For the first time in 14 years, Pete Carroll will not be chewing gum up and down the sidelines for the Seattle Seahawks on game day. A child in kindergarten at the beginning of his tenure is now attending house parties in college.
That’s a long time.
With Pete, we had a familiarity. He was like a wisecracking grandpa that put our mind at ease knowing that – at the very least – the Seahawks would be competitive.
Now? All bets are off.
Enter Mike Macdonald, the 36-year old defensive wunderkind, as the new head coach of our Seattle Seahawks. Mike is taking the reins and leading the team in his own direction. Things will be different under his watchful eye as was evident in his opening press conference. Mike is not Pete and he made that very clear. Pete was a master of psychology and phrasing. Mike seems more blunt and less coy which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He knows exactly who he is and exudes confidence in his own way.
Mike wants the Seahawks to play hard and be physical, which is music to my ears even if it’s a typical refrain used by new coaches all over the league. It used to be fun watching the Seahawks impose their will on opponents, but those opportunities have been few and far between in the last couple years. Outside of Devon Witherspoon, it has been rough to watch the defense. If Mike can bring that back to Seattle, I’m all in.
Besides a few general philosophies, we don’t know how he’ll approach the myriad of questions facing the Seahawks in the coming months. Macdonald’s staff hasn’t been filled out yet, making it impossible to guess what types of schemes the team may employ.
Even if these were already set in stone, there are other quandaries (or Quandre’s?) that Mike and John Schneider must answer. Each of these could probably serve as their own separate article and maybe I’ll revisit them in more detail throughout the offseason.
What will happen at QB?
Let me preface this with the fact that I think Geno Smith is a good quarterback, probably pushing top-10 in the NFL. He very likely gives Seattle the best chance to compete for the top of the NFC West next season.
As purely a cost-benefit analysis, however, there’s an argument to be made for making a change. Schneider and Macdonald probably reset the clock on expectations, giving them a bit of leeway before their seats get too hot. Would the money saved by going with a cheaper QB afford the opportunity to build up the defense and in turn, take some pressure off of the offense? Could Schneider flip Geno for a draft pick which would afford even more flexibility in the upcoming draft? Will Schneider finally draft a QB and if so, how early?
It’s probably time to start taking swings at landing the future franchise QB.
Does Macdonald think he can “fix” the defense without drastic roster changes?
The Baltimore Ravens defense kicked a lot of asses without many household names. For every Roquan Smith, Patrick Queen, and Kyle Hamilton there was a Geno Stone, Justin Madubuike, and Michael Pierce. Stone and Madubuike, specifically, broke out this season after relatively inauspicious starts to their careers. The pair of 30-somethings Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy both produced 9+ sacks, career highs for each. Macdonald got himself hired in part because of his ability to put players in the best position to succeed.
Does he really need Schneider to re-stock the cupboards or is he licking his chops at the thought of working with Devon Witherspoon, Boye Mafe, Derick Hall, and the other young players already part of the Seahawks defense? Bring back Jordyn Brooks and Leonard Williams and maybe the backbone is already in place for Macdonald to greatly improve the defense – giving Schneider flexibility in both free agency and the draft.
Speaking of that…
What does Seattle do in the first round of the NFL Draft?
This will be the first draft where Schneider has full authority over the picks. The Seahawks need to get tougher in the trenches on each side of the ball and lack playmakers overall on defense. Seattle also is without a second-round pick because of the Leonard Williams trade. Will Schneider move down to try and recoup another Day 2 pick? Does he want to give Macdonald a new toy for the defense?
We’ll get a clearer picture of Seattle’s plans for the Macdonald era as the offseason rolls on with the combine and free agency looming on the horizon. As it stands now, the Seahawks are faced with the most uncertainty in years.
Unlike many scenarios, however, this unpredictability doesn’t need to be viewed in a negative light. After operating mostly at status quo for a decade and half, it’s kind of invigorating to not have a clear idea how this will all go down.
In PCMM we trust?