Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright “relieved” by Ken Norton Jr.’s return to coaching staff

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The Seahawks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011. After a disappointing 9-7 campaign that had Seattle outside the postseason for just the second time in Pete Carroll’s eight years as head coach, the team made substantive changes to their coaching staff in the last two weeks.

The two highest ranked assistants on each side of the ball have been let go. Coordinators Darrell Bevell and Kris Richard, offensive line coach Tom Cable and linebackers coach Michael Barrow have all been relieved of their duties. In addition to their positional duties, Cable and Barrow each carried the title of assistant head coach as well. Brian Schottenheimer was hired as offensive coordinator, Mike Solari as the new offensive line coach and Ken Norton Jr. was brought back to become defensive coordinator.

The magnitude of the moves have not been lost on the players.

Linebacker K.J. Wright discussed the changes to the defensive coaching staff in an interview on 950 KJR in Seattle.

“It’s all up to the management, to coach Carroll,” Wright said. “I believe that they want to do what’s best for the team and if that’s what they thought that we needed to get done then that’s just what it is. They thought that a change needed to be made. We got a guy in that’s very familiar with coach Carroll, very familiar with the system who’s going to be really good, I believe, and I’m excited for this new opportunity that we have as a defense.”

Norton has spent 11 years coaching with Carroll at USC and with the Seahawks. When Richard was promoted to defensive coordinator after Dan Quinn’s departure following the 2014 season, Norton left to become defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders. Wright said he’s excited to see Norton back in the building.

“When it did happen I was wondering, like, who is out there that knows how we play, knows how we operate, knows the system like that,” he said. “And when they told us coach Norton, I was very relieved, very happy because he played 13 years in the league, he coached at USC with coach Carroll and in the NFL, won a Super Bowl with us, so he’s going to be just fine. He’s the type of guy that can not only impact the defense but impact the entire team. He’s just that great of a guy, that influential. So when he gets in here, I think you’ll see a big turnaround with our team.”

And at the end of the day, Carroll is the coach with the biggest influence over what happens on the defensive side of the ball.

“He’s definitely going to be the overseer because he’s the head coach and he’s definitely the defensive mind. Even when we had Gus (Bradley) here, DQ (Dan Quinn), he even put his thing onto Gus and Gus had to adjust to what coach Carroll wanted so it’s going to be the same thing,” Wright said. “It doesn’t matter who came in, they would have to do what coach Carroll wanted. This system has worked for us. It’s really good and a lot of teams over the league have stolen it and made it work for them. And so it doesn’t matter who comes in, coach Carroll is really the mastermind behind it all.”

18 responses to “Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright “relieved” by Ken Norton Jr.’s return to coaching staff

  1. When Kris Richard became Defensive Coordinator I think everyone figured out that it didn’t matter who was DC for the Seahawks that Carroll was basically calling the shots. I like the hire of KNJ. Heard he was pretty instrumental in the development of a lot of players on Defense not just the linebacking corps. It makes me laugh all the Raider fans are trying to tell us how crappy of a coordinator he is and all that….Jack Del Rio felt the heat of losing his job this year so he fired the DC to make it look like he was in control and he knew the problem; however, it wasn’t KNJ. Raiders D still sucked and Del Rio still lost his job. KNJ knows the system, players, and expectations here and won’t disappoint.

  2. “fballguy says:
    January 18, 2018 at 5:18 am
    Well since the Raiders defense has been atrocious under Norton, very happy to see him back with Seattle too.”

    There is a big difference. Raiders D will still be bad.

    The timeline says it all. Jack Del Rio knew he was going down in flames, he fired KNJ to make it look like he was doing something. KNJ was clearly the scapegoat.

    Raider’s loss, Seattle’s gain.

  3. BelgiumHawk says:

    January 18, 2018 at 3:18 am

    When Kris Richard became Defensive Coordinator I think everyone figured out that it didn’t matter who was DC for the Seahawks that Carroll was basically calling the shots. I like the hire of KNJ. Heard he was pretty instrumental in the development of a lot of players on Defense not just the linebacking corps. It makes me laugh all the Raider fans are trying to tell us how crappy of a coordinator he is and all that….Jack Del Rio felt the heat of losing his job this year so he fired the DC to make it look like he was in control and he knew the problem; however, it wasn’t KNJ. Raiders D still sucked and Del Rio still lost his job. KNJ knows the system, players, and expectations here and won’t disappoint
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Dude, get real. with Norton calling shots, our players were CONSTANTLY out of position. always looked lost and had one of the worst D’s in the league. we did not even have an interception until week 11!! the moment he got fired our Defense improved DRASTICALLY. KNJ can motivate players and get them fired up, but he CANNOT gameplan a defense. SEA better hope Carrol is calling the D plays, if not, they are SCREWWWEEED lol.

  4. KNJ should stick to coaching LBs. He simply cannot scheme and NEVER makes halftime adjustments – significantly out-coached on a regular basis.

