According to a Seattle Times report published Monday evening at the conclusion of the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs, the Seattle Seahawks and Ken Norton Jr. will “part ways.”
Norton has been the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator for four years and was previously employed by the Oakland Raiders in the same position for three years.
The report specifically named Clint Hurtt and Ed Donatell as leading candidates on a short list to replace Norton in Seattle. Hurtt is a Seahawks assistant head coach and defensive line coach. Donatell most recently coordinated the Denver Broncos defense from 2019 through 2021.
Passing game coordinator Andre Curtis is also said to be leaving Seattle.
Norton’s defenses were recently known for taking the “bend-but-don’t break” principle to its almost-breaking point. This past season, Seattle allowed 379 yards per game, the second-highest mark in franchise history, but finished 11th in the league in points allowed with 21.5. Last season the Seahawks were 22nd in yards but 15th in scoring.
Confirmation from other sources came in quickly.
I'm told #Seahawks are leaning towards elevating Clint Hurtt to defensive coordinator, but other names will be considered with Ken Norton Jr. out.— Corbin K. Smith (@CorbinSmithNFL) January 18, 2022
Hurtt had been linked to Miami defensive coordinator job at college level, so this may be move to keep him around.
Hurtt’s case will be helped by his unit’s strong performance against the run — the Seahawks were ranked second in the NFL in yards allowed per rushing attempt.
Donatell’s defense in Denver allowed the league’s lowest amount of rushing touchdowns and the fifth-least passing touchdowns.