While coach Pete Carroll will be back for a 13th season with the Seahawks, there will be a significant shakeup on his coaching staff after a disappointing 7-10 season.
According to Bob Condotta and Adam Jude of the Seattle Times, the Seahawks are expected to part ways with defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and passing game coordinator Andre Curtis. The team has already started the process of searching for replacements and will consider internal and external candidates.
Norton, 55, was in the midst of his second stint in Seattle and had been the team's defensive coordinator since returning in that capacity in 2018. Originally coming from USC where he worked under Carroll, he spent five seasons with the organization as a linebacker coach from 2010 to 2014 before leaving to become defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders in 2015.
Under Norton's direction, while overseeing a unit in the post "Legion of Boom" years, the Seahawks finished 22nd or worse in total yardage allowed in three of his four seasons coordinating the defense, including ranking 26th in 2019 and 28th in 2021. In 2020, at the midway point, they were on pace to break the NFL passing yards allowed record in a single season by over 1,000 yards. At one point last season, his unit became just the fourth team since the NFL/AFL merger to allow over 450 or more yards in four consecutive games.
But as they did during a second half revival in 2020, Norton's group righted the ship. Though they continued to give up yardage in bunches, from Week 6 to Week 18, Seattle ranked eighth in the NFL allowing 20 points per game. Bending but not breaking, the team ranked first in the league allowing just 3.48 yards per carry defending the run and second in goal-to-go efficiency (57.1 percent), helping keep opponents out of the end zone.
Unfortunately, none of Norton's defenses ever finished higher than 11th in scoring defense, including last season. Considering their persistent struggles getting off the field and a regression in turnovers created last season, Carroll must have felt it was time for a change and there may have been pressure resulting from a recent meeting with owner Jody Allen.
As for Curtis, his role in the team's struggles allowing opponents to move freely up and down the field in the passing game led to his ouster. He had been with the Seahawks since 2015 and earned a promotion to defensive backs coach in 2018 when Norton returned as defensive coordinator.
With Norton now out, sources have told the Seahawk Maven that the Seahawks are leaning towards elevating defensive line coach Clint Hurtt to replace him as defensive coordinator. Current Broncos coordinator Ed Donatell, who previously coached under Carroll with the Jets in 1994 and also spent a year at the University of Washington, remains a name to watch. Other candidates could emerge in coming days as a quarter of the NFL's teams hire new head coaches.
If Seattle opts to move forward with Hurtt, who has been on Carroll's staff since arriving in 2017, the move could be a strategic ploy to keep a beloved assistant who has a strong rapport with his players with the organization. The 43-year old assistant recently was linked to the defensive coordinator job at the University of Miami, where he played collegiately and previously served as a defensive line coach.