The door barely shut on his first year as coach of the Seattle Seahawks, Pete Carroll has already swung the door wide open on 2011, making sweeping changes in anticipation of next season.
The first major move came Tuesday, with the team confirming Jeremy Bates had been fired as offensive coordinator.
The team also announced several other coaching moves, including the addition of former Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable as assistant head coach/offensive line coach, Todd Wash as the defensive line coach, and promotions for assistant secondary coach Kris Richard (now the secondary coach) and quality control coach Rocky Seto (now the assistant secondary coach).
Cable, 46, served as the Raiders’ coach from 2008 until earlier this month, but mostly cut his teeth in college and the pros as a no-nonsense offensive line coach. He is a disciple of Alex Gibbs and the zone blocking scheme. Gibbs abruptly retired as Seattle’s offensive line coach just before the regular season started.
A Snohomish native, Cable found a soft landing by securing a gig in his backyard after being fired by the Raiders at the end of the season.
Wash served as Tampa Bay’s defensive line coach for the past three seasons, worked with current defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in Tampa and played college ball with him at North Dakota State.
The team did not announce whether current offensive line coach Art Valero or assistant line coach Pat Ruel will be retained.
Bates lasted one season with Seattle. He was one of seven coaches Carroll brought with him from USC.
The introverted Bates was considered an innovative offensive mind groomed under gurus Mike Shanahan and Jon Gruden. But working with a deficiency of talented personnel on offense, the Seahawks finished near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories, including total yards (28th overall), scoring (23rd), rushing offense (31st), passing offense (19th overall) and third-down conversions (22).
But those ugly numbers only partially paved the way for Bates’ departure. A patchwork offensive line that was dinged up most of the season – with 10 different starting combinations during the regular season – inconsistent quarterback play by Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst, and a green receiving group still finding its way in the league didn’t help.
A more likely scenario for Bates moving on is his gruff personality not jibing with the culture Carroll wants to create in Seattle. Carroll is looking for a fresh perspective and a coach more willing to champion his offensive philosophy of balance and a physical run game.
Bates now makes it five assistants who started the season on Carroll’s staff no longer with the team. Others include Gibbs (retirement), defensive line coach Dan Quinn (Florida defensive coordinator), secondary coach Jerry Gray (secondary and assistant head coach at Texas) and quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch (offensive coordinator at Miami).
Former Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels reportedly was a potential candidate to replace Bates but accepted the same position with St. Louis on Tuesday.
Current Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Baltimore Ravens quarterback coach Jim Zorn are considered potential candidates for the position.
Bevell reportedly interviewed for the quarterbacks coach position, left vacant when Fisch left for Miami.
Bevell served as an offensive coordinator with the Vikings since 2006, and before that worked as the quarterbacks coach in Green Bay, so Seattle general manager John Schneider knows him well.
Zorn was head coach in Washington, with current Seahawks running back coach Sherman Smith as his offensive coordinator.
The former Seahawks quarterback knows Hasselbeck well from his time as Seattle’s quarterback coach during the Mike Holmgren era from 2001 to 2007, and his candidacy could be a sign Seattle remains interested in re-signing the veteran quarterback.
Fisch apparently remains in the mix as well, as reports have Carroll reaching out to him as a possible candidate for the offensive coordinator position.
Carroll will meet with reporters for an end-of-the-season press conference this morning, and Seattle will hire its fourth offensive coordinator in as many years soon.
Seattle practice squad receivers Dominique Ellison and Patrick Williams signed 2011 future contracts with the Seahawks.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 Eric.firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks