Seattle has a line coach but no offensive coordinator. In theory, the power structure should branch from the head coach to the two main coordinators and then to the position coaches, and so this sort of stinks. Not stinks as in it's foul, but stinks as in it stinks like a botched or half-formed plan. When Seattle hired Pete Carroll to be the team's head coach and vice president, there were some murmurs that it knocked some prominent general manager candidates out of the running. I would anticipate the same impact from Seattle hiring Cable. Some coordinators are not likely to be interested in joining a situation in which a supposed subordinate has say over their hiring, instead of vice versa.
The hiring of a line coach isn't small beer, either. An offense is a system. It's not a set of interchangeable parts. If the line coach wants to install a zone blocking scheme, the larger offense needs to mesh with that. No football play is discrete. Each in its way feeds off another play. If the team runs the ball with a zone blocking scheme, play action must first imitate a zone run. That means a shifting pocket and typically a quarterback that can boot. If the run game and pass game can not harmonize, play fakes are ineffective. An offense that can not disguise its intentions is doomed to fail.
Here's some potential candidates with a little explanation:
Philbin is the current offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. He might be a little busy over the next few weeks. When a coach coordinates an offense as successful as Green Bay's has been, the next move is often to head coaching. However Philbin works under Mike McCarthy and McCarthy is recognized as the Packers offensive guru. Philbin might need to succeed independently of McCarthy to become a legitimate head coaching candidate, and a position under a defensive minded coach could do that.
The Packers have one of the most creative and consistently successful offenses in the NFL. McCarthy uses a zone blocking scheme, so there's cohesion. Green Bay is definitely pass-first. This season, that is partly because of the season ending injury suffered by Ryan Grant in week one. Slant: the Packers embraced the pass by necessity. But even with a healthy Grant, McCarthy calls a pass-first offense.The Packers finished 11-5 in 2009, Grant finished with 1,253 yards rushing and 4.4 yards per attempt, and Green Bay still only called run plays in 42% of all snaps. So, it's systemic.
That might be a deal breaker for Carroll and Cable, but it shouldn't be. Imposing a style, or valuing a style over actual results, is foolish.
Much of what I wrote about Philbin and McCarthy can be repeated for Dennison and Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. Dennison has been a successful offensive coordinator, but only as a second fiddle to an offensive-minded head coach. Before serving under Kubiak, he was the Broncos offensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008, and before that promotion, he was the Broncos offensive line coach from 2001 to 2005. That means Dennison offers one of the better chances for continuity.
The Texans system isn't really known for its creativity, but it has been very effective. Over the last three seasons, Houston has finished third, fourth and third in total yards on offense. That hasn't always translated to points, much less winning, but it's hardly an offensive coordinator's job to ensure his team wins. If the offense finishes in the top five in total yards three seasons running, something is working.
Dennison makes sense from a scheme standpoint and from a continuity standpoint, but whether Seattle makes sense for Dennison is another matter. After three seasons of failed offenses, coaching candidates could be wary. I would be. Then again, who wouldn't want to escape this kind of idiotic scrutiny.
If Seattle does find itself desperate, and starts seriously considering options like Chilly and Zorn, maybe it could go young again and roll the dice with an up and comer. LaFleur is a fast rising assistant coach that started with the Texans, first as a wide receiver coach and then in 2009 as a quarterback coach, before taking over as quarterback coach for the Redskins. This Broncos-, Texans-, Redskins-chain might seem a bit much, but this is how the NFL works: Knowing the right people means everything in the NFL and LaFleur knows the right people.
There's not a whole lot to say about The Flower, other than that he's young, fast rising and knows the system.
The Seahawks may be in a bit of a fix. It wouldn't surprise me if they are forced to eventually promote Cable, in much the way the Redskins hired Jim Zorn as offensive coordinator before naming a head coach. It's a backwards process, and one I doubt many aspiring coordinators would accept. But we'll see. Someone will agree to a six-figure salary to think and talk and play and work on football all day. Someone with ties to the Broncos, Texans, Redskins, Raiders or Packers, I presume.