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Seahawks Mailbag: Coaching Philosophies, Music At Practice & More

You had Seahawks questions; we have answers.


The Seahawks wrapped up their rookie minicamp last weekend, the first chance for their eight-player draft class, undrafted free agent signings and tryout players to get on the field together. The rookies will return later this spring, but in the meantime, veterans continue to go through voluntary offseason workouts that will culminate with a mandatory minicamp in June.

And with the draft and rookie minicamp behind us, now is a great time to once again open up the mailbag and answer some questions from you, the fans. As always, thanks to everyone who asked questions this week, and apologies if I couldn't get to yours this time around. And remember, the mailbag is always open for submissions at

Also, if you missed it last week, be sure to check out last week's special edition of the mailbag, with first-round pick Byron Murphy II answering fan-submitted questions.

Shane from Lemmon, South Dakota, asks, "What's the story behind the cool work apparel/uniform shirts worn in the draft room?"

A: The shirts Shane is referring two are the ones the player personnel department and coaching staff have been wearing on Day 3 of the draft in recent years, what general manager and president of football operations John Schneider refer to as their gas station shirts. The idea behind them, Schneider explained, is to symbolize the attitude of Day 3 of the draft, which is when scouts' hard work really pays off with the late rounds and undrafted free agency.

"We're going to work," Schneider said. "Getting up and this is the day. This is the day we just get after it and hey, we're not going to outsmart you, we're going to outwork you."

@TheCrappyTotals asks, "How does the music at practice with Mike Macdonald differ under from the Pete Carroll era?"

A: We only have one minicamp to go off of, but so far, the main difference is the volume. I'm not going to pretend that I pay enough attention from song to song to tell you about the difference in the setlists, but it definitely wasn't as loud in minicamp as past practices were. That being said, Macdonald has said they're still working through things as a new coaching staff and things will change, perhaps including the volume of the music.

"We're working through it," Macdonald said. "Obviously you want to bring the juice and have energy, and have the music flowing. That's all good, but you also want to tamper that with, 'OK, we're trying to get some teaching done at the same time.' What's the right volume? How can we communicate the best? Do you want to stress guys? So I think it depends on the situation and kind of the flow of practice, but we'll experiment with it and kind of figure it out as we go.

"When guys get back, we'll incentivize it, and guys that are making sweet plays, I'm sure they'll be picking playlists and setting things up too, as long as it's clean."

@gc_seattle asks, "Why aren't we developing a third quarterback?"

A: If you mean why didn't the Seahawks draft a quarterback as a developmental third quarterback behind Geno Smith and Sam Howell, that just had to do with the way the board fell. The Seahawks had relatively high grades on the top six quarterbacks, who all went in the top 12 picks, well ahead of the Seahawks' first pick at No. 16. Then as Seattle and the rest of