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Broncos DC Ed Donatell Linked to Seahawks Job Opening

We've got to assume that Ed Donatell, the only coordinator not summarily dismissed alongside Vic Fangio, was kept in Denver for a reason.

Denver Broncos GM George Paton is calling the shots on what direction the franchise is going next and his rigorous interview schedule thus far has proven that. Paton’s forensic search for the team's 18th head coach continues this week in North Texas with Dallas Cowboys coordinators Dan Quinn and Kellen Moore — both of whom became available after the team's loss to San Francisco in the Wildcard Round. 

An element of housecleaning has been completed already by Paton but until a new head coach is hired, the exact composition of the 2022 coaching staff remains a mystery. One emerging theory is that Paton might look to maintain some consistency on the defensive side of the ball by keeping on Ed Donatell in his current capacity as defensive coordinator. 

If the GM opts to bring an offensive-minded head coach to run the show, simply having Donatell available to continue to implement Vic Fangio’s effective defensive scheme could be advantageous. The trouble is, if that strategy is to work in practice, the Broncos might have to fight off some interest from the Seattle Seahawks

Seattle is poised to part with its defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr., according to a report by Adam Jude of The Seattle Times.

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Donatell worked previously under Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll during their time together with the New York Jets in the ’90s. When 9NEWS' Mike Klis caught up with Donatell in the immediate aftermath of the Fangio firing, he understandably paid tribute to his former boss. 

But perhaps most tellingly, Donatell expressed the desire to stick around with the Broncos if possible.

“Great respect for Vic. We have 11 years together setting up defenses,” Donatell told Klis on January 9. "[We have a] tremendous background together, countless hours sharing ideas and formulating game plans. Would love to stay and complete this Bronco mission!"

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After 31 years of coaching in the NFL, the 64-year-old Donatell might be more inclined to stick around and work on what has mostly been a successful defense in Denver. If the remit was to begin calling plays, a task that previously fell on Fangio’s shoulders, it could prove attractive to Donatell.

When Fangio left the building, he did so with a declaration that he would be back in the coaching ranks soon enough, but that will likely be as a defensive coordinator somewhere. It stands to reason that if Donatell was to follow his boss of 11 years once again, it would be only as a position coach and likely, his specialty coaching the secondary.

Much will hinge on whether or not Quinn — currently viewed as the favorite to land the job in Denver — interviews well and claims the job. Defensive responsibilities would instantly become Quinn's baby at that moment, and Donatell’s hopes of sticking around as defensive coordinator would likely be dashed. 

But, that could all change if, say, Green Bay's Nathaniel Hackett was to win the job in Denver and wanted a dependable coordinator already intimately familiar with the Broncos' personnel and a defensive scheme that is currently all the rage in the NFL. 

UPDATE: Seattle has officially put in a request to interview Donatell. 

Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.

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