Why Vrabel can work, and thrive in Seattle
While many view Vrabel as just another defensive coach, I think there's strong reason to believe he is far more of a Dan Campbell who just needs the right home. Like Campbell, Vrabel is a forward-thinking, analytics-driven head coach, who knows how to connect with his team, even if he's a no-nonsense and aggressive coach.
Before the trade and injuries derailed their team, Vrabel's teams were consistently balanced, ranking around the top ten in defense and middle of the pack offensively. While many look at that as not inspiring, we have to remember the context and the possibilities.
Much like Campbell, Vrabel also has a strong eye for talent when it comes to his coaching staff. This is a guy who identified Matt Lafleur and made him his offensive coordinator before Lafleur became a star in Green Bay. After Lafleur left, Vrabel made Arthur Smith his offensive coordinator. Before he became the hateful man in fantasy football in Atlanta, Smith was the offensive architect who guided Tennessee to the 2019 AFC Championship game and a top 4 offense in football in 2019. He was the belle of the ball during his coaching carousel before poorly choosing Atlanta.
What if Schneider and Vrabel truly are buddies and feel connected with their vision of the team? The connection between GM and the head coach is paramount to the health of a franchise. Vrabel lost that in 2022, but that doesn't mean he needed elite talent to win. Vrabel was able to squeeze the most out of some teams that were questionable in terms of elite talent.
Vrabel knows how to create a physical philosophy and culture that would add a real kick to the foundation of Pete Carroll which had softened recently. Vrabel can run and develop a defense that has held its own despite a lack of talent. I have confidence that Riq Woolen, Devon Witherspoon, and hopefully Leonard Williams can reach another level with Vrabel.
Offensively, Schneider had brought up concerns about not hiring an offensive guy, as any good OC will quickly get snatched up. In this scenario, Vrabel could bring Arthur Smith to Seattle. Smith would have more talent than he's ever had before and would have Vrabel hovering over him, ensuring Seattle’s stars are being fed. Arthur Smith had a #4 overall offense with Tannehill, Henry, and Brown. What could he accomplish with Smith, DK, Lockett, JSN, and our dynamic running backs?
Hiring Smith also creates a unique safety net for Seattle. Smith has something to prove, as he's likely burned a lot of bridges to getting a head coaching position anytime soon. In order to get legitimate interviews again, Smith and the Seahawks will likely need to become one of the best offenses/teams over the course of 4-5 seasons. That is an eternity in the NFL.
Hiring Vrabel may not be the sexy hire that Ben Johnson or Bobby Slowik would bring, but it feels like the right choice to give this franchise a wake-up call. Hire Vrabel, beef up the trenches in the draft (while also grabbing a young QB to prepare), and get this team to start playing like bullies again. He'll hire a star-studded staff and will take a 17th-ranked offense and a 25th-ranked defense from last year, and have both in the top 15 next year. What may look like an odd fit on the outside, may be a Super Bowl-caliber hire rather quickly if Vrabel and Schneider unite.