The Seahawks have hired Saints' assistant defensive line coach Travis Jones as their new DL coach, according to Jason La Canfora and others, replacing a recently departed Todd Wash, who was allowed to take a lateral move to go coach in Jacksonville with Gus Bradley. Jones was not on anyone's radar, from what I can tell, but did coach alongside new defensive Seahawks coordinator Dan Quinn when they were both in Miami with the Dolphins. Jones spent three seasons in Miami as an assistant, his first year as assistant defensive line coach and the subsequent two seasons coaching the outside linebackers and defensive ends.
Jones previously had coaching stints at Georgia from 1997-98, Appalachian State from 1998-2000, Kansas from 2001-02, Louisiana State from 2003-04, the Miami Dolphins from 2005-07, and was most recently with the New Orleans Saints from 2008-2012, including the 2009 Super Bowl Champion team. Jones was Nick Saban's recruiting coordinator and also coached the defensive line for the National Champion LSU Tigers in 2003, so he's had some experience with successful programs, no doubt.
According to his Saints.com bio:
In 2009, DE Will Smith enjoyed his finest season as he ranked fifth in the NFL with 13 sacks, while the trio of Ellis, Anthony Hargrove and Remi Ayodele provided a solid pass rush on the interior of a line that played an important role on the Super Bowl XLIV champions.
In 2010, Jones helped tutor a line that contributed to the defense finishing in the top ten in the NFL in yards per game (fourth) and points per game (seventh). DT Sedrick Ellis broke out with career-highs in tackles (78) and sacks (6). His takedown total led the team and tied for third among NFL defensive tackles.
Former USC All American DT Sedrick Ellis has been a name that's been brought up in connection with the Seahawks this off-season, and the former Pete Carroll player that went 7th overall just might be a target for Seattle in free agency, especially now that his former coach is in Seattle. Ellis is 27 and had a disappointing first-contract with the Saints, but he's one to keep in mind now that Jones is coaching the DL.
Coach Jones played defensive line and was a captain for the Georgia Bulldogs back in the early 90's, and from there went on to play briefly in the CFL and AFL before getting into coaching.
In 2010, Jones changed a not-guilty plea to guilty as part of a plea deal for federal conspiracy charges in connection to a mail fraud scam that netted him $86,000, where he ultimately admitted to authorities that he made false statements on loan applications and other documents in order to get mortgage loans. He served a 30-day NFL suspension and probations/community service. More details on that case can be found here, though the real story is a little murky.
Overall, I'm not too worried about this legal background part of the deal, as it appears to be the only negative on his record - the more important factor now for the Hawks is whether Jones can get a little more production out of the Seahawks' defensive line, cleaning up the run defense and getting better pressure on the quarterback. Jones has coached some very good defensive lines over the years - his LSU line, his Saints line - the Dolphins were 2nd in sacks in 2005, 3rd in 2006, and Jason Taylor was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 under Jones - so at least, that's encouraging. I'd say I'm cautiously optimistic about the hire, and frankly a little new perspective and energy might be what the defensive line needs.