These are NOT reasons for Seahawks to hire a head coach
3 factors that shouldn't matter in Seahawks head coach search: Seaside Joe 1795
I’ve seen a lot of people say that the Washington Moons have a “better” job opening at head coach than the Seattle Seahawks but I feel this argument is based on a few superficial reasons that would only matter to you if you were a fan and not if you were a football coach.
Fans don’t tend to look in the past at all and they don’t tend to look much further in the future than “What could I do in the next few months if I was the general manager of a team?” That means that the impetus behind ranking the Moons over the Seahawks for most people is essentially 2024 cap space and first round draft positions.
Is that really all that matters?
The Moons have the most cap space in the NFL and the number two pick in the draft. The Seahawks are projected to be over next season’s salary cap and hold the 16th pick. Yeah, we could theorize the plusses and minuses of the respective ownership groups (Washington was recently sold, the Seahawks could be sold in the near future) but none of us have the authority to say which franchise is actually a better situation.
We’re using immediate cap space and draft picks to rank one team over the other…Doesn’t that seem a little too simple to be the deciding factor for a coach who is moving his family, uprooting his life, and risking the future of his career based on how good of a fit he is for the franchise? A head coaching position is only a “one-year job” if you treat it like a one-year job and nobody wants it to be a one-year job. That’s like being the first person voted out on Survivor.
This all presumes that Seattle and Washington even have the same #1 choice, which they probably don’t. But if they did, I’d say that the Seahawks have an advantage that for some reason nobody seems to bring up:
The Moons are starting from scratch. The Seahawks have a decent roster.
How is that not the FIRST thing that people bring up?
The Seahawks have drafted three first round players and four second round players in the last two years. The Moons have picked two first and two second. Not only that, we could instantly compare first round corners from 2023: Devon Witherspoon is a prime DROY candidate, Emmanuel Forbes was so bad that he got benched by a 4-13 team.
Washington is hoping that last year’s first round pick, receiver Jahan Dotson, has only regressed because of the team’s problems at quarterback, offensive line, and coordinator. I’d rather have Witherspoon than Forbes and JSN than Dotson. Doesn’t that count for anything?
The Seahawks have a lot of good players under contract and as frustrating as the last few years have been for fans, coaches, and players, Seattle’s one of the most winningest franchises of the century: 3 Super Bowl appearances, 15 playoff trips since 2003.
Washington hasn’t won a playoff game since 2005. They just lost 13 games. They’ve lost that many games four times since 2013. The Seahawks haven’t lost 13 games since 1992.
Yes, I can appreciate that the Moons have the number two pick in the draft and are likely to take a quarterback, but plenty of head coaches in history can tell you that they were paired with a top pick at quarterback and didn’t live long to tell his tale. Just ask Frank Reich (Bryce Young), Urban Meyer (Trevor Lawrence), Brian Flores (Tua), Anthony Lynn (Justin Herbert), Kliff Kingsbury (Kyler), Pat Shurmur (Daniel Jones), Hue Jackson (Baker Mayfield), Todd Bowles (Sam Darnold), Steve Wilks (Josh Rosen), or John Fox (Mitchell Trubisky) to name 10.
A number two pick to Washington? Sounds like Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan! What could go wrong!
I ranked the Moons just behind the Seahawks in my “head coach openings” article and still feel that’s accurate. Will the two teams be competing for the services of Ben Johnson, Mike Macdonald, or Dan Quinn this week? We should find out soon who wants the Seahawks, but first let’s review a few items for what John Schneider SHOULDN’T consider when he’s deciding who he wants for the Seahawks.
Don’t hire a head coach because he fits your current roster
There isn’t an unemployed head coach out there who fits the 2024 Seahawks better than Pete Carroll, so how could this possibly be the criteria used to decide Pete’s replacement? It’s not that I even see this as a HUGE talking point for Seattle’s search, but it’s certainly been discussed (“can the next head coach make THIS defense better?”) and yet I don’t think John Schneider can spend much time interviewing candidates based on what they’ll do with the current roster.
The right head coach will outlast every player on the 2024 Seahawks.
If the Seahawks had Herbert or Young, their search would have been different and we might have seen a much more significant push for a quarterbacks-centric coach like we saw for the Chargers and Panthers. But Geno Smith is not of that ilk and as we saw with the Broncos hiring Sean Payton a year ago, even veteran quarterbacks are sometimes standing in between a new head coach and his future signal caller.
Though I still think the Seahawks could hire a quarterback coach like Mike Kafka, or an offensive coordinator like Ben Johnson to elevate Geno’s abilities in the short-term, I don’t see Smith long for Seattle in either case.
In the case of new players who the Seahawks absolutely love, and we heard Schneider boast about Seattle’s young talent multiple times in his latest press conference, it’s not as though there are any head coach candidates out there who won’t have a spot for Witherspoon or Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Boye Mafe would have a role on any defense. Uchenna Nwosu would make sense for almost any of the candidates. Charles Cross and Abe Lucas are probably going to be the starting tackles no matter who is hired.
