Both coordinators for the Seahawks, Gus Bradley and Darrell Bevell, have been cashing in on the team's success the last few weeks by interviewing for multiple head coaching vacancies across the league. But while it appears likely that Bevell will stay on for the 2013 season, earlier today it was announced that Bradley has been hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars to be their new head coach.
Given the mess he's inherited, Bradley's got his work cut out for him (Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne are the top two QBs on his roster, for starters), but of more interest to us is how this move will affect the Seahawks. Bradley has been the team's DC since 2009, and the defense has made steady improvements during that time. It's hard to argue that Bradley wasn't responsible for some of that success, but I think a much bigger factor in that improvement was the hiring of Pete Carroll and the installation of his hybrid 4-3 under defensive scheme.
Don't get me wrong, losing Bradley hurts. The players loved him and responded well to his leadership, he meshed well with the rest of the coaching staff (don't be surprised if he ends up hiring away a few assistant coaches to work with him in Jacksonville) , and he knew how to call a game. That said, I think the Seahawks' defense will be just fine without him, in large part because the team announced almost immediately afterward that Dan Quinn will be taking over the DC job.
For those of you who don't pay much attention to position coaches, Dan Quinn was the defensive line coach for the Seahawks from 2009 to 2010, after which he left to become the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida. Among other things, Quinn was one of just two members of Jim Mora's staff to be retained by Carroll (Bradley being the other), and he was also the guy who came up with the idea of moving Red Bryant from DT to DE, where he has become a dominating run defender. He was also at the top of my short list of coaches I'd want to become Seattle's DC if Bradley left, but I suppose that probably doesn't count for as much as I'd like it to.
Headed into 2013, the Seahawks desperately need to bolster their pass rush, and if there's one thing Quinn knows it's how to coach pass rushers. He worked with Andre Carter in San Francisco ('01 – '04), Jason Taylor in Miami ('05 & '06, the year Taylor won NFL Defensive MVP), and Shaun Ellis in New York ('07 & '08). This is a fantastic hire; if the Seahawks' defense continues to dominate in 2013, it'll be due in no small part to Carroll sweet-talking Quinn into moving back to the Pacific Northwest.