Aden Durde‘s first offseason featuring DC interviews brought five such connections. Four teams went in other directions with their hires, but it looks like Durde will have a chance to move to the coordinator tier this year.
The Seahawks are preparing to hire the Cowboys’ defensive line coach to be their next DC, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports. Durde also interviewed for the Dallas post, but the team will go with an outside hire in Mike Zimmer, who has an extensive history with the franchise. This will lead Durde to Seattle. Durde and Chiefs D-line coach Joe Cullen were the only known candidates for the role.
A Dan Quinn assistant in Atlanta, Durde followed his boss to Dallas in 2021. Quinn, however, is not believed to have placed Durde atop his list for the DC gig in Washington. That job went to Cowboys DBs coach Joe Whitt. The Cowboys’ decision not to promote from within limited Durde’s options, but the NFL’s final 2024 DC vacancy looks like it will go to the England-born assistant. Regardless of who is going where, the Cowboys are losing Quinn, Whitt and Durde from their staff.
Durde, 44, hails from Middlesex, England; he entered the coaching ranks after a background in NFL Europe as a player during the 2000s. Durde was later involved in the NFL’s International Pathway Program on the coaching side, not joining an NFL staff until his late 30s. His first position coaching gig came in Dallas; three years later, he landed on many teams’ DC radars. The Falcons, Packers and Rams sent out interview requests but went with other options (Jimmy Lake, Jeff Hafley, Chris Shula) at DC.
Three of the five teams to consider Durde sought a play-calling DC, but he is not on track to call plays in Seattle. Mike Macdonald said he would begin his Seahawks tenure by calling plays, though the recently hired HC noted he was open to that changing. But Durde should be expected to begin his Seahawks stay by serving as a non-play-calling coordinator.
Under Durde, the Cowboys rolled out an impressive defensive line. Becoming essentially a full-time D-lineman in 2022, Micah Parsons has ripped off three straight seasons of 13-plus sacks. The 2022 Cowboys finished third in sacks, with 54, as Dorance Armstrong broke through for 8.5. While DeMarcus Lawrence‘s sack production has declined in recent years, Armstrong emerged along with a Dante Fowler bounce-back effort following a disappointing Falcons stint.
In steady decline in the years since the Legion of Boom’s breakup, the Seahawks’ defense is coming off back-to-back 25th-place rankings in points allowed. Seattle’s defense dropped to 30th in yardage last season. Two-year DC Clint Hurtt left to become the Eagles’ D-line coach weeks ago, before it became known Macdonald would take over as head coach. While Macdonald’s offensive coordinator will be the more important hire — due to the play-calling responsibilities that will come with that job — Durde is stepping in as the young HC’s top defensive lieutenant.