clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dan Quinn may select a defensive coordinator from Seattle staff

Here's a list of potential defensive coordinators from the Seahawks' staff.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Many of you have asked me who I thought the next defensive coordinator might be for our Falcons, while others like Bleacher Report's Scott Carasik have taken stabs at figuring out who it might be. The truth is no one knows, but that doesn't mean we can't try to puzzle the hiring out.

At this point, Dan Quinn's hiring feels inevitable, and his staff is already rounding out with Kyle Shanahan at offensive coordinator and Keith Armstrong being blocked from making a lateral move to the Jets. That makes the defensive coordinator the last outstanding opening, and given that Dan Quinn is a defensive-minded coach himself, you can expect he'll put a lot of care into the hire. It'll also likely be someone he's familiar with, as Dianna Russini reported.

Mike Nolan, Keith Armstrong and a host of others could be on Quinn's radar, but if it's true that he's going to be raiding his own staff for the position, there are a few obvious candidates.

Rocky Seto

The current passing game defensive coordinator for the Seahawks essentially functions as an assistant to Quinn, and he's been with Pete Carroll for a long time now, leaping directly from the University of Southern California to Carroll's Seattle staff. From all accounts, he's a bright guy and he's done a magnificent job of coaching up the secondary, as talented as it is.

Working against Seto are his deep ties to Carroll—he could be in line to assume the defensive coordinator gig in Seattle, which is a pretty nice job—and his specialization with the secondary. He was the defensive coordinator at USC for a time, however, and I don't think that should limit him.

Ken Norton Jr.

The team's linebackers coach for the last five seasons, Norton played in the NFL for 13 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, earning three Pro Bowl selections and two All-Pro picks. He's been coaching in the NFL since 2010, when like Seto he followed Carroll to the NFL. Norton's a respected guy for a lot of reasons, and out of everyone on this list, he'd probably be my choice.

Why? Norton is a logical choice for a team that desperately needs help with linebackers, since he could likely personally tutor or bring aboard effective coaches for what promises to be an inexperienced linebacking corps in Atlanta. His long experience as a player and coach makes me think he'd be an excellent hire, within the narrow bounds of what we know about him, and it's worth noting that he was Pete Carroll's assistant head coach back in 2009.

Marquand Manuel

This one's probably a long shot, but it would be an interesting hire for Quinn. Manuel was a sixth-round pick who played eight seasons in the NFL as a defender and special teamer, starting 57 of his 116 games. He was hired as an assistant special teams coach in Seattle and has worked his way up steadily since then, serving as a defensive assistant and assistant secondary coach for the team over the last couple of years.

We have no way of knowing how good of a coach Manuel is, but as a former player who has only been out of the game about five years, it's safe to assume he could forge connections with players.

Travis Jones

Jones deserved to be in this originally, but I admit I overlooked him based on his short NFL coaching experience. He has forged a tight connection with Quinn, however, and as many of you have pointed out, the candidates above Jones on this list have much longer histories with Pete Carroll than Quinn.

Equally intriguing is that Jones has strong ties to Georgia, having been born in the state. He also hosts an annual football camp in the central part of the state and was hand-selected as the Seahawks' defensive line coach by Quinn after working for the Saints. He's also a UGA graduate.

In other words, mea culpa. Jones could very well be a strong candidate for the defensive coordinator job, and his experience won't necessarily work against him if Quinn trusts him.

Defensive backs coach Kris Richard is another possibility here.

Do you have a preference?