Limited offensive playbook against Bears, repeated short-yardage failures may have sealed the fate of Seattle’s offensive coordinator.
The Seahawks are changing assistant coaches in the post-season nearly as much as they did players during the season.
After firing offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates in the morning, the team in the afternoon hired ex-Raiders head coach and Snohomish native Tom Cable as assistant head coach/offensive line coach. They also added Todd Wash as defensive line coach and promoted Kris Richard to defensive backs coach/cornerbacks and Rocky Seto to assistant defensive backs coach/safeties.
Cable, 46, had a 17-27 record in two seasons as head coach of the Oakland Raiders. He served as the club’s offensive line coach (2007-08) before being named interim head coach for the final 12 games of 2008.
Cable began his coaching career in 1987 as a graduate assistant at Idaho. He coached in the college ranks for 19 seasons, including four as the head coach at Idaho (2000-03) before entering the NFL in 2006 as offensive line coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Cable played high school football at Snohomish High where he graduated in 1982.
Wash spent the last four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including the last three as defensive line coach. He originally joined Tampa Bay in 2007 as a defensive quality control coach. In 2010, Wash’s defensive line helped the Bucs rank seventh in the NFL in pass defense, and 17th overall.
Richard (ruh-SHARD) spent last season as assistant defensive backs coach after the previous two seasons as a graduate assistant at Southern California. Originally a third-round pick (85th overall) by Seattle, Richard played in 38 games with one start for Seattle from 2002-04 before joining San Francisco, seeing action in one game.
Seto came to Seattle last season where he served as the club’s defensive quality control coach. Seto spent 10 seasons at USC in various capacities, including secondary coach (2006-08), before being named defensive coordinator/secondary coach in 2009.
The tenure of Bates, whose position remains open, came to an end one year after head coach Pete Carroll brought Bates with him from USC to run Seattles offense. Bates at times appeared to be at cross purposes with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. The offense struggled in short yardage and red zone situations. Bates was often criticized by fans for failing to stick to the running game when it didnt work right away.
On the other hand, Bates put together a brilliant pseudo-option game plan for reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst that helped the Seahawks beat the St. Louis Rams in the regular season finale. That win gave the Seahawks the NFC West title at 7-9 and set them on their way to an improbable home win over the New Orleans Saints in the wild-card round.
The division-round playoff game against the Bears in Chicago, however, may have sealed Bates’ fate. Bates has long been a believer in two-tight end sets, and when John Carlson was concussed early in the game, Bates had only one tight end left, backup Cameron Morrah. Hasselbeck said after the game that the offense was limited to about a quarter of its total playsheet without Bates preferred formations.
Before coordinating Carrolls offense at USC, Bates called the plays for the 2008 Denver Broncos under Mike Shanahan. That Broncos team called the most pass plays in franchise history. The team’s leading rusher, Peyton Hillis, had only 343 rushing yards. Before that, Bates worked with the Broncos, New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a quarterbacks coach and offensive assistant.
Based on multiple reports, three candidates were high on the list of candidates to replace him.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported today that the Seahawks have been talking with former New England Patriots offensive coordinator and Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels since Monday. But that may have been a ploy on McDaniels’ part to get a better reaction from the St. Louis Rams, who had been talking with McDaniels about replacing Pat Shurmur. If that was the goal, it worked – the Rams announced Tuesday afternoon that McDaniels will indeed be calling plays for Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson. So if he was ever in the picture, he’s out.
ESPNs John Clayton reported former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator and Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell was due in Tuesday night to speak with the Seahawks. The report came before the Bates news, but given Bevells history with the Packers and current Seahawks general manager John Schneider, the connection is easy to make.
Tim Yotter of Viking Update magazine provided a thumbnail sketch of Bevells abilities in Minnesota, when he had to dance around two rather large egos:
“Bevell very much follows the line of command in the coaching ranks. He moved from being the quarterbacks coach at Green Bay to the offensive coordinator in Minnesota when Brad Childress was hired in 2006. Bevell took his marching orders from Childress, but Childress learned in that first season together that he needed to trust Bevell and allowed him to call the plays. By the end, Childress was making offensive suggestions but Bevell was making the calls during game day. Bevell was a key player in bringing Brett Favre to the Vikings and keeping a manageable working relationship between Favre and Childress as tension grew at times. His interpersonal communication skills make him a good quarterback coach candidate, a guy that can bridge the player-coordinator gaps at times.”
Later in the day, Schefter reported two more names — recent Seahawks quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch, who left the team for college ball to become the new quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the Miami Hurricanes; and former Seahawks quarterback coach (and Seahawks quarterback) Jim Zorn, who was most recently seen working with Joe Flacco on the Baltimore Ravens’ staff and has a long professional relationship with Hasselbeck.
Cable is a disciple of the Alex Gibbs coaching tree (Cable and Gibbs worked together in Atlanta). Gibbs was coaching the Seahawks offensive line before unexpectedly quitting in early September.
Urgency is upon the Seahawks to get a quarterback guru in place because Senior Bowl practices start Monday, where scouts gather to to evaluate the nation’s top senior draft prospects. Carroll will speak to the media at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.