Seahawks' Defensive Line Coach Todd Wash will make a lateral move and join his friend Gus Bradley in Jacksonville, and will hold the same post with his new team. With Bradley's recent departure to take the reins for the Jaguars, it was assumed that Wash might be heading south as well -- Wash, 44, has played and coached alongside Bradley for many years, dating back to their time together as players and coaches at North Dakota State.
After playing outside linebacker in college and a brief try at the NFL, Wash got into coaching and broke into the NFL as a defensive quality control coach with the Buccaneers while Bradley was the team's linebackers coach (I'm assuming Bradley recommended Wash for the entry level position). Many coaches start their careers in quality control, and after cutting his teeth, he was promoted to defensive line coach and held the position in Tampa Bay for three seasons before joining Bradley's staff in Seattle in 2011.
Because it's a lateral move for Wash, the hire had to run through Pete Carroll, who unsurprisingly allowed his DL coach to leave. It's a hallmark of Carroll's program that he will always look to further his coaches' careers even if it means losing them, and if Wash sees this move as an opportunity, Pete wasn't going to stand in the way. Carroll does have a bit of wiggle room though with the defensive line coaching staff though, as he recently re-hired DL-guru Dan Quinn as the Seahawks' new defensive coordinator.
As I wrote when Dan Quinn was hired to replace Bradley, the former Florida DC worked with Pete Carroll closely in 2010 as the DL coach to create this odd-front 4-3 with the Elephant/LEO end, developed by Bill McPherson when Carroll was with the Niners back in '95-96. "We mixed the concepts of one-gap football and two-gap football in a very unique way in San Francisco," Said Carroll, on that process, harkening back to 1995-1996. "And we played great defense."
Carroll tucked many of those concepts away while he was at USC, but with Dan Quinn, he revived them once he returned to the NFL. "We made some scheme adjustments to the style that was here in years past, and really the style that I've been playing in college, and I flipped it all the way back to when I was at San Francisco," Carroll explained, back in 2010. "[That] was the last time we've played this formula of defense."
"Danny Quinn [had] a big role in that because of his crossover to the days when he was at San Francisco. We were both affected by a guy there - Bill McPherson, a coach that was there for us. And Mac taught us some stuff. Now we brought the expertise to at least be able to explore it." Carroll, working with Quinn, found that moving Red Bryant to defensive end was a better fit, and also helped him to identify Chris Clemons as a target for their LEO position. Both of these moves helped the Seahawks to achieve some of the things they wanted to, modeled after that old San Francisco defense.
"To me, that was the ultimate package," Carroll said prior to this season, of the 49ers defense back in 1995-1996, "and we've been able to get back to it now. It's taken us three years, really, to get to the point where we can incorporate the ideas. So, we're doing all of the things that we liked there. I thought [that San Francisco defense] was the most comprehensive package of defense that I've been around. I was not able to do that at SC. I was the defensive coordinator and putting the whole thing together at SC, but our guys just couldn't handle it. It was just too much stuff, and it was too much for the coaches. So we did variations of stuff. It worked out great, but in college, we weren't capable of doing all of that. Guys couldn't learn and couldn't teach it the way we needed to."
The NFL, of course, is different, and though the Seahawks had a great year defensively, there are obviously weak spots, and it's exciting to wonder if Quinn could be a nice addition, help shore up the defensive line issues, create more pass rush, and identify players in the Draft and/or free agency that fit what he wants them to do.
Carroll is, and always will be a defensive backs guru. Linebackers coach Ken Norton obviously knows the position and has done an amazing job finding players that work in this system (Norton was All-Pro in that vaunted '95 49ers defense, under Pete Carroll!!), Tom Cable has improved the function of the offensive line unit, and now hopefully Dan Quinn will work his magic on the DL. That's the hope, anyway, now that Todd Wash departs for Jacksonville.
The search for Wash's replacement starts now - though, in reality it's possible the position has already been filled, or at the very least, the idea has been explored. We will wait to hear.
Two names I've seen Scott Enyeart mention as possible replacements are Florida DL Coach Bryant Young and Miami DL Coach Jethro Franklin. Young obviously worked under Quinn these past few seasons in Florida, and Franklin has a history with both John Schneider and Pete Carroll; he spent time in Green Bay as the Packers DL Coach (2000-2004) and in L.A. with Pete Carroll during two stints at USC as DL Coach. He spent the 2006 season in Tampa Bay under Monte Kiffin as well.