New coaching voices a big part of Seahawks' offseason
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — When Pete Carroll decided to overhaul his coaching staff after last year's flop, it was clear he wanted different voices in the ears of his key players.
Or in the case of the Seahawks defense, a familiar voice coming from a different perspective.
Of all the changes made by the Seahawks since the end of last season, the most significant may end up being the addition of new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, offensive line coach Mike Solari and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. It was a shake-up that may be just what the team needed.
"Players are taking to the challenge of learning and adapting to stuff, coaches are adapting to players — there's a lot going on," Carroll said. "But it's been very energetic, very upbeat, not unlike what it should feel like in our program, but maybe even more so than ever, or at least, in the last few years."
The most significant change is on offense, where for the first time in his career Russell Wilson is getting direction from someone other than former offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell or former quarterbacks coach Carl Smith. Schottenheimer is both of those in one, something Carroll wanted to streamline the process for Wilson and perhaps hold the quarterback accountable in a different way than in the past.
For Schottenheimer, it's a chance to work with a quarterback he watched from the other sideline during his three years working with the Rams.
"I've admired Russell — his playmaking ability, but yet the ability to throw the football and create plays when things break down. That's hard to teach," Schottenheimer said. "It's hard to teach a guy to run around and make people miss and find an open guy in the end zone. That was something that was really exciting for me is to get here and to work with a guy like that, that has done so well thus far. Just try to coach him up on some new fundamentals and techniques and see what he likes."
While Schottenheimer is completely new to Seattle, Norton and Solari have spent time here before. Solari hasn't been around since 2009. But he brings a solid track record as an offensive line coach — a position where the Seahawks need help. While Tom Cable was lauded early in his Seattle tenure, the offensive line became a flash point for frustration and often the reason the Seahawks offense struggled in recent years.
"He's very big on attention to detail, very big on technique," offensive tackle Duane Brown said. "Me, going into my 11th year, I feel like there's some things that I need to sharpen up to continue to play at a high level and he's definitely hammering points down for me. I think he's going to be very great for the younger guys."
Norton's return, taking the place of Kris Richard, was exceedingly popular among at least one position group in Seattle's locker room. Before Norton left to become the defensive coordinator in Oakland, he was the Seahawks linebackers coach. So Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and the rest of Seattle's linebackers group was thrilled to get their former position coach back, but now with even more authority over the defense. Ultimately the defensive system is still based around Carroll's philosophy, but Wagner is itching to see what Norton does.
"We went through a lot those first three years and obviously I paid close attention when he left and we stayed in touch," Wagner said. "When I heard he was coming back I had a lot of joy and a lot of excitement because I felt like we had a little bit of unfinished business. It's good to have him back, it's good to have that mind back because he's helped me more than just a player (but) as a person and I'm excited to grow with him."
NOTES: Carroll said Thursday after Seattle wrapped up its final OTA practice that he expects everyone in attendance at next week's mandatory minicamp. That would include S Earl Thomas, DE Frank Clark and CB Byron Maxwell, who have been absent from the voluntary sessions. ... DE Dion Jordan has not participated in OTAs after having a minor follow up procedure done on his knee, Carroll said. The team hopes he's ready for the start of training camp in late July.
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