Ken Norton Jr.: I’m pretty sure if you do a Google search on the Seahawks DC, you’ll find a lot of less-than-positive articles about his performance. And please, 12’s, for your children’s sake, don’t let them see your screen if you mention him on social media. Although now that I think about it, things have gotten so bad that first-graders are probably slamming the man. Rightly so. This defense is horrendous.
To state the obvious again, 2021 has been an absolute trainwreck for the Seahawks defense. They rank 15th in turnovers, and that’s their best ranking. Seattle ranks 21st in points allowed, 29th in passing yards, 31st in rushing yards, and 32nd -that’s right, dead last – in total yards allowed. To their credit, the Hawks D ranks 31st in net yards per drive, so at least one team is worse there.
I suppose we should be grateful that the scoring defense has only been mediocre, rather than gawdawful. At least the Niners rank 22nd! That’s a bright spot, right 12s? Seattle’s saving grace here has been their red-zone defense, which has actually been pretty good so far this year. Opponents have scored red-zone touchdowns just under 48 percent of the time.
That may sound like a lot, but the ridiculously stout Buffalo defense leads the league with 33 percent. The Panthers and the Packers can’t stop anybody so far, as they’ve given up a touchdown every time the opponent made it inside the 20. So it could be worse, 12s!
Seahawks need to find a replacement for Ken Norton, Jr.
Or could it, really? It isn’t like we didn’t all see this coming. By the way, I agree with Lee Vowell’s assessment – you did read his article that’s linked above, right – in that the Hawks personnel needs some work. But as he also says, Ken Norton Jr. isn’t up to the task. Norton didn’t lead the Seahawks defense to a top-ten finish in 2020.
The Hawks finished 15th in points allowed, 22nd in yards allowed. 2019 saw Seattle rank 22nd in PA, 26th in YA. 2018 witnessed an 11th place finish in PA and 16th in YA. In 2017, the year before Norton took over in Seattle, the Seahawks ranked 14th in PA and 11th in YA.
Is it just me, or does anyone see a trend here? No matter who he has for personnel, his defenses are mediocre at best. By the way, Seattle allowed 332 points in 2017 and 347 in 2018. Their ranking improved, but they did give up more points. And what stellar performance earned Ken Norton Jr. the Seahawks job? Beats me.
His three years as the Raiders defensive coordinator are virtually identical to what he’s achieved – and I use that term loosely – in Seattle. I think when you’re coaching Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, it’s a little easier to earn a reputation as a great position coach.
So the team that prides itself on its defensive prowess, that defines itself as a defensive standout, has settled for at best mediocrity ever since Norton arrived. In 2010, Pete Carrol’s first year, the Hawks ranked 25th in points allowed. The next year they climbed to 7th. 2012 began the incredible run of four straight years as the number-one ranked defense in the league. 2016 saw the Seahawks plummet all the way to third in points allowed. In 2017,
Seattle took a legitimate drop to 13th place. Was that because Kris Richard suddenly didn’t know how to coach after two stellar years, or was it because Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman each missed seven games?
Kris Richard got the boot, and Ken Norton Jr. failed to improve the defense. Yes, he was hamstrung by the loss of Chancellor and just four games of Earl Thomas, that’s true. It’s also true that he gave 10 starts to Tedric Thompson. I mean, I could have fallen down in coverage and saved the Hawks a lot of money, too. Norton has done nothing in the three previous seasons to show that he’s even better than average at his job. Midseason replacements aren’t easy, but I hear the head coach has some experience himself. Seriously, anyone would be better at this point.