Monday morning, NFL insider Albert Breer of The MMQB delved into how the Seahawks landed Macdonald as Carroll’s successor. Breer then joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy later in the day to discuss what he learned from his reporting.

One of Breer’s big takeaways is how unique this type of coaching transition is in the NFL. As he explained, most new coaches take over a team that is coming off a dismal season. That isn’t the case with Macdonald in Seattle. Though the Seahawks declined over the latter part of Carroll’s tenure, they still went 9-8 each of the past two years.

“Nine times out of 10, a new coach comes in and he’s inheriting something broken,” Breer said. “I don’t think that’s the case here. And while there probably were some things that needed updating or changing or evolving, the bones of the program were good that Pete left behind.”

Breer specifically pointed to the culture Carroll built. During his long run of success in Seattle, Carroll fostered an upbeat and energetic atmosphere that was unlike any other in the NFL. As an example, Breer pointed to a conversation he had two summers ago with Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith.

“(Geno) said what attracted him there in the first place and what he found when he got there was a really unique culture, a really unique atmosphere that was different than anything he’d ever been a part of,” Breer said. “And so I think it speaks to how player-friendly that place has been and how different it’s been than so many other places in the league and how attractive it’s been to players.”

Not tearing down

Breer said the Seahawks wanted to find a coach who would build on that unique culture, rather than completely push it away and start anew.

“I think instead of deconstructing that, the idea was, ‘How do we build on it? How do we find somebody that can take what we’ve done and enhance it?’” Breer said. “I think that’s probably why they shied away from getting more of a taskmaster head coach like a Mike Vrabel or a Bill Belichick that comes from that sort of tree, and were looking for someone who could add just kind of the next step of what was already in place there.”

Macdonald and his staff are bringing all sorts of schematic changes to Seattle. But from interviewing Macdonald and general manager John Schneider, Breer gets the impression that Macdonald is the right fit to build on the culture Carroll created.

“You listen to the energy when you hear Mike and John talk together, you can really kind of feel that,” Breer said. “You can really feel how the energy that had been in that building remains there. And so there’s some challenges that come along with that, but certainly Mike has embraced the idea that he’s inheriting something that has a good foundation for him to build off of.”

Listen to the full conversation with Albert Breer at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Tune in to Bump and Stacy weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

More Seattle Seahawks coverage

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NFL insider Albert Breer: Why Seahawks’ coaching transition is unique