    I don’t care where he goes – as long as he’s no longer on the Raiders! Good luck Seatle, enjoy being in the bottom end of all defensive stats – you are in for a loooooong season next year…

  5. LOL. KJ Wright is just trying to put lipstick on a pig… Ken Norton Jr is a horrible hire, his defenses have always been absolutely terrible, his defenses in Oakland were straight up trash despite all the talent he had to work with in OAK these last two years. With all the talent SEA is going to lose defensively this off-season Norton likely had more talent in OAK than what he will have in SEA with the Hawks set to start rebuilding w/ Kam, Avril, Bennett & Sherman not coming back, as well as Sheldon Richardson who is a free agent they definitely cannot afford, Shead will be gone and likely so will SS B. McDougald (though they might retain him as he is so cheap). And it’s going to take some time to replace those guys as SEA has no cap space, they owe Kam money and won’t gain much releasing Bennett and Avril, Sherman saves $8M but being they have so little projected cap space that doesn’t help much & they also have no draft picks missing their 2nd, 3rd and 7th round picks having traded them all away. This defense is going to be worse next season, a lot worse w/ a non-existent pass rush. Norton is a terrible DC who is in over his head calling plays .

  6. Dude, get real. with Norton calling shots, our players were CONSTANTLY out of position. always looked lost and had one of the worst D’s in the league. we did not even have an interception until week 11!! the moment he got fired our Defense improved DRASTICALLY. KNJ can motivate players and get them fired up, but he CANNOT gameplan a defense. SEA better hope Carrol is calling the D plays, if not, they are SCREWWWEEED lol.
    _______________________________________________________

    You’re exactly right dude. Under Norton , the Raiders defense was the worst in the NFL in several categories including yards and were like 31st in points, he gets fired and the Defense INSTANTLY IMPROVES and they finish the season ranked 22nd after ranking as the worst under KNJ, that tells you everything you need to know about KNJ. With SEA set to lose so many players defensively their defense is going to be horrible next season, and with Avril/Bennett not coming back as well as Sheldon Richardson as they cannot afford him and he will go elsewhere in free agency, they will have ZERO pass rush up front. Norton is horrible, just like all the other hires SEA just made hiring Brian freaking Schottenheimer to “improve” their offense (which isnt happen under Schotty), SEA’s homer fanbase just cant admit it. When they finish 6-10 next season reality will quickly force them to accept it.

  7. Josh McDaniel did so well going from NE to Denver too huh. Then he scurried back and once again looks like a head coaching candidate once again. Raider fans aren’t seeing the big picture. When you got nothing to make the cookies, the cookies aren’t good.

  8. hawkkiller: “Hawks set to start rebuilding w/ Kam, Avril, Bennett & Sherman not coming back, as well as Sheldon Richardson who is a free agent they definitely cannot afford, Shead will be gone and likely so will SS B. McDougald” .

    Wow , glad you have our roster all figured out for us dude .

    1) Avril has already said he’s coming back to play again next season and he’s under contract.
    2) Bennett , also under contract for next year and hasn’t been told he’s going anywhere yet . They may possibly have to rework his contract and use him as a situational pass rusher , but the man’s on the wrong side of 30 and has been dealing with plantar faciiatis . Not sure his market value is all that high , and a lot of teams wouldn’t put up with his social activism .
    3) Sheldon Richardson cost the team Jermaine Kearse and a 2nd round pick . He will be resigned , and both Carroll and Schneider have said that’s a priority .
    4) Richard Sherman , also under contract and coming off a torn Achilles . I could see a scenario where they possibly try and trade him to get some cap relief , but again , he probably stays one more year .

    McDougald I’d love to see us keep , but he may be too expensive . He played well and is still relatively young , so I would expect a decent market for his services . Tragically , Kam is probably done playing football , but we drafted 2 young safeties last year that saw very little playing time last season , so it’s hard to say what see have there .

    With one of the WORST kickers in football and virtually no offensive line to speak of , we were 2 missed field goals away from 11-5 last year . Hardly call that “rebuilding” .

  9. There is little difference between 9-7 and 7-9. Seattle is going to finish 7-9 next season, if they are lucky, because in all likelihood, they will not have Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman and Kam Chandler to start the season and they may not have all 3 for the entire season. It is difficult to see how they can improve, with so little salary cap space and also very few draft picks.

  10. Raider fans, news flash for you, your defense sucks! Outside of Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack you guy don’t have any solid players. Hence why you didn’t get a pick till week 11 which is down right sad. Coaches can coach players up until their eyes and mouths bleed but the players at the end of the day have to play. Our defense will be a top 5 defense again next year.

    hawkkiller: “Hawks set to start rebuilding w/ Kam, Avril, Bennett & Sherman not coming back, as well as Sheldon Richardson who is a free agent they definitely cannot afford, Shead will be gone and likely so will SS B. McDougald” .
    ——————————-
    I’m glad your so invested into our roster. Keep thinking all those moves will happen. I’ll give you Kam and Avril because even if they do get back healthy who knows they want to risk playing again (even though Avril briefly said he wanted to prove to himself he can play still, minds change). I’ll also give you Bennett, because I want him gone. He’s becoming quite brittle and not very effective. But Shead, Richardson, and McDougald all have earned that corps spot on the roster. And Pete will do anything to keep those guys.

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