Alex Gibbs Retires, Pat Ruel Hired as Replacement


What an eventful weekend.

I needed to take at least one day off to lick my wounds following Washington’s loss on Saturday; naturally, more was reported from the VMAC on Sunday than the rest of the offseason combined.

And it has been one busy offseason.

I’m just glad I didn’t post any analysis of Seattle’s 53-man roster on Saturday. The roster was to be trimmed to 53 by 3 o’clock on Saturday; the Seahawks made one round of initial cuts and then continued to shuffle the roster on Sunday. Apparently, more moves are on the way.

The most surprising news of the weekend was Alex Gibbs’ sudden retirement. When the news broke, most fans kept their fingers crossed it was not true, or if it was, it was not because of a disagreement with the front office. Gibbs is widely regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in the game and an architect of the zone-blocking scheme.

Unfortunately, Gibbs had truly resigned. Fortunately, it appears as if he was just worn out and chose to retire.

Gibbs was one of Pete Carroll’s more impressive hires after he was named head coach of the Seahawks. Seattle’s offensive line has deteriorated since the team’s Super Bowl season and was an absolute disaster last season.

Gibbs was supposed to bring competency back to Seattle’s offensive line. He wasn’t necessarily a savior – that role is reserved for Russell Okung – but his knowledge and expertise was a sight for sore eyes in the Pacific Northwest.

Then again, Mike Solari was considered a great offensive line coach as well.

No doubt Gibbs’ departure will hurt the group’s development and progression in a zone-blocking scheme, but there are more significant problems than the coaching staff. Gibbs is a great coach, but the Seahawks don’t have a very talented – or healthy – group of linemen.

To replace Gibbs, the Seahawks have reportedly hired Pat Ruel, who coached with Carroll at Southern California the previous five seasons. Ruel carries an impressive resume that includes five seasons in the National Football League, most recently in 2004 as an assistant with the New York Giants.

When Carroll came to Seattle and began assembling his staff, Ruel was originally rumored to join him along with Jeremy Bates and Ken Norton. He didn’t, and Gibbs was given the position instead.

During his time with the Trojans, Ruel coached a scheme based on the same zone-blocking principles used by Alex Gibbs. He seems like a good fit and capable replacement, but time will tell.

Unfortunately, time isn’t something the Seahawks have; in less than a week, Seattle opens the regular season against the San Francisco 49ers.

Shaun Dolence: [email protected]
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Tags: Alex Gibbs Assistant Coach Golden Ruel Jeremy Bates Ken Norton Mike Solari National Football League Offensive Line Pat Ruel Pete Carroll Russell Okung Seattle Seahawks Southern California USC Trojans Zone-blocking Scheme