Seattle’s first head coaching search since 2010 has seen a number of first interviews take place, and more are coming. A list of candidates set to receive a second look has emerged as well, however.
Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports Seattle is arranging second interviews with five head coaching candidates: Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Raiders DC Patrick Graham, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Rams DC Raheem Morris and Cowboys DC Dan Quinn. Pelissero adds, though, that the list is likely to grow in time.
Each of those staffers has met with the Seahawks once already. The latter in particular was immediately floated as a top option to replace Pete Carroll given his ties to the organization. Quinn served as Seattle’s defensive coordinator from 2013-14, having also spent a pair of seasons there (2009-10) as the team’s defensive line coach. He has enjoyed regular season success during his time with the Cowboys, and Dallas’ postseason letdown has not taken him out of serious consideration for at least the Seahawks’ gig.
Evero, Graham and Morris join Quinn in having a background on the defensive side of the ball. Evero, like many other staffers on the Panthers, entered the 2023 season with notable expectations given his success with the Broncos. While Carolina struggled mightily on offense, Evero’s unit held up well in certain categories and finished fourth in total defense. He has drawn interest from a number of teams as a result, including the Panthers.
Morris, like Quinn, has NFL head coaching experience. The former took over after the latter was fired by the Falcons, and he also spent three seasons in charge of the Buccaneers. Morris has rebuilt his stock to an extent during his run with the Rams’ defense. He has been connected to four openings other than Seattle’s so far.
Graham’s NFL coaching career dates back to 2009, and he has worked as a DC with the Dolphins, Giants and Raiders. Las Vegas experienced a dramatic defensive turnaround after Antonio Pierce was promoted to interim head coach, and with him now having been given the position on a full-time basis, Graham could very well be on the way out. The 44-year-old held the title of assistant head coach during his time in New York, but he has never led a staff at the college or NFL levels.
As the only staffer with a background on the offensive side of the ball, Kafka’s inclusion on the list is notable. He was reported to be in danger of losing his position during the 2023 season, one in which little went according to plan for the Giants. Kafka has survived, however, and he will remain in New York for 2024 unless his second straight year receiving HC interest lands him an opportunity elsewhere.
Today’s news does not include a first interview being arranged with former Titans head coach Mike Vrabel. That is signficant given the connections made between he and the Seahawks in recent days. Vrabel has interviewed with the Falcons and Chargers, so the Seahawks could have competition for his services if they decide to meet with him. In-person interviews with coaches currently on NFL staffs cannot take place until after the divisional round is completed. Given that rule, and the volume of staffers reciving an extended look, Seattle’s search will likely continue for some time.