Mike Macdonald brings Seahawks a new mantra: Intensity

Practices will be different under Macdonald than Pete Carroll.
Todd Olszewski/GettyImages

The Seattle Seahawks' new coach will bring a new attitude to the team, one that's long overdue. The new byword in Seattle will be intensity. He may not have put it in those exact words, but he made his point clear to anyone who was listening.

Mike Macdonald will definitely bring a different approach to coaching than what the Hawks have been accustomed to under the iron hand of Pete Carroll. You laughed at that, right? Or maybe you thought, this dude has no idea what he's talking about. Granted, that's often the case, but in this instance, the misattribution was deliberate. Carroll wasn't exactly a laid-back coach; no one would mistake him for Jim Tomsula, that's for sure.

But it wasn't Pete's style to call out his players, either. That's why it was so notable when he finally did hold players publically accountable after the Hawks lost their fourth straight game of the season. As I'm sure all 12s remember, Carroll said the players weren't executing what they were being coached. We know that's true, but isn't it the coaches' responsibility to ensure that players are executing the plays? The reason Carroll is now serving in some amorphous advisory role is that neither he nor anyone on his staff made that happen.

The Seattle Seahawks will see a new attitude on the field

Not to beat a dead horse, but how many times did Carroll say that DK Metcalf had to stop committing stupid penalties? When DK missed the first game of his career, supposedly due to injury, those stupid and childish penalties stopped when he took the field again. Weeks later, Riq Woolen was pulled from a game and Carroll quoted John Wooden's famous saying, 'The bench is the coach's best friend." Pete didn't apply that rule until both the season and his job was gone.

We're not going to see that kind of problem happen under Coach Macdonald. The Ravens' defense is noted for its intense, physical brand of football. When asked why he made Mike Macdonald the youngest coach in the NFL, John Schneider made a very telling statement, as quoted by John Boyle for seahawks.com, "The product. Watching the film. Feeling their defense that day, being there in that stadium…We all were there and felt it.

"In talking to the players, several offensive players were like, 'What was that? What just happened?' I try to pick the players' brains here and there throughout the season, and that totally stood out. I forget which player it was, but he was like, 'What was that? Who was that?'"

Macdonald brought that intensity to the University of Michigan in his single season as the Wolverines' defensive coordinator. In case you missed it, Michigan ranked 95th in scoring defense in 2020. Macdonald moved that defense up a few notches in 2021, as they ranked 8th in the nation with him calling the defensive plays. Another insight into his attitude is a quote from The Detroit Free Press, as reported by Orion Sang. Note that this was on August 5th, a month before the season started.

Macdonald said, "Look man, set the edge, rush the passer and when we ask you to drop (into coverage), don’t screw it up. We’re not splitting atoms. There’s a certain temperament and intensity and violence that we expect them to play with, and I think we’ve got a really strong group of guys that we’re asking to do that and have that skillset."

Intensity. Violence. That's a different level than "Always Compete", right? The problem was that the Seahawks didn't always compete, though. We learned that in Week 9 when Mike Macdonald's defense had the offense wandering around post-game as if they'd been in a train wreck. Of course, that's exactly what they'd experienced. Who was left standing? Well, if you've seen M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable, you know who stepped off that train.

Okay, bad analogy, because it was Mr. Glass who caused the wreck, and Mike Macdonald seems much more like a man made of high-tensile steel than glass. By all accounts, he's smarter than Elijah Price, too. Okay, enough of the deep dive into the fine films of the 2000's. We're about to witness Mike Macdonald lead his team to do far worse to the Seahawks' opposition. And it all starts with that new-found intensity and violence.

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