NFL-källan Seahawks namnger Leslie Frazier till assisterande huvudtränare

By | February 3, 2024

It took just one day for the Seahawks’ new coach to get his new, top defensive assistant.

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A league source told The News Tribune Friday the Seahawks are expected to announce they’ve hired veteran NFL defensive coordinator and former Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier as the assistant head coach to new head coach Mike Macdonald.

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The Seahawks are expected to make Frazier’s hiring official within days, the source told the TNT.

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Meanwhile, Macdonald and general manager John Schneider continue to mull over multiple candidates to be Seattle’s new offensive coordinator.

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Their list includes former University of Washington OC Ryan Grubb, who called quarterback Michael Penix Jr.’s plays in the Huskies’ national championship game last month. A league source told the TNT Thursday Grubb is “under consideration” to be Macdonald’s offensive coordinator for the Seahawks.

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Macdonald, 36 and the NFL’s youngest head coach, considers the 64-year-old Frazier a mentor, for his defensive coaching and expertise. They worked on the same Baltimore Ravens staff, in 2016 as defensive assistants for head coach John Harbaugh.

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The Seahawks officially introduced Macdonald as their ninth head coach on Thursday. That was his first full day working inside the team’s facility in Renton.

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Frazier has been a defensive coordinator for four NFL teams from 2003 through the ‘22 season. He was the Vikings’ head coach from 2011-13.

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He last coached in the league through the 2022 season, his sixth as defensive coordinator for the Bills. His Buffalo units ranked in the top six in the NFL in total defense four times in those six years. Three of those year’s Frazier’s Bills were a top-three defense in the league.

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Frazier’s Bills led the league in 2021, allowing an average of 272.8 yards and 17 points per game.

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Buffalo announced in February 2023 Frazier was not returning to its staff. He spent the 2023 season as a television analyst for the league-owned NFL Network.

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Frazier also has been the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals (2003-04), Vikings (2007-10) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014-15).

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Frazier was the Ravens’ defensive backs coach in 2016 when Macdonald was on Baltimore’s staff as a defensive assistant.

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Frazier chose the Seahawks among what he told CBS Sports were four teams that wanted him to be assistant head coach for their new head coaches.

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Frazier told CBS’ Josina Anderson Friday he chose Seattle because of Macdonald.

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“Mike was my quality control coach when I was in Baltimore,” Frazier told Anderson.

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Seahawks anställde tidigare Buffalo Bills defensiva koordinator och Minnesota Vikings huvudtränare Leslie Frazier för att vara Seattles assisterande huvudtränare under den nya huvudtränaren Mike Macdonald den 2 februari 2024.
Seahawks anställde tidigare Buffalo Bills defensiva koordinator och Minnesota Vikings huvudtränare Leslie Frazier för att vara Seattles assisterande huvudtränare under den nya huvudtränaren Mike Macdonald den 2 februari 2024. Foto av Associated Press

Leslie Frazier’s likely role

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Frazier has taught the well-networked, well-learned Macdonald some of what he knows and teaches, both in how the young head coach relates to players and in his disguised, versatile defensive schemes.

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Macdonald said Thursday he will be calling the defensive plays for the 2024 Seahawks. That’s why general manager John Schneider hired him away from being the coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens’ deceptive, top-ranked defense.

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“Yeah, right now the plan is I’ll be calling the plays,” Macdonald said Thursday.

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“Now, depending on who the defensive coordinator is and when that becomes — ultimately, I’m the head coach of the football team, so I want to coach the football team. Right now, the best way that we can win in my opinion is for me to call the plays. And then when it becomes obvious that someone else is ready to go and we see it the same way, then we’ll make that change.”

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Or, he won’t.

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Nya Seahawks huvudtränare Mike Macdonald svarar på frågor under sin presskonferens för huvudtränare på Virginia Mason Athletic Center torsdagen den 1 februari 2024 i Renton, Washington.
Nya Seahawks huvudtränare Mike Macdonald svarar på frågor under sin presskonferens för huvudtränare på Virginia Mason Athletic Center torsdagen den 1 februari 2024 i Renton, Washington. Brian Hayes bhayes@thenewstribune.com

Frazier gets the same “assistant head coach” title he had his last three seasons as the Bills’ defensive coordinator so that this is a relatively lateral move to Seattle.

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Even if the Seahawks were to hire a new defensive coordinator by title in addition to Frazier, it’s going to be Macdonald calling and game-planning the defense. Frazier now becomes a key co-collaborator and sounding board for the first-time head coach.

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Macdonald’s mentor will be doing more of that on these new Seahawks.

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Plus, Frazier is known around the NFL for his strong communication skills. He’s renowned by players for his ability to relate to them, including with any of their issues off the field. That’s the sage mentoring and experience any first-time coach needs on his staff.

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Former NFL player

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Frazier knows what it is to be an NFL player, because he was one. He was a defensive back for the Chicago Bears from 1981 through their ‘85 Super Bowl-champion team. In Super Bowl 20 in New Orleans, the Bears ran a reverse on a punt return. Teammate Keith Ortego handed the ball to Frazier. Frazier planted his left foot on the return and it stuck in the Superdome’s artificial turf. Frazier torn the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee among multiple injuries. That ended his playing career.

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He began his next career as a coach in 1988, as head coach of Trinity International University. He started the football program at the NAIA school in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, and then won two league championships there.

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He’s been a coach ever since.

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The Bears had signed the native of Columbus, Mississippi, as an undrafted rookie free agent in 1981 out of Alcorn State.

Denna berättelse publicerades ursprungligen. 2 februari 2024, 17:13.

Gregg Bell är Seahawks och NFL-skribent för The News Tribune. Han är en tvåfaldig Washington State Sportswriter of the Year, framröstad av National Sports Media Association i januari 2023 och januari 2019. Han började bevaka NFL 2002 som Oakland Raiders-skribent för The Sacramento Bee. Ohio-infödingen började täcka Seahawks under deras första Super Bowl-säsong 2005. I ett tidigare liv tog han examen från West Point och tjänstgjorde som taktisk underrättelseofficer i den amerikanska armén, så han kan be honom lämna den och ge honom 10.

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