SEATTLE – The Seahawks were without a defensive coordinator for only a matter of hours Thursday morning.
The Jacksonville Jaguars announced early in the day that Gus Bradley, Seattle’s defensive coordinator for the past four seasons, had been hired as the Jags’ new head coach. Later in the morning, the Seahawks named Dan Quinn their defensive coordinator.
Bradley’s name had been linked with several vacancies since seven head coaches were fired the day after the regular season ended, so his departure was hardly a surprise. He interviewed twice with Philadelphia and was believed to be the front-runner for the Eagles job before Oregon’s Chip Kelly came back into the picture. So it’s likely Pete Carroll had been working on contingency plans, which explains the quick hire of Quinn, who worked for Carroll as Seattle’s defensive line coach in 2010.
Quinn, who spent the past two seasons as the University of Florida’s defensive coordinator, came to Seattle as the defensive line coach in 2009, and was a candidate for the defensive coordinator job at the time before Jim Mora ended up hiring Bradley. He was retained by Carroll along with Bradley in 2010, then left a year later to take over Florida’s defense.
His familiarity with Seattle’s defense and a number of players should make for a smooth transition. Since Carroll has such a big hand in the defense, it’s unlikely that Quinn will drastically change the way Seattle plays.
“Dan Quinn is an excellent teacher who is familiar with our system and allows us to maintain continuity,” Carroll said in a press release. “Dan did a great job for us in 2010 and I’m pleased to get him back.”
Quinn was a well-respected coach among Seahawks players when he left, and he was largely responsible for one of the moves that helped shape Carroll’s defense, suggesting before the 2010 season that Red Bryant, a little-used defensive tackle at the time, move to defensive end.
For Bradley, the move to Jacksonville continues the 46-year-old’s quick rise through the coaching ranks. As recently as 2005, Bradley was the defensive coordinator at North Dakota State, his alma mater.
In his four years in Seattle, the energetic Bradley helped turn a young defense into one of the best. The Seahawks ended the 2012 season giving up the fewest points in the NFL.
Carroll and players alike agreed losing Bradley would be tough, but also acknowledged that he was a great head coaching candidate.
“It’d be a tough blow to lose Gus,” cornerback Richard Sherman said Monday. “We have other coaches who would step up and run the same things we’ve been running, but he’s a great coach, he’s enthusiastic, he’s energetic, he’s a player’s coach. There aren’t enough verbs and nouns in the dictionary to describe all the great things about Gus Bradley. … He’s great. He deserves everything he’s getting.”
By the time the dust settles, Bradley may not be the Seahawks’ only loss this week. According to multiple reports, Seahawks Vice President of Football Administration John Idzik is the frontrunner to become the general manager of the New York Jets. In Seattle, Idzik was the team’s salary-cap guru and handled contract negotiations.
The Seahawks should, however, retain offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Bevell had interviewed for the Jacksonville opening as well as the one in Arizona, but the Cardinals hired Bruce Arians Thursday evening.