"Out with the old and in with the new."
I guess that is one way to look at it here in Seattle; the only problem is that the old was Mike Holmgren.
As Holmgren flew off into the sunset from Sea-Tac airport, Jim Mora Jr. quickly assumed the position as Seahawks head coach. He's familiar with this level of responsibility, considering he coached the Atlanta Falcons as recently as 2006. He has had proven success at this position, as well, as he led the Falcons to the playoffs multiple times and got a game away from the Super Bowl once.
In his first season with the organization, Mora coached the secondary, which showed immediate improvements. They allowed a league-best 15 passing touchdowns during the 2007 campaign. As head coach, Mora will present a defensive-minded approach to the entire D; it's a new way of thinking for a lot of guys on the roster.
Now, with the skipper in place, here is how the rest of the coaching staff will shape up entering the 2009 season.
Offensive Coordinator Gregg Knapp
Greg Knapp is another new addition to the Seahawks; he takes the place of Gil Haskell. The team hit rock-bottom last year on offense, though it would be difficult to place all of that on the shoulders of Gil.
When Mora spoke with Haskell back in early January, Gil expressed an interest in wanting to call plays after nine seasons as offensive coordinator, but apparently this was not the place for him to do it.
Knapp comes to Seattle after spending the last two seasons with the Oakland Raiders. Prior to that, he spent time as an offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons under Mora. Knapp will refocus the O on the running game, something that his been dominant under his play-calling with previous teams.
Both of his former bosses had great success with Knapp calling plays in the past, so look for that to remain the same in Seattle.
Defensive Coordinator Casey Bradley
The defense took a large step back last season under the guidance of Jim Marshall. So, with the team needing a breath of fresh air, they hired Casey Bradley.
Bradley brings a strong resume with him; he spent the last three seasons with the Buccaneers defense, one of the top units in the league. He coached the last two seasons as the linebackers coach in Tampa.
The majority of his young coaching career took place in the college ranks, at North Dakota State, the school he graduated from. Bradley coached ten seasons with the Bisons.
With the help of Mora, Bradley will revamp the defensive unit, particulary the linebackers. He will relate the great lessons that he learned from Monty Kiffin in Tampa Bay to retool the talented group of Seahawk defenders.
Once the three most important coaching positions were filled earlier this offseason, the rest of the staff fell into place. A total of four coaches were replaced, including both of the coordinators.
Keith Gilbertson was replaced at receivers coach by Robert Prince. The demise of Gilbertson could be due in large part to the lack of receivers last season; six different pass catchers were lost to injuries during 2008.
Prince is another coach that was under Jim Mora during his time in Atlanta. Robert served as an offensive assistant with the Falcons before moving over to Jacksonville to be an assistant receivers coach for two seasons. Barring a plague of injuries to the receivers, he should prosper at this position with the Seahawks.
The final coaching change came on the defensive side of the ball. Dwaine Board was fired as the defensive line coach after serving over five years on the Seattle coaching staff and was replaced by Dan Quinn.
Quinn has six years of experience in the NFL, all as a defensive line coach. The hope is that he will be able to find a consistent rotation with the front four that can provide pressure on the opposing quarterback as well as take up blockers for the linebackers.
Defensive ends should be a priority, as Seattle is loaded with talent at that position but has little to show for it over the last few years. The task will be a large one for Quinn, but the reward could be huge if the defensive line can reach its potential.
Several new faces grace crucial coaching positions for the Seahawks entering 2009. Couple that with a strong offseason in both free agency and the draft, and Seattle should find success this season on both sides of the ball. There will be no excuses for Mora if things go otherwise.