Seahawks make Ken Norton Jr. defensive coordinator

TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 29: Linbacker coach Ken Norton Jr. (R) of the Seattle Seahawks talks with Bruce Irvin (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TEMPE, AZ - JANUARY 29: Linbacker coach Ken Norton Jr. (R) of the Seattle Seahawks talks with Bruce Irvin (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Ken Norton Jr. appears to be returning to the Seahawks as the new defensive coordinator. Pete Carroll trusts Norton. But is this a truly good move? And what about Kris Richard?

Ken Norton Jr. is a familiar name with the Seahawks. According to multiple reports, first by Mike Garafolo, Seattle is bringing back Ken Norton Jr. This time, Norton will be the defensive coordinator.

And then this was seconded (or 80th’d?) by Alex Rozier

Is this a good hire, though? I am not so sure. Norton has a ton of energy and players really like him. But honestly, the Seahawks defense is Pete Carroll’s defense. Norton was reportedly not good at calling plays while he was with the Oakland Raiders as its defensive coordinator from 2015-16, however. And Oakland’s defense underperformed in 2017.

Oakland ranked 20th in points allowed this season. In 2016, Oakland also ranked 20th in points allowed. Beginning to see a pattern? You should. Because in 2015, Norton’s first year as the Raiders defensive coordinator, Oakland was 22nd in points allowed. But Norton was fired in Oakland in November 2017, and at the time was ranked 26th in total defense but finished 23rd. In other words, the Raiders were better once Norton left.

Maybe the problem was talent. Norton did have some excellent individual talent in Oakland, like Khalil Mack, but not the overall talent Seattle has had. But now Norton must prove he can take some aging players, like Richard Sherman, blend them in with younger players, like Shaquill Griffin, and make the Seahawks defense great again.

Carroll is extremely familiar with Norton. Norton began his coaching career while Carroll was at USC in 2004. He finally left Carroll to go to Oakland in 2015. But familiarity has often become a head coaches undoing. Familiarity doesn’t always translate to quality.

But where does Kris Richard go?

Richard wasn’t bad as Seattle’s defensive coordinator the last few years. Did Seattle struggle on third down this year? Yes. But in 2015 Seattle was first in points-allowed defensively. In 2016, Seattle was third. This year, after losing so many good players to injury, the Seahawks fell to 13th.

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Was what happened in 2017 Richard’s fault? Or is Carroll seemingly getting rid of both his offensive and defensive coordinators after Seattle’s regular season ended a huge overreaction? We won’t know until the end of 2018. And hopefully for 12s like me, all works out grandly.