Seahawks’ Pete Carroll Replacement Plan Starting to Take Shape With Interview Requests

Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who the Seahawks put in an interview request for in their quest to find a Pete Carroll replacement at head coach.

Getty Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn

The shock of the Seattle Seahawks firing Pete Carroll is starting to wear off, and the reality of the team hiring a new head coach for the first time since 2010 is setting in. And while the playoffs roll on and we don’t know yet who the new coach will be, the Seahawks submitted several fascinating interview requests on Monday, Jan. 15, and those start to give Seattle fans an idea of who the next coach might be.

The Seahawks interview requests came in fast and furious on Monday, starting with a coach Seattle fans now well. Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn was the first shoe to drop, as NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero reported that he was the first coordinator the Seahawks put in an “interview slip” for.

After that, Pelissero came in hot announcing the other interview requests. Next, it was Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith, followed by Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, and then Las Vegas Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter chimed in as well, adding that Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka are also on the Seahawks’ interview list.

So, with six candidates on the dockets, Seattle is starting to show what the organization is thinking for its Pete Carroll replacement. As opposed to 14 years ago, it seems as though there won’t be any college coaches in the mix, nor will there be long-tenured veteran coaches like Mike Vrabel or Bill Belichick.

These head coach candidates fall into one of two buckets, and for now, it seems like the Seahawks will decide between these two distinct directions.

The Former NFL Head Coaches

Raheem Morris and Dan Quinn fall into one bucket, as these two have head coaching experience on their resume. There is a solid track record of teams giving failed head coaches another shot when they are older and wiser and finding success.

Bill Belichick, the greatest coach of all time, and Pete Carroll, the greatest coach in Seahawks history, are both examples of this.

Quinn is a coach who knows Seattle well after coordinating the defense for Carroll in the two Super Bowl seasons of 2013 and 2014. That success got the DC the head job with the Atlanta Falcons, where Quinn went 43-42 in five-plus seasons. He also brought the team to the Big Game in the 2016 season, where the Falcons coughed up a 28-3 third-quarter lead to the New England Patriots.

After flaming out in Atlanta, Quinn has refreshed his reputation by helping the Cowboys defense achieve huge success over the last three years. The unit has finished seventh, fifth, and fifth in points allowed under Quinn.

Morris coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for three seasons (2009-11), putting up a rough 17-31 record. He was also the Falcons interim head coach for 11 games in 2020 after Quinn was fired, going 4-7.

After three seasons doing the defense for Sean McVay and the Rams, Morris is once again a viable head coaching candidate. And a second chance is well deserved, as Morris was oddly elevated to head coach of the Bucs late in the offseason after DC Monte Kiffin left and the team fired Jon Gruden.

The Young Coordinators

Seattle is also now looking at another archetype as well, with the young, hot coordinators in the league right now. Frank Smith, Ejiro Evero, Patrick Graham, and Mike Kafka fall into this category.

These coaches all have question marks surrounding them, but if the Seahawks hit on the right one, they may get the next Sean McVay or Kyle Shanahan.

Smith comes from the Shanahan tree and has helped the Dolphins become an explosive offense this season. The question here is how much does he actually do with Mike McDaniel as the driving offensive force in South Beach.

Evero and Graham are defensive coordinators who didn’t necessarily have great success this season, but the Panthers and Raiders defenses did seem to outshine their talent level.

Evero is from the McVay tree and did have solid success in a messy season for the Denver Broncos in 2022, and Graham, who started under Belichick with the Patriots has put up some solid seasons as DC of the Giants and Dolphins.

Finally, there is Kafka, who was a hot candidate last season but isn’t getting the love in 2024 after the Giants struggled so badly this season. He did help Daniel Jones reach heights most thought weren’t possible in 2022, but he also comes with the concern that any success in New York was more about Brian Daboll than the OC.

Now that the interview requests are set, we’ll see who blows John Schneider and company away in the interview room to grab the Seahawks head coaching job and officially become the franchise’s Pete Carroll replacement.

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