As reported on Monday night, the Seattle Seahawks are parting ways with running backs coach Sherman Smith and assistant linebackers coach Lofa Tatupu, both former players for the Seahawks. Smith will be replaced by Chad Morton, who was the assistant running backs and special teams coach, while it is unclear if the team will hire anyone to fill the void by Tatupu or the new vacancy created by promoting Morton.
That makes three assistants who will not be returning in 2017, including longtime Pete Carroll disciple Rocky Seto, who decided to walk away from football earlier this year.
Smith had been with the team since Carroll’s first season in 2010, helping orchestrate Marshawn Lynch’s (should-be) Hall of Fame career, but the run game fell apart in 2017 following the retirement of Lynch and the injuries to Thomas Rawls and Russell Wilson. Surely the disappointing career of Christine Michael weighs on the Seattle staff as well, since he had a lot of potential that resulted in very little over the course of his three-plus years with the team. Smith played with the Seahawks from their inaugural 1976 season up until 1982.
Tatupu played under Carroll at USC and then with Seattle from 2005 to 2010 before injuries wiped out a very promising career. He joined the Seahawks coaching staff in 2015 but apparently is going to be looking for work outside of football following this move.
Finally, there’s Morton, who has been with the team since 2014. Morton was primarily a kickoff return specialist over a seven-year career with the Saints, Jets, Redskins, and Giants before retiring in 2007. He has a connection to John Schneider, having began his coaching career in 2009 with the Packers.
Whether or not these move make a noticeable difference next year, who knows. I’m sure some of you are noticing that the assistants you really wanted fired, are still around.