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Seahawks expected to hire Brian Schottenheimer as offensive coordinator

Indianapolis Colts quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer, left, talks with quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) during a game in December. Schottenheimer is expected to be named the Seattle Seahawks’ new offensive coordinator. (Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)
Indianapolis Colts quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer, left, talks with quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) during a game in December. Schottenheimer is expected to be named the Seattle Seahawks’ new offensive coordinator. (Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

The Seahawks are expected to hire Brian Schottenheimer as their new offensive coordinator to replace Darrell Bevell, who was fired on Tuesday in the wake of a 9-7 season that saw Seattle miss the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

That the Seahawks have decided on Schottenheimer was first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also reported that a contract between Schottenheimer and the Seahawks is “expected to get done.”

The Seahawks did not confirm the hiring Saturday.

But a source told the Times that Schottenheimer — who has nine years of previous experience in the NFL as an offensive coordinator and spent the last two years as the quarterbacks coach of the Indianapolis Colts — had emerged as the leading candidate to replace Bevell and that it is “anticipated” the team will hire him. The Seahawks could wait to make the hire official until contracts are signed.

Rapoport reported Saturday that Seattle head coach Pete Carroll called Schottenheimer — the son of longtime NFL head coach Marty Schottenheimer — and offered him the job after reporting earlier in the day that Schottenheimer and Philadelphia Eagles QBs coach John DeFilippo had emerged as the top two candidates.

There had been some thought that the Seahawks would wait to make a decision until they could talk to DeFilippo. But DeFilippo also remains a target of other teams — he has reportedly interviewed for the Arizona head coaching position and the New York Giants are also thought likely interested in him as an offensive coordinator if Steve Wilks gets a head coaching job there — and it’s unclear how interested DeFilippo would have been in coming to Seattle. And with the Eagles beating the Falcons on Saturday, the Seahawks would not have been able to interview DeFilippo until after the conference championship game next Sunday.

Those factors may have helped hasten Seattle’s decision to offer the job to Schottenheimer, who will now get his third chance to run an NFL offense — he was previously the coordinator for the New York Jets from 2006-11 and the St. Louis Rams from 2012-14.

He also spent a year as the OC at Georgia before returning to the NFL in 2016 with the Colts.

One thought is that the Seahawks liked how Schottenheimer worked this season with Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was sacked a league-high 52 times but also ran for 260 yards. The Seahawks are thought to be looking for some new ways to incorporate Russell Wilson’s mobility into the offense.

Schottenheimer grew up around football as his father, Marty, was an NFL linebacker for six seasons before turning to coaching, compiling a record of 200-126-1 in 21 seasons as an NFL head coach with the Browns, Chiefs, Redskins and Chargers.

Brian Schottenheimer, born Oct. 16, 1973, played quarterback at Florida, where he was the backup to Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel as a senior in 1996. He began his career at Kansas before deciding that his long-term future lay in coaching rather than playing and transferring to Florida where he could learn from then-Gators coach Steve Spurrier.

He entered coaching the next year as an assistant for the Dick Vermeil-coached St. Louis Rams and has been an assistant in the NFL or college ranks ever since. He was tight ends coach at USC for one season, in 2000, the year before Carroll arrived as head coach. He also was quarterbacks coach for Washington when current Seahawks general manager John Schneider was the team’s vice president of player personnel.

He was the quarterbacks coach of the Chargers from 2002-05, working under his father and earning praise for helping guide the development of Drew Brees.

That led to the OC’s job with the Jets in 2006 under Eric Mangini, with Schottenheimer staying on when Mangini was replaced by Rex Ryan in 2009.

The Jets advanced to the AFC Conference title game in 2009 and 2010 with Mark Sanchez as the quarterback and a running game that ranked first in the NFL in 2009 and fourth in 2010 — a background that the Seahawks undoubtedly are drawn to as they attempt to revive their own lagging rushing attack.

Schottenheimer was fired by the Jets following the 2011 season amid a perception that Sanchez had regressed in his third year in the NFL after the Jets went 8-8 and ranked 25th in the NFL in yards but was then quickly hired by the Rams, where he was the OC under Jeff Fisher for the next three seasons.

His St. Louis stint was marred by injuries to quarterback Sam Bradford — who played just seven games in 2013 and then missed all of the 2014 season too — and after the Rams ranked 21st in points scored and 28th in yards in 2014, Schottenheimer left to become the offensive coordinator at Georgia.

Schottenheimer then returned to the NFL as QB coach of the Colts in 2016 under Chuck Pagano. Pagano was fired following the 2017 season.

Asked once what he values in a quarterback, Schottenheimer said: “Toughness. Discipline. Details. And probably passion.”

After working with the likes of Brees, Sanchez, Chad Pennington, Andrew Luck and Brissett, Schottenheimer will now coach Wilson, who led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes this season but also was part of an offense that was held to a combined 285 yards in a two-game stretch in late December that influenced the team’s decision to fire Bevell and offensive line coach Tom Cable.

It is also thought that quarterbacks coach Carl Smith will not be back in the same role and Schottenheimer may have a say in what the Seahawks do to fill those two positions.

At the least, the Seahawks appear to have fully turned the page with their offense after Bevell had run the show for the last seven years along with Cable, who was the run game coordinator.

The Seahawks set records for total yards, rushing yards and passing yards in a season under Bevell but slipped to 15th in the NFL in total offense in 2017. Schottenheimer now appears ready to get his shot.