SEATTLE — Seattle’s new defensive coordinator should look familiar.
And it’s not just because Dan Quinn shaves his head like Gus Bradley and also sports a goatee.
Quinn came to Seattle in 2009 just like Bradley, each hired to Jim Mora’s coaching staff. And Quinn was retained in 2010 when Pete Carroll took over as coach, as was Bradley.
So there was a certain amount of symmetry to Thursday’s news as the Jacksonville Jaguars named Bradley their new head coach and, not even six hours later, the Seahawks announced the hiring of Quinn, who spent the last two years as the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida.
And yes, the process was that seamless.
“Gus did a great job for us the last three years,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said in a statement released by the team. “We are excited for him, his family and their opportunity. He is a fantastic coach and we wish him all the best in Jacksonville.”
Seattle didn’t have a replacement on hand, but it certainly knew where to look, calling on Quinn.
“An excellent teacher who is familiar with our system and allows us to maintain continuity,” Carroll continued in the statement. “Dan did a great job for us in 2010 and I’m pleased to get him back.”
Quinn interviewed for the defensive-coordinator position when Seattle first hired him in 2009. In fact, Mora said he began the process thinking that Quinn would be the defensive coordinator only to have Monte Kiffin — one of the NFL’s defensive gurus — call and recommend that Mora talk to Bradley, then Tampa Bay’s linebackers coach.
Bradley’s interview with Mora lasted more than 12 hours, and at the end of it, Mora was sold on Bradley as the defensive coordinator. He hired Quinn to coach the defensive line and offered the additional title of assistant head coach.
Bradley and Quinn were the only two assistants retained when Carroll took over (though Mike Solari, Seattle’s offensive-line coach under Mora, was offered a chance to stay on as tight-ends coach before heading to San Francisco to be the 49ers offensive-line coach).
Losing a coach of Bradley’s caliber is never good news, and especially not after a season in which the Seahawks set a franchise record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game season.
But in some ways that departure is the price of success. The Jaguars hired Bradley with the hopes he could have a similar impact with a Jacksonville defense that ranked 30th last season in yards allowed.
“I’m happy for him,” cornerback Richard Sherman said of Bradley’s hiring.
John Idzik — the Seahawks’ vice president of football operations — remains a candidate for the Jets’ general-manager position.
Bradley, who is scheduled to be introduced in Jacksonville on Friday, did not return an email message. Quinn will join the Seahawks to scout at the Senior Bowl, beginning Monday in Mobile, Ala., and while he was unavailable for an interview after his hiring was announced, he did appear on 710 ESPN Seattle.
“Very excited to come back,” he said. “I certainly followed the developments of the defense and the team over the past couple of years and couldn’t be more thrilled to get back up there.”
Quinn comes back with the experience of having called Florida’s defense the past two years, and his background coaching the defensive line will certainly help as Seattle makes improving the pass rush a priority for the second consecutive offseason.