The Seattle Seahawks are in the market for a head coach for the first time in 14 years. Clearly, General Manager John Schneider is conducting an incredibly thorough search. Let's take a quick look at the names that have already popped up on his list.
It seems a bit surreal to discuss a coaching search for the Seahawks, doesn't it? After 14 years with Pete Carroll as the most accomplished coach in the team's history, ownership felt the team had stagnated. General Manager John Schneider has been entrusted to bring the Hawks back to their glory days. Per Brady Henderson of ESPN, Schneider was given just one mandate by Trustee Jody Allen. As Schneider related that directive, "It's clear. It's concise. We want to keep our positive culture, everything that's been created here."
The positive culture Pete Carroll created in Seattle is as much his legacy as are his 227 wins and the league title. It's encouraging to see that Allen and by extension, Schneider, are endorsing that legacy. That could be one factor that has led to the Seahawks casting such a wide net in their coaching search.
That, plus Schneider has always been a major proponent of due diligence. As he said at his press conference on Tuesday, when he first joined the Hawks in 2010, he brought a binder with 36 pages of notes on potential head coaches. The man's been ready for this for over a decade.
The Seattle Seahawks have no shortage of coaching candidates
As you can see from the list, Schneider is being just as diligent in this search as he apparently was 14 years ago. I do find it interesting that at least so far, only two candidates with experience as an NFL head coach have been announced. That leaves a couple of very big names off the table. For my money, that's a good thing. You can probably guess the names of those two gentlemen without trying too hard. For now, these are the chosen not-so-few.
Dan Quinn. DC, Dallas Cowboys, out of playoffs
We might as well start with the name at the top of everyone's list, right? Quinn was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons from 2015 through 2020. He does own a playoff win over the Seahawks, as painful as that may be. His head coaching record is 43-42 with two winning seasons out of six. I think his reputation is unwarranted, and am not a fan.
Raheem Morris. DC, Los Angeles Rams, out of playoffs
Morris led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009-2011. His teams bounced from 3-13 to 10-6 and back to 4-12. Coincidentally, he was Quinn's defensive coordinator in Atlanta in 2020 when the Falcons lost their first five games. Under Morris, they managed a 4-7 record. Morris has been the Rams DC since 2021.
Ejiro Evero. DC, Carolina Panthers, out of playoffs
Evero begins the parade of coordinators without head coaching experience. He's never been the head coach at any level, at least according to pro-football-reference.com. He has coached in the NFL since 2007, with the exception of one year. He was the Broncos DC in 2022 and took the same position with the Panthers last season.
Patrick Graham. DC Las Vegas Raiders, out of playoffs
Another never-been-the-guy candidate, Graham has been an NFL coordinator since 2019 with the Dolphins. Since then, he served in the same role with the Giants for two seasons and has been the Raiders DC for the past two seasons.
Ben Johnson. OC, Detroit Lions, currently in playoffs
John Schneider knows there's more to football than defense, as you can see from these selections. Johnson is one of the hottest names on the market as he's received a lion's share of the credit for elevating Detroit to a playoff-winning team. Sorry, I couldn't resist. He's been in the league since 2012, first with Miami and then Detroit since 2019. The Lions ranked 22nd in points scored before Johnson took over. Since then, they've been fifth both seasons.
Frank Smith, OC, Miami Dolphins, out of playoffs
Smith has been in the league since 2010 and worked with four teams before landing in Miami as their OC in 2022. They were 11th in points in 2022, then second this season. Mike McDaniels calls the plays for the Dolphins, though, so that muddies the waters a bit.
Mike Kafka, OC, New York Giants, out of playoffs
Kafka is another coordinator with two years of experience in the role. In his case, he's drawing interest less for what the Giants have done - god, I hope so - than what he did in Kansas City as the Chiefs quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator.
Bobby Slowik, OC, Houston Texans, currently in playoffs
We cap it off with a rookie coordinator. Based on what the Texans have done this year, the Seahawks have to interview this guy. The Texans rose from 30th in points scored to 13th this year. Yes, some kid named Stroud had something to do with that, too. But remember, there were a lot of questions about Stroud as a top pick before the draft. Oh, and Slowak was the Niners passing game coordinator last year, and an assistant there since 2019. That's a pretty solid CV.
Mike Vrabel, former HC, Tennessee Titans, out of playoffs
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Seahawks are interested in talking to Vrabel. Vrabel has been the head coach in Tennessee the last six seasons but was let go after this year. He loves to run the ball and have a great defense. Sounds familiar.
The Seahawks could interview even more candidates than this. The calendar is rolling, though, with what, six other vacancies out there? I have no doubt that Schneider will make the right call on this. Assuming, of course, that he doesn't hire Bill Belichick or Jim Harbaugh.