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Takeaway: Seattle Seahawks’ Mike Macdonald Joins Brock & Salk

Mike Salk of Seattle Sports admitted it was different Monday morning while interviewing new Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald on Brock & Salk. After all, former Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had joined different iterations of the Seattle Sports morning show most Mondays during the football season for the past decade.

Seahawks’ Macdonald details what attracted him to OC Ryan Grubb

But it’s a new era at Renton’s VMAC, so Macdonald joined the program to discuss a wide range of topics, including how Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh shaped his career, his thoughts on the current roster, what he’s looking for in a quarterback and more.

Let’s look at three takeaways from the conversation.

Macdonald was deeply influenced by the two Harbaugh brothers.

During the Seahawks coaching search, a portion of fans thought it was worth pursuing Jim Harbaugh despite some of his strange antics and the rivalry he had with the Seahawks while coaching the San 49ers Francisco. However, even though Harbaugh ultimately left the University of Michigan after winning the national championship for the Los Angeles Chargers, he was never a candidate for Seahawks general manager John Schneider.

Instead, Schneider hired a coach who formed his philosophy working under both Harbaugh brothers. Macdonald spent one season as Jim Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator at Michigan in 2021, but he also worked under Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh in various roles dating back to 2014, most recently in as defensive coordinator in 2022 and 2023.

“It represents a lot of who I am. It really is,” Macdonald said when asked by Brock Huard if he worked for both coaches. “I mean, that’s my experience for the last 10 years. I was truly shaped by these two organizations. There’s no agenda shifting with these two… They’re as real as it gets, and the players realize that. Their motivation is what is best for the team and for the players. They support their players and are ready to go to war.

“These guys, you know them and they are the ultimate competitors and so I have the same mentality. It’s through the lens of what’s best for the team, what’s best for the players, and we’re going to build it that way rather than just, you know, being stubborn and seeing what Mike McDonald thinks all the time.

Mike Macdonald did not give details on what the Seattle Seahawks roster will look like.

Will the Seahawks undergo a complete rebuild or will they look to add to a roster that was 9-8 last season?

Macdonald didn’t offer many details when asked how he envisioned roster construction with Schneider. But he suggested the Seahawks won’t do a complete overhaul.

“I don’t know if I can answer that question,” he said. “This is something that John and I are working on and I know we will have to make some decisions very soon. I am not sure. I don’t go in with the mentality of “Hey, let’s turn this around.” Were not. I don’t think that’s the mentality. It’s more about an open mind, about what’s best for the team. Obviously John looks after the staff, but we will support the team throughout this process.

The Seahawks could opt out of remaining salary owed on the final two years of quarterback Geno Smith’s three-year, $75 million contract, which includes up to $30 million in additional incentives. But they are either expected to cut Smith by Friday or trade him next month, according to a report from ESPN. The hosts did not directly ask Macdonald about Smith’s future with the organization, but Macdonald acknowledged that he had already spoken with Smith and his replacement Drew Lock and outlined what he wanted to see from his quarterback.

“Quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes,” Macdonald said. “Can you make the people around you better?” And can you bring people together, and will they play for you? In terms of anticipation and precision and playing in time, playing with anticipation, being able to see that, being able to have good vision of the court and see it, those things are obviously incredibly important.

Macdonald will rely on Leslie Frazier

Macdonald has assembled a team full of promising coaches. Offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb has led one of the most exciting passing attacks in college football over the past two seasons for the UW Huskies. Defensive coordinator Aden Durde has earned high marks for his work as the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line coach over the past three seasons.

But neither Grubb nor Durde have experience as a coordinator in the NFL. And Macdonald, 36, is the youngest head coach in the NFL.

That’s why hiring Leslie Frazier as assistant head coach was especially important. Frazier spent the 2017-2022 period as defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills. He also spent four seasons as head coach of the Vikings. And at 64, he has been coaching in the NFL since 1999.

“I have so much respect for him, both for what he knows from a football perspective and also his character,” Macdonald said. “He’s going to be a huge resource for us and (for) me personally as a first-time head coach. He’s kind of lived through the wars and can see around corners.

“He’s been a great help so far, but we’re working on this project as a great partnership between him and I. Really respect Les,” he added. “I’m really happy he decided to join us.”

Listen to Brock and Salk’s full conversation with Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Macdonald in the podcast at this link or in the video or audio player at the top of this article.

Learn more about Mike Macdonald and the Seattle Seahawks

• Huard: The good, the bad and the ugly of the Seahawks adding Grubb to Mac’s staff
• ESPN’s Graziano: Seahawks aren’t the only ones who think Macdonald is ‘a star’
• Why Joel Klatt thinks JJ McCarthy is a good fit for the Seahawks QB job
• Kurt Warner details Seahawks dilemma with quarterback Geno Smith
• Revenge of the Husky? Mike Macdonald, Seahawks snap up DeBoer coaching staff

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