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Aden Durde 'Learning Every Day' In First Year As Seahawks Defensive Coordinator

Seahawks defensive coordinator Aden Durde discusses what he’s seen out of the defense so far in offseason workouts.


In his first year as an NFL defensive coordinator, Aden Durde's duties span all three levels of the Seahawks defense. But early in practices when players are split up by position groups, it's not uncommon to see Durde go back to his roots working with defensive linemen and outside linebackers.

That was the case during organized team activities Monday as Durde got in some hands-on work with Leonard Williams, and it's been a regular site throughout the Seahawks' offseason program.

And if that sounds familiar—a first-time NFL defensive coordinator mixing it up with the players in the trenches—that's because it has been seen before in Seattle, and in fact it was demonstrated by a coach who has mentored Durde in his young career, current Washington Commanders head coach Dan Quinn. Durde worked with Quinn both in Atlanta and Dallas, spending seven seasons with the well-respected defensive coach who, back in 2013, was regularly focusing his attention on the likes of Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane in his first go-around as an NFL coordinator.

"I learned that, to be honest with you, from D.Q.," Durde said. "There are certain times of the practice, especially at the start and special teams when we can do things. I can work with (defensive line coach) Justin (Hinds) and I can work with a part of the group and get some reps and talk about how we do detailed things and more the techniques and the game within the game. They're the opportunities I like to take and teach with the guys, but that's fun."

Of course, as much fun as Durde has working with the defensive line, he has bigger-picture goals to take care of this offseason, first and foremost among them is installing a new defense along with head coach Mike Macdonald.

"I think this time of year you really have to kind of step back and look at it from a big picture," Durde said of that process. "I don't think you have to get down into the detail. You're going to install the system, then you're going to install it again. Then they're going to get another hit of it next week when we get into true mandatory minicamp and then they'll get another hit in training camp. I think right now they're just where they're meant to be and you have to, I think at this time of year, you've got to be comfortable making those mistakes and learning from them."

For Durde, his first offseason as an NFL coordinator has been an educational one and he works with Macdonald, one of the best defensive minds in the game, as well as assistant head coach Leslie Frazier, a former NFL head coach who has more than two decades of NFL experience coaching on the defensive side of the ball when he wasn't a head coach.

"When I came in and Mike had a very clear vision of what the system was, I really understood that," Durde said. "I think to answer your question, it's more like us three growing together has been one of the most fun parts of doing this process. Just sitting down, talking football, understanding how we see situations, understanding how we see the game. Then how we see building the culture together and the style that we play with. As much as we're different, there's things we're like-minded in, and things that we believe in our principles and that's been the most fun thing so far for me.

"I'm learning every day and I think we all are. That's the funnest part. I really, in the moment, love coming to work. I was saying that to Leslie the other day. It's not about egos, it's about getting it right, all of us talking through it, making sure that we understand that we've got the best plan for the players. The players believe in the process and we're always looking at it and making sure that it's right for them. You want, really and truthfully, what you want them to do, you want play really fast, really physical. Those things can't be done now, but the clarity that we can create and that's what we're trying to do is the best thing."

And getting back to Durde's affinity for working with the line, that particular position group should be one of the deeper and more talented ones on Seattle's roster with first-round pick Byron Murphy II joining the likes of Leonard Williams, Dre'Mont Jones, Jarran Reed and veteran free-agent addition Jonathan Hankins. And keeping in line with commends made by Macdonald this offseason, a strength of the line should not just be the group's talent level, but its versatility.

That's a topic Reed discussed last week, noting, "I think we've got multiple guys that can do that. Not just us being stationary, moving us around a little bit, creating some mismatches for everybody else along the line.

"I think that will benefit us a lot. Guys won't know where we're going to be at as much, so we can create some confusion along the offensive line. It shows everybody's versatility and that's the main thing. Zero, three to four to five, believe it or not it's all the same thing. A little different body types and speed, but we can work around that."

Durde agrees that having a nose tackle like Reed who can also play end, or having linemen like Jones and Williams who can line up pretty much anywhere on the line, will only make that group that much more effective.

"I think that's what good defensive lines are," Durde said. "You look at the groups and right now it's kind of hard because we can't go full gas, but it's what are people good at? What are their individual roles? How do they fit into the picture? What down and distance would they be good at and where do they excel? I really believe upfront it's about creating a way of playing that enhances people's ability in certain situations. There's a couple of guys that really just flourish in every situation and there's other guys like Hank (Johnathan Hankins) or those guys that flourish in certain situations and then how you rotate them. We've got so much versatility."

The Seahawks held their seventh OTA of the offseason on Monday, June 3, 2024 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

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