The Seattle Seahawks are wasting no time finding a new defensive coordinator with multiple interviews already on the docket. Hours after the news of Ken Norton Jr.’s firing was made official, reports began to surface about the first interview requests for the Seahawks new coaching vacancy.
The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar reported that the Seahawks scheduled an interview with Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai.
“Hearing that another name to watch in the Seahawks defensive coordinator search is Sean Desai of the Bears. Seahawks have requested to interview him, I’m told,” Dugar tweeted on January 19.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Seahawks also requested to interview Broncos defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.
“The Seahawks have requested permission to speak with Broncos DC Ed Donatell for their defensive coordinator job, per source,” Fowler detailed on Twitter on January 18. “Donatell has coordinated and coached NFL secondaries for decades.”
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The Early DC Candidates All Have Ties to Vic Fangio
Seahawks defensive line coach Clint Hurtt has also been floated as an internal candidate. As Pro Football Talk’s Curtis Crabtree pointed out, all three coaches have ties to former Broncos head coach Vic Fangio’s tenure in Chicago.
“Seahawks apparently want to recreate the 2015-16 Bears defense,” Crabtree tweeted on January 19. “All three reported DC candidates — Clint Hurtt (asst DL/OLB), Ed Donatell (DBs) and Sean Desai (Def. QC) — were member of the Bears defensive staff under DC Vic Fangio.”
Carroll Wants the Seahawks Defense to be More ‘Attack-Minded’
What can Seahawks fans expect from the next defensive coordinator hire? The Seattle Times’ Adam Jude noted that Carroll wants the defense to be more “attack-minded” heading into next season.
“The coaching changes do represent for Pete Carroll at least a small pivot in his defensive philosophy, per sources,” Jude explained on Twitter on January 18. “Carroll preferred Cover 2 this season because his priority was to limit explosive plays (which it did), but he does plan to be more ‘attack-minded’ going forward…”
Desai on Defensive Philosophy: Tackling, Running to the Ball & Taking the Ball Away
Under Desai, the Bears ranked No. 11 in points allowed (23.1) last season. Desai took over the Bears defense last offseason and outlined his overall philosophy.
“There are some fundamental core things that we just believe in,” Desai explained in July 2021, per NBC Sports Chicago. “We believe in tackling. We believe in running to the ball. We believe in taking the ball away. There’s a premium placed on those three things, and to play good defense you need all three of those. We’re going to try to be really good at those three things to start with, and then when the scheme comes, the scheme will come.”
The Seahawks Want to Use More Single-High Safety Coverage in 2022
The News Tribune’s Gregg Bell outlined what Carroll wants to see from his defense next season. One of the main changes is more aggressive single-high safety packages.
“Carroll wants the Seahawks defense to be more aggressive, to dictate more to offenses in 2022,” Bell wrote on January 19. “He wants to play more single-high safety coverage. To do that, he will need to re-sign Diggs, a Pro Bowl free safety for the season straight year coming off a broken leg in the season finale Jan. 9. Carroll would rather use Jamal Adams more in a Chancellor-like strong safety role, closer to the line.
“Carroll wants to end the soft, two-high-safety coverage he and Norton used for too much of the 2021 season, because they felt the Seahawks had to. The coaches didn’t trust their revolving cast of new cornerbacks.”