On the heels of the Seahawks firing both Darrell Bevell and Tom Cable this week, the focus has shifted to their replacements. And it seems the only choice who could appease an entire fanbase is Merlin The Magician. Because frankly, he’s just as unrealistic as the expectations many have for the role of Seahawks offensive coordinator.
According to ESPN, the Seahawks are expected to hire Brian Schottenheimer. The NFL Network reported the Hawks’ top two candidates were Schottenheimer and Eagles quarterbacks coach, John DeFilippo. The Seahawks have not confirmed either report.
But the initial reaction in the blogosphere – on Schottenheimer specifically – has been lukewarm at best. Schottenheimer has nine years as an NFL offensive coordinator with the Jets and Rams, and none of those teams finished better than 11th in total yards.
In fact, take a look at the track record. Seven of those nine seasons, his offenses ranked 20th or worse in total yards.
“That’s the best we can do?” fans are asking. “Why even make the move then?”
Even DeFilippo, a rising star in the coaching world who seems to be the preferred choice between the two, has been an NFL coordinator just one season in Cleveland, where his offense ranked 25th in total yards.
Which brings me to a valid question – and one I don’t think many fans asked themselves as they used #FireBevell on social media the past couple seasons: Who would you want the Seahawks to hire? Who is a realistic option – a coordinator that doesn’t have an immediate desire to become a head coach and one who shares a similar coaching philosophy as Pete Carroll?
Because if you look at the playcallers on the 14 teams who gained more yards than the Seahawks this season, five of them are already head coaches, a sixth just became one in Chicago (Matt Nagy), a seventh in Josh McDaniels and possibly an eighth in Pat Shurmur are about to get hired as head coaches, the ones in Jacksonville and Minnesota (Shurmur) are still alive in the playoffs, Steve Sarkisian was criticized heavily in Atlanta this season, and Scott Linehan couldn’t even reach the postseason with one of the league’s most dominant offensive lines in Dallas.
And when you bring up probably the two best and innovative offensive coordinators who recently became head coaches – Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay - it’s important to note that neither had success in their first seasons as offensive coordinators with their former team: Shanahan’s Falcons were 21st in scoring in 2015, McVay’s Redskins were 26th in scoring in 2014. Those numbers wouldn’t fly for a Seahawks fanbase hoping for immediate success following the Bevell firing.
I guess the point is this: Pete Carroll wants to reestablish dominance in the run game and on the offensive line – that’s part of his stated formula for success. I don’t get the impression that he’s looking to bring in an offensive wizard or mastermind, but simply someone who shares those priorities and can get the very best out of one of the top quarterbacks in the league.
Which is why Schottenheimer or DeFilippo make sense. Schottenheimer’s roots are in a run-first offense that finished Top 5 in rushing twice with Jets teams that reached the AFC Championship Game. He also oversaw the development of Drew Brees in San Diego. DeFilippo has worked well with Carson Wentz the last two years.
Again, I was never a “Fire Bevell” guy, nor was I a “Rah Rah Bevell” guy. I always believed the majority of his struggles came down more to the offensive line than his playcalling.
And because of that, I’m less worried about the Hawks ultimate hire there, and more concerned with the coach who will oversee the re-development of the offensive line.
THAT’S the hire, in my opinion, that will dictate the success or failure of this offense over the years to come.