If the Seahawks are talking to an offensive coordinator and he’s by far their favorite candidate but he says that his offense simply doesn’t have a huge need for someone like DK Metcalf (just an example), then Schneider has to consider making changes to the roster rather that writing off a coach because of one or two or a handful of players. As important as great players are, they always have to leave eventually and even good careers don’t usually last more than eight years.
Pete and John turned over almost the entire roster and practice squad in their first two years with the Seahawks, so Seattle can’t be opposed to doing it again.
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Don’t hire a head coach because of 2023 rankings
If the Seahawks were hiring someone based on being the best coordinator in the conference championship round, then Seattle’s next head coach would be…Steve Spagnuolo.
Is that the criteria a team should use?
The reason I give Ben Johnson more credit is that he’s managed to have a high level of success in back-to-back seasons and he’s done so with Jared Goff as the quarterback and not a single notable receiver aside from Amon-Ra St. Brown. He’s only even had Sam LaPorta for one season and Jameson Williams hasn’t come close to living up to his draft status.
Even then, I remain skeptical of Johnson’s success translating to a new team and after he adds head coach responsibilities to his plate.
Repeat that sentiment for Mike Macdonald except for defense. Macdonald took over an average defense and he’s had the Ravens in the top-three in back-to-back seasons.
But if the Seahawks have a dozen meetings and by far the smartest person they talk to is Kafka, or the person they’re most confident in leading a team is Dan Quinn, then it shouldn’t matter if the Giants had the 30th-ranked offense or if the Cowboys looked like the…(looks up “team that consistently dominates in the regular season but shrinks down like a dried apricot in the playoffs” in the dictionary)…the Cowboys in the wild card round.
The only thing that is consistent about teams that have high-scoring offenses every year are that they have great quarterbacks. When a team scores a lot of points and doesn’t have a great quarterback, that offensive coordinator tends to become the hottest name on the head coach market. In 2020, that person CLEARLY would have been Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.
That success didn’t translate to the Falcons.
I still like Johnson and Macdonald as candidates because in addition to having mutliple years of success, they are praised as teachers and leaders who might be able to put coaches in place to develop Seattle’s young players into stars. Emphasis: “Might”. The Seahawks have to pick somebody and there’s risk to any decision, so I could see Johnson and Macdonald winning a tiebreaker based on how they made their teams better/really good.
But contrary to the amount of pushback I see for coaches like Kafka who didn’t have success in their roles last season, that just doesn’t matter to me.
Kyle Shanahan wasn’t successful with Johnny Manziel; Sean McVay wasn’t successful with RGIII; Andy Reid wasn’t successful at the end of Michael Vick’s career; why should we expect anyone to be successful with Daniel Jones and Tommy DeVito?
Don’t hire a head coach because Twitter said to do it
Twitter said that Brandon Staley was going to be the next Sean McVay and defended his aggressive moves…up until they had to turn on him and say “Actually this guy sucks and he’s not associated with analytics” after the Chargers proved incapable of winning close contests and playoff games.
Twitter said that Frank Reich got screwed by the Colts and was the best hire of 2023.
If the Lions start 2-4 next season, trust me Dan Campbell, Twitter will NOT have your back anymore.
Complaining about Twitter may be the new “old man yelling at the moon” but unfortunately one of the great flaws of modern society is that some of the world’s most powerful people foolishly believe that social media=the real world. Log off and you’ll find that the real world is nothing like Twitter.
Yet we see people hired, fired, and drafted in part because of how decision makers were influenced by social media.
In Seattle’s case, Twitter seemingly can’t “accept” the Seahawks hiring anyone other than Macdonald or Johnson. Maybe that’s what the Seahawks should do. Maybe that’s what the Seahawks will do. But if Twitter gets their wish it should only be a coincidence: Hire who you want to hire, John. Don’t hire who you think “we” want you to hire.
It’s not that fans don’t know what they want, it’s that nobody knows what fans “actually” want because the answers are not on Twitter, and it doesn’t matter what fans think even if they do know.
If the Seahawks hire Dan Quinn, who hasn’t been on my top-10 since the second day we started covering the search, that’s still okay with me.
Twitter can’t even get a fourth down decision right, let alone choose who should run an entire team. In fact, if the Seahawks hire someone who pisses Twitter off as much as they were pissed when the team drafted Witherspoon or traded Russell Wilson, maybe the team is onto something…
When will the Seahawks announce a decision?
I’m scheduling today’s article for Tuesday morning as it is a safe bet that Seattle won’t make an announcement until Tuesday night at the earliest. Because the Seahawks have a meeting with Macdonald on Tuesday, anything short of the team hiring Johnson (who they met with on Monday) or the Moons hiring Macdonald (who they also met with on Monday) would tell us that Schneider’s not going to do anything before this article posts.
But he could probably do something within 24-48 hours.
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