The Seahawks answered the prayers of many fans by firing Ken Norton Jr.
Mike Dugar of The Athletic broke down all of the defense’s key stats during Norton’s tenure (decent vs. the run, terrible vs. the pass) and surmised that Norton and Pete Carroll may not have been aligned on how Seattle should play defense.
Here’s another reason Norton was let go: The Seahawks set a franchise low with 18 takeaways in 2021 (with an extra game, to boot).
So who will replace him? Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times says it looks like Carroll wants to be more aggressive. The known candidates are Denver DC Ed Donatell and Chicago DC Sean Desai (who both have ties to just fired Denver coach Vic Fangio), plus Seattle DL coach Clint Hurtt and Dallas pass defense coordinator Joe Whitt Jr., who worked under former Seattle DC Dan Quinn in Atlanta and Dallas.
A couple of 710 ESPN analysts think Carroll should stay with known guys. Michael Bumpus says that means promoting Hurtt, and Jake Heaps calls Gus Bradley (the Raiders’ DC in 2021) “a clear no-brainer” if he is available.
Dave Wyman of 710 ESPN thinks the guys with DC experience and “fresh eyes” — Donatell and Desai — are the favorites.
Corbin Smith of SI.com said Carroll needs to look outside the team “to bring a fresh perspective to Seattle’s defense moving forward.” He also compared the performance of Norton’s defense to those of Donatell, Desai and Bradley.
Larry Stone of The Seattle Times also thinks Carroll needs to flex with this hire.
Art Thiel of Sports Press Northwest says the new DC will have to be comfortable with Carroll’s oversight and also will need to figure out how to use Jamal Adams.
What does Norton’s firing mean for Bobby Wagner? Dave Wyman of 710 ESPN offers his take.
Condotta looks at how Carroll’s six other coordinator changes (offense or defense) have worked during his Seattle tenure.