“Slow and steady wins the race” apparently, as the Seattle Seahawks are starting to narrow down their potential Pete Carroll replacements at what feels like a snail’s pace. They are in the process of working through their second interviews, and one of the guys who has made it to the second round of interviews is Ejiro Evero.
Evero was most recently seen valiantly leading the Carolina Panthers defense to a respectable performance, despite the 2023 season being a disaster for the team at large. Many of us have been hoping for/suggesting that the team look towards an offensive-minded coach, so clearly Evero is not the ideal candidate in that regard, but this piece isn’t meant to be a comparison to the other candidates so much as it is a brief look at what Evero has been able to do in his time in the NFL. Before we jump into all that, though, here is a brief preamble by Brandon Gustafson of Seattle Sports on why Evero carries a high level of respect throughout the league. Gustafson quoted Panthers reporter Anish Shroff in the article as saying the following:
“Just in person, very impressive. When you meet with him, when you speak with him, he has the aura, has the presence of a head coach,” Shroff said, later saying, “He’s somebody who’s highly regarded in NFL circles.”
Shroff did provide some further clarity on his relationship with his players and scheme, saying the following.
“The players that I talked to speak very highly of them. All of them are for Ejiro coming back and keeping this defensive coaching staff intact to run back the same defense last year. He was able to extract, I thought, some pretty good production against what was essentially scrap metal talent at times,” he said. “… Somehow he was able to keep that together. And again, they were a functional defense for most of the season. If you asked me is he a scheme guy, he’s got his scheme. It’s a 3-4 defense and they play a lot of strong nickel. But I think the leadership component resonated in the locker room, and that’s real.”
So from the sounds of it, Ejiro gives off the vibe of a head coach. He has the respect of the guys who played for him, and he has a track record of success on the defensive side of the ball. That, and he runs a 3-4 scheme. But his journey to reach this point didn’t happen overnight, as he has been consistently in the NFL since 2011.
After some early work with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and some time at the University of Redlands, Evero broke into the NFL as a member of Jim Harbaugh’s staff with the San Francisco 49ers, starting in 2011. He held a few different assistant positions with the Niners — including as an offensive assistant at one point. Obviously, there was a lot going on in the Bay Area in the early 2010s, so I view this time period as being a great development experience, but he clearly wasn’t the “mastermind” behind that defense. In fact, it would take quite a few years before he reached the level of “coordinator,” even.
He spent 2016 as the Defensive quality control coach with the Packers during the season that brought them to the precipice of another Super Bowl appearance, and was picked up by the Rams the following season, where he would remain until 2022. During this time, he primarily coached the safeties, although he did spend 2021 as the Secondary coach and passing game coordinator. Similar to the 49ers situation, the Rams assembled a talented roster and coaching staff and combined them with Aaron Donald to create one of the defenses that nobody wanted to face. In this situation, however, the stakes were clearly a lot higher than they had been as an assistant with the Niners. His final year with the team was their Super Bowl winning season in 2021. This led to his elevation to Defensive coordinator with the Denver Broncos. While the team offered him the interim position following the dismissal of Nathaniel Hackett, Evero declined and parted ways with the team at the end of the season to take on the same role, but with the Carolina Panthers. What a ride.
Something that stands out on first glance is the fact that his two most recent teams have been terrible. However, the side of the ball that he had control over actually performed quite admirable in both Denver and Carolina. Factor in his experience in winning programs with solid coaching, and I would argue that he is tentatively ready for the next step. Granted, the step from ‘Coordinator’ to ‘Head Coach’ is significant, and not guaranteed to be successful. But so is the step from ‘assistant’ to ‘coordinator’ and he seems to have handled that well. He is receiving HC interest from multiple teams, currently, so his name may be off the radar before too long if the Hawks hesitate. That being said, he is expected to be in for a second interview very soon...
The Seahawks have Giants OC Mike Kafka in for a second interview today, source said. The second round of interviews started yesterday with Raiders DC Patrick Graham.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 24, 2024
Cowboys DC Dan Quinn goes tomorrow, Rams DC Raheem Morris is on Friday, and Panthers DC Ejiro Evero is Saturday.