In which I lazily recap the news, because I'm sick.
The week began with rampant speculation that Seattle would sign Rod Marinelli. The discussion took two sides: A rational audit of his time in Detroit, his impact on its defense, a look at his preferred scheme, and a look at his eye for personnel and matching personnel to scheme. And a more proximal take on Marinelli the coach through exposition of Marinelli the man: His grace suffering failure, his ability to motivate and his purported role in Tampa Bay's great turn of the millennium defenses.
Marinelli's time in Detroit was wrought with failure, defensive failure. He traded away or failed to retain the team's best players and railroaded a system into place that shook the Lions to historic lows. Marinelli eventually signed with Chicago as an assistant head coach/defensive line coach.
Seattle signs Casey "Gus" Bradley to defensive coordinator. Bradley and Buccaneers defensive backs coach Raheem Morris share credit, somewhat disproportionately in favor of Morris, for Tampa Bay's recent defensive revival. Each are protégé of legendary defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, each are young and perhaps overvalued for their short and spotless résumés, and each detail their résumé with a late career revival, a prospect developed and a talented free agent attained. Bradley's reads: Derrick Brooks, Barrett Ruud, Cato June.
Bradley is a Tampa 2 adherent from his time at North Dakota State University. His hiring, along with the possible hiring of former Lions defensive coordinator Joe Barry, represents a shift towards Tampa 2 principles in Seattle. The team attempted the trick early in the 2008 season to failtacular results. A complete renovation will require major talent acquisition and, in the case of Kelly Jennings and Lawrence Jackson, talent reposition.
Seattle also signed former Jets defensive line coach Dan Quinn to become current Seahawks defensive line coach Dan Quinn.
It's an inexperienced group and one that offers a little hope and little reason for anything more. When the rubber hits the road this August, we can begin our pissing, moaning and second guessing, but, for now, let's accept what little we know and know that that should inspire optimism not dread.
The other notable hire is offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. I like Knapp's system, it's emphasis on running and his willingness to go for it on fourth. The most interesting part of Knapp's signing is its implications to Seattle's offensive personnel. Knapp is a running machine. Even on losing clubs, Knapp typically runs on over half of all plays. He also runs his offense from tighter, more run oriented sets. A team that's long thrived by spreading the field wide and using short, horizontal patterns to set up the run will now pound the rock to set up the pass. Greg Knapp is a play action machine. Scanning Seattle's personnel, it's three wide receivers too rich, a running back too poor, a quality tight end too poor, and, here I go again, a strong armed quarterback too poor. It's unlikely Knapp will overhaul Seattle's roster in one offseason. It's more likely this coming season Seattle's offense will straddle the line, retain much of Holmgren's playbook while gradually inserting more Knapp devised plays as the season progresses, and it's more likely the classic Holmgren style plays will work while the Knapp devised plays will grind gears and sputter. But while the transition will be discordant at times, it's happening.