According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Seattle Seahawks have reportedly hired Ed Donatell for a senior defensive role. And per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, Seattle will make Clint Hurtt the new defensive coordinator.
Donatell has spent the last three years with the Denver Broncos as the team’s defensive coordinator. While in Denver, the Broncos issues weren’t really related to the defense. Their offense was atrocious. But head coach Vic Fangio was fired after the season which meant Donatell was probably out of a job as well.
Donatell’s specialty is in coaching defensive backs. He has a history with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll that goes back nearly 40 years. Both coached at Pacific University when Carroll was the DC and Donatell was the defensive backs coach. The two coached together again in the early 90s with the Jets.
How Seahawks hire of Ed Donatell could affect Clint Hurtt
The rub here is that Donatell is a great secondary coach. Clint Hurtt, on the other hand, is a very good defensive line coach. Some 12s have complained about Hurtt potentially getting the defensive coordinator job after Ken Norton, Jr. was fired but the defensive line wasn’t the problem this season.
Seattle was great against the run (second in the NFL in average yards allowed per rush at 3.8 per) and the fact that edge rushers like Carlos Dunlap didn’t produce more was a factor of the overall defensive scheme by Norton, Jr. instead of bad coaching by Hurtt.
Hurtt has been a coach in the NFL since 2014 when he was with the Bears. He coached the defensive line in Chicago that year and then was the linebackers coach in 2015 and 2016. He joined the Seahawks in 2017 as the defensive line coach and has remained in charge of the unit for the most part since then. He has never been a defensive coordinator, though.
This is why the Donatell hire is important to Hurtt. Having Donatell around helps Hurtt with the secondary but also provides a veteran ear to listen to Hurtt when he wants input. Donatell is likely to be the passing game coordinator and Hurtt in charge of the entire scheme.
The Donatell hire is great because of what he brings to the secondary and that should help Jamal Adams be used better. But Hurtt’s players love him and he is ready to be a DC so a defensive coaching staff with Donatell and Hurtt should equate to a better Seahawks defense beginning in 2022.