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.”