In Profile: Seahawks' Gus Bradley and Dan Quinn
In 2008, the Seattle Seahawks ranked 28th in yards per-game, 25th in points conceded, and 29th in passing yards per-game.
That's just not going to cut it on Jim Mora’s watch.
He'll need some help though—step forward two key additions to the team’s coaching staff.
"J.L., listen to me. I have got a guy here in Tampa that is one of, if not, the finest football coaches I have ever worked with. He's an A-plus. He's a once-in-a-lifetime coach. You need to talk to him."
Shortly after this conversation, Jim Mora appointed Casey Bradley as defensive coordinator.
Bradley stands to be Mora’s wingman.
He may not call plays and may be watching from a booth upstairs, but his impact on the training field and ability to suggest the right adjustment at the key moment could be just as important.
The guy nicknamed "Gus" has certainly earned his stripes.
After a four year career as a safety and punter at North Dakota State, he rejoined the team in 1990 as a graduate assistant coach.
A short stint at Fort Lewis was followed by a return to NDSU, where he combined defensive coordinator duties with a role as assistant head coach.
In his final season, the Bison led the Great West Conference in scoring, pass, and total defense whilst registering the greatest turnover margin. It was enough to catch the attention of Tampa Bay and after fifteen years learning his trade, Bradley was in the NFL.
There's plenty of method involved in Seattle’s appointment.
Bradley is well schooled in the Cover-2 and Tampa-2 systems, as you’d expect from anyone that has worked closely with Mote Kiffin.
One of his tasks will be to ensure the system becomes an art form, much in the way Kiffin molded his Buccaneers defense.
In Cover-2, the safeties split the deep half of the field whilst linebackers take the short zone. Tampa-2 is the same, except Lofa Tatupu as the Mike drops into a deep zone to take some pressure off the safeties.
Of course being a coverage scheme, it doesn’t affect the defensive line. One other coaching appointment however, most certainly will.
Step forward Dan Quinn - newly appointed defensive line coach and assistant head coach.
Quinn started his career guiding the defensive line at Hofstra between 1996 and 2000. His first advances into the NFL saw a move to San Francisco where he first worked alongside Jim Mora.
He spent the last two seasons with the Jets and was credited with the rejuvenation of Kris Jenkins’ career after his move from Carolina.
He'll no doubt be looking forward to working with Cory Redding—a lineman in a similar juxtaposition to Jenkins previously.
The Jets ranked seventh in the league for sacks (41 total) and seventh in run defense in 2008 under Quinn's tutelage.
In Mora's new scheme, a greater reliance is to be placed on pressure from the front, freeing the linebackers up to make plays.
Quinn could be one of Seattle’s most inspired moves during the offseason.
"A lot of people would say that I coach with a lot of energy. I'm assertive and aggressive."
The unit struggled badly in 2008 when it lost Patrick Kerney after just seven games. Quinn will not just oversee the important task of getting greater production in general, but also developing young players like Lawrence Jackson and Darryl Tapp.
Quinn could also have a positive effect on Brandon Mebane, who looks set for a break out year in 2009 having moved to the three technique now that the Seahawks own 330lbs Colin Cole.
Mora's defense will no doubt have a different look to it next season. If it proves successful, the additions of Bradley and Quinn are likely to be part of the catalyst.
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