Seahawks offensive coordinator search includes next best thing to Lions' Ben Johnson

Mike Macdonald needs to find the person to run his offense.
Steph Chambers/GettyImages

The Seattle Seahawks might have made the best head coaching hire in the 2024 offseason. Mike Macdonald has been extraordinarily successful the last two seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. Macdonald will continue to make the defensive play calls even as head coach in Seattle. But he does need someone to run his offense.

There have been several names rumored to become the offensive coordinator. One name is former University of Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb. Grubb had left to be the OC at Alabama, but he might have changed his mind and is now interested in the Seahawks job.

But another name that is rumored to be linked to Seattle's OC job is Tanner Engstrand who the Detroit Lions currently employ as their Offensive Pass Game Coordinator. Like Macdonald, Engstrand has flown up the coaching ranks. Just four seasons ago, Engstrand was an offensive assistant coach in Detroit. Before that, he had no experience in the NFL.

Seattle Seahawks are reportedly interested in interviewing Tanner Engstrand for open OC spot

Engstrand worked under Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson in Detroit. Johnson seemingly was one of the hottest names in NFL head coaching searches this offseason, but he withdrew his name from searches and returned to being Detroit's OC. (There were rumors that Johnson was awful during interviews.)

Still, Johnson, with the help of Engstrand, has been able to make the Lions, and specifically quarterback Jared Goff, much better. Goff and the Lions had the fifth-best quarterback rating in the league in 2023 and they were fifth in yards per attempt. So if Seattle wants an offensive coordinator like Johnson, and the Seahawks did interview Johnson for the head coaching vacancy, then going with Engstrand makes sense.

There is also some common ground between Macdonald and Engstrand. Both coaches have worked with new Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh when Harbaugh was at the University of Michigan (Engstrand also worked with Harbaugh at the University of San Diego). Engstrand and Macdonald were not at Michigan at the same time, but having the tie between the two coaches could be important.

The biggest question, though, might be if the Seahawks want to go with a first-time head coach in Macdonald and a first-time NFL offensive coordinator in Engstrand. Engstrand was an OC in college and the UFL, but the NFL is different, obviously. Still, Engstrand does seem to know how to involve all facets of his receivers, most importantly his tight end group, and that could work well with Seattle's talented receivers.

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