Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald has a pretty big pair of Monarchs to fill. Yesterday the team announced that he’s taking the place of former head coach Pete Carroll, who had a successful 14-year run at that position, including two straight trips to the Super Bowl at his peak and one championship ring. While Macdonald has his work cut out for him, the good news is that he’s inherited a pretty solid and relatively young roster that came about five tackles short of making the playoffs this season.
In order to get back to the postseason – and eventually the Super Bowl – Macdonald will have to make the right decisions in several key areas. Here are four of the most-important questions facing Seattle’s new head coach.
Which Seahawks assistants are worth retaining?
Most first-time head coaches have their own ideas about their staff and want to start with a clean slate. However, there are at least a couple of assistants who worked under Pete Carroll that may be worth keeping around. At a minimum Macdonald should consider retaining offensive line coach Andy Dickerson and pass rush specialist Brandon Jordan.
Who will be his offensive coordinator?
With Shane Waldron now in Chicago, the most important hire that Macdonald will make over these next few weeks will be his offensive coordinator. There are rumors that Giants OC Mike Kafka might join him in Seattle, but nothing solid reported as of yet. Who Macdonald picks as his offensive playcaller will say a lot about his plans for the franchise.
Is Geno Smith his guy at quarterback?
After he settles on his OC, Macdonald has to decide what to do at quarterback. Geno Smith is a fringe top-10 performer at his position with a relatively cheap contract. However, he’s now 33 years old and can’t be considered the long-term starter. We believe Smith should continue to be QB1 – at least for the 2024 season. Either way, choosing the right time and the right way to move on from Smith will be one of Macdonald’s most-critical early personnel calls.
How can the defense be upgraded quickest?
It may feel like the Ravens have had a great defense going on 24 years now. The truth is when Macdonald took over as Baltimore’s defensive coordinator it was not a good unit. Before his first year as DC the Ravens ranked No. 28 in DVOA, and it took him just two seasons to bring them up to No. 1. As it happens, Seattle also finished this past year ranked No. 28 in defensive DVOA. Macdonald has to figure out the quickest way to turn things around for a talented but underperforming unit. Our best guess is that most of his changes will be schematic, but bringing over a game-wrecker like Justin Madubuike from Baltimore in free agency certainly wouldn’t hurt.