RENTON, Wash. — The Seattle Seahawks formally announced Tuesday that they hired Brian Schottenheimer as offensive coordinator, Ken Norton Jr. as defensive coordinator and Mike Solari as offensive line coach.
The team also announced that Kris Richard, who had served as defensive coordinator for the past three seasons, had been fired, and that linebackers coach Michael Barrow was also relieved of his duties.
The Seahawks announced last week that they had fired longtime offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and offensive line coach Tom Cable.
Norton returns to Seattle after spending the past three seasons as the Oakland Raiders’ defensive coordinator. He was fired by Oakland this past season and was hired as linebackers coach earlier this month by the San Francisco 49ers. He had an out in his contract, however, that allowed him to take the Seahawks job.
Prior to that, the former All-Pro linebacker had a long history coaching under Carroll, serving as the linebackers coach at USC from 2004-2009, then with the Seahawks from 2010-2014.
Schottenheimer will inherit an offense that has great potential but significant problems to solve.
Russell Wilson led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes this season but was regularly underwhelming during slow first-half performances that put stress on Seattle's defense and often had the Seahawks playing from behind.
Schottenheimer's biggest challenge will be re-energizing a Seattle running game that disappeared this season. Wilson was the Seahawks' leading rusher by more than 500 yards. No running back for Seattle had more than 240 yards rushing and the six running backs who carried the ball for the Seahawks in 2017 averaged a mere 3.3 yards per carry.
His final three seasons in New York were the most optimistic sign that Schottenheimer can help the Seahawks return to the run-first style that head coach Pete Carroll desires. The Jets were the No. 9 run team in the NFL in 2008; No. 1 in 2009; and No. 4 in 2010.
With the return of Norton, Seattle chose a return to the past. There was a belief Seattle was trying to bring back Gus Bradley, but the former Seahawks defensive coordinator opted to remain with the Los Angeles Chargers. Norton knows much of Seattle's veteran personnel and will be more apt to run what Carroll wants defensively.
Richard's units slipped the past two seasons, but that was partly due to critical injuries. Seattle lost safety Earl Thomas for the final month of the 2016 season and played half of the 2017 season without Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril. Seattle's defense ranked 11th overall and 13th in points allowed this season.