Can Mike Macdonald safe the Seahawks support heading within the appropriate direction? 5 questions and a grade for Seattle’s coaching hire

  • ESPN workersJan 31, 2024, 03: 50 PM ET

SEATTLE — The Seattle Seahawks are hiring Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald as their next head coach and giving him a six-year contract, sources suggested ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Wednesday.

Macdonald, 36, turns into the NFL’s youngest head coach and brings to Seattle a fame as one amongst the league’s top defensive minds, having led the Ravens to No. 1 in facets allowed, sacks and takeaways in 2023 — his 2d season as Baltimore’s D-coordinator. Macdonald will replace longtime coach Pete Carroll after the Seahawks announced earlier this month that Carroll, 72, would not return as the coach in 2024. Carroll remains with the Seahawks as an adviser.

Taking a nearer glance, Seahawks reporter Brady Henderson solutions just some of the plentiful questions surrounding the hire, national reporter Dan Graziano dishes on what he’s listening to about Macdonald and NFL draft analyst Matt Miller spins it forward to the draft. Within the crash, front place of job analyst Mike Tannenbaum grades the Seahawks’ hire.

What makes Macdonald a honest fit in Seattle, and why did the Seahawks drag this direction?

Henderson: The Seahawks are most likely to be not going to safe support to their glory days of a decade ago unless they are able to safe by the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams, NFC West foes coached by provocative offensive minds that hold had Seattle’s different of unhurried. San Francisco has been the a long way superior group skill-wise in most in vogue seasons, but both division opponents hold had a indispensable edge over Seattle in relation to offensive diagram.

That offered a central quiz within the Seahawks’ coaching search: Will hold to restful they hire an offensive coach who will preserve up in scoring with Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, or a defensive coach who will again stop them?

Who’s aware of which would had been the different had Lions OC Ben Johnson restful been in play, but with Johnson opting to dwell in Detroit, Macdonald felt admire a easy name. Finally, he coordinated what has arguably been the NFL’s finest protection all the way in the course of the final two seasons and no doubt the top unit in 2023.

Baltimore grew to change into the first group in NFL history to permit the fewest facets (16.5 per game), total essentially the most sacks (60) and document essentially the most takeaways (31) within the the same season, per ESPN Stats & Knowledge.

And per chance most encouraging for the Seahawks is what that protection did to San Francisco in Baltimore’s 33-19 make a selection over the 49ers on Christmas evening. The Ravens had 5 interceptions of Brock Purdy, whose 7.1 QBR in that game was his worst over two NFL seasons.

How can Macdonald reinforce this struggling protection?

Henderson: Macdonald can again right here by bringing in an upgraded diagram and getting more out his gamers than Seattle’s earlier defensive coaches did. It has been a bottom-tier unit the previous two seasons, namely in opposition to the creep. And while the Seahawks were undermanned up front in 2022, their total protection underachieved in 2023 after an offseason overhaul of their front seven, moreover the additions of cornerback Devon Witherspoon and security Julian Enjoy on the support stop.

It was an excellent rather a range of fable in Baltimore, the win a lot of Ravens defenders took predominant jumps and had profession seasons. That capabilities former Seahawks edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, who posted the fifth-finest drag toddle make a selection price and tied his profession-excessive with 9.5 sacks. Defensive style out Justin Madubuike (13 sacks) and security Geno Stone (seven interceptions) are two rather a range of examples of gamers breaking out.

All three will be free agents, as will interior linebacker Patrick Queen and edge participant Kyle Van Noy. Queen and Madubuike will most likely be too pricey for the Seahawks, given that they are currently projected to be about $4 million over the cap sooner than subtractions or restructures. But the others can also stop up more in Seattle’s brand vary.

And even though Macdonald doesn’t raise a lot of gamers from Baltimore’s protection to Seattle, the Seahawks make a selection to be thinking about what he can raise out with Witherspoon, a versatile cornerback who made the Skilled Bowl after a improbable rookie season.

What does Macdonald’s hiring mean for Geno Smith’s future and the quarterback misfortune?

Henderson: Smith has felt admire lower than a lock to dwell in pickle after his up-and-down 2023, namely since Carroll was fired. Carroll was one amongst Smith’s glorious supporters within the group and had closing divulge over personnel choices.

That vitality now belongs to overall supervisor John Schneider, and while he’ll by some means come to a likelihood what to raise out with Smith and the QB misfortune, he’ll weigh enter from his unusual head coach. It’s rate noting in that regard that Smith’s worst efficiency as a Seahawk came within the blowout loss to Baltimore in November, when he posted his lowest Complete QBR (12.1) in 35 begins with Seattle.

Smith has two years and $47.5 million closing on the three-year, $75 million deal he signed final March after making the Skilled Bowl and winning NFL Comeback Participant of the Year in 2022. That capabilities a $12.7 million snide wage for next season that will change into fully assured if he’s restful on the roster on Feb. 16. His precise attain to 2023 could well well hold win the questions about his future in Seattle on preserve, namely since the Seahawks don’t hold a top-10 win (they win at No. 16) or a 2d-rounder. But when Schneider and Macdonald come to a likelihood to drag on from Smith this offseason, Feb. 16 is a logical closing date to slit him, although not essentially to commerce him.

What are you listening to round the league on the hire?

Graziano: There had been a building expectation all the way in the course of the final week or so that Seattle would target Macdonald, and it appears that was the case. While the Seahawks were impressed with rather a range of candidates, most contributors I talked to agree with one amongst the explanations they moved on from Carroll was his seeming incapacity to alter his defenses to continually compete with those Shanahan and McVay offenses twice a season of their division, as Brady mentioned. Macdonald’s Ravens stifled Shanahan’s 49ers (to not point out the Seahawks) this season.

Seattle, which had the oldest coach within the league in Carroll, determined to drag onerous the rather a range of arrive and hire a promising young chief in Macdonald. He appears universally effectively-regarded round the NFL for the complexity, creativity and effectiveness of his defensive schemes.

As one front place of job member suggested me, “Build not put out of your mind, that was his protection that obtained Michigan the national title this year.” (Macdonald was Michigan’s defensive coordinator in 2021 and led the installation of the diagram that the Wolverines now use.) Ravens gamers talked in most in vogue weeks about how powerful he cares, and Macdonald appears to be the more or less coach who gets the appropriate out of every particular person participant. Here’s a hire that’s going to win rather a range of reward from many different corners of the league.

Which defensive prospect usually is a fit for Macdonald within the center of Round 1?

Miller: I love the fit for Texas defensive style out Byron Murphy II at No. 16 overall. Macdonald goes to Seattle unusual off molding Ravens interior drag-rusher Madubuike into one amongst the appropriate defensive tackles within the league. And while the Seahawks hold lockdown talents within the secondary and honest formative years at defensive stop, they don’t hold an interior playmaker. Murphy has excellent quickness and energy, and he has trip taking half in on and interior of the style out in faculty.

A top-20 participant on my board, Murphy — who had 5 sacks in 2023 — offers MacDonald his unusual model of Madubuike. Finally, that’s my pro participant comp for the 6-foot-1, 308-pound standout. It’s a long way a out of the ordinary pairing in Seattle.

How would you grade this hire?

Tannenbaum: A. Macdonald is modern, poised and insightful beyond his years, and we hold seen his defensive diagram work effectively both within the NFL and college. I seek for limitless upside right here for Seattle.

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