In Travis Jones, Seahawks get a coach who gets it

Posted Feb 13, 2013

New defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and just-hired defensive line coach Travis Jones have a history and also share a passion for coaching the position.

Listening to Dan Quinn discuss the reasons for hiring Travis Jones as the Seahawks’ new defensive line coach, it sounds like the team’s defensive coordinator is describing himself.

“No. 1, the guy is an outstanding coach. That’s No. 1,” Quinn said of Jones, whose addition to replace Todd Wash was announced Wednesday. “He’s got energy out on the grass (practice field). He’s a really good teacher. I’ve always thought he did an excellent job in preparing his guys.

“And that’s really where his passion is, coaching the defensive line.”

That’s why Jones replacing Wash was as much of a no-brainer decision as Quinn returning to the Seahawks to replace Gus Bradley, the defensive coordinator the past four seasons who was hired last month to be the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Quinn was the Seahawks’ defensive line coach in 2009-10 before spending two seasons as the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida. Wash had replaced Quinn as the Seahawks’ defensive line coach, but left to join Bradley’s staff in Jacksonville.

The club also announced four other changes on Pete Carroll’s coaching staff: Nate Carroll is now an offensive assistant after spending the past two seasons as a defensive assistant; Dave Canales is assistant quarterbacks coach/offensive quality control after three seasons as a quality control coach for the offense; Marquand Manuel is becoming a defensive assistant after spending last season as the assistant special teams coach; and Nick Sorensen is a coaching assistant/special teams after spending last season as a volunteer coach at Youngstown State and serving as a training camp intern with the San Francisco 49ers.

Jones, 40, has worked his way into this latest opportunity. He was the assistant defensive line coach the past five seasons with the New Orleans Saints.  He was with the Miami Dolphins for three seasons before that, which is where he and Quinn first worked together.

Prior to that, Jones spent eight years coaching in college – first at his alma mater for one season as a grad assistant at Georgia; then for three seasons as the linebackers coach at Appalachian State; then for two seasons at Kansas as the D-line coach; and finally for two seasons at LSU as the defensive line coach.

It was while at LSU that Jones first met Quinn, and there was an immediate connection.

“We’ve always stayed in touch since then,” Quinn said. “So I always thought if we had an opportunity to get connected again we’d kind of like to do that.”

With the Seahawks, Jones inherits three of the linemen Quinn had coached in his previous stint with the team – ends Red Bryant and Chris Clemons and nose tackle Brandon Mebane.

And Jones’ fingerprints have been all over some other quality linemen in his previous stops: Will Smith and Sedrick Ellis with the Saints; Jason Taylor with the Dolphins; Chad Lavalais, Marquise Hill and Marcus Spears at LSU; Nate Dwyer at Kansas; and Richard Seymour and Marcus Stroud at Georgia.

Jones also played one season for the Baltimore Stallions of the CFL (1995) and another for the Florida Bobcats of the Arena League (1996).

“Travis really gets it when it comes to the defensive line,” Quinn said. “We’re really fortunate to have him here. For us to have worked so closely together and then to have stayed in touch through the years and talked about guys, I couldn’t be more thrilled knowing here’s a guy who sees it exactly like I do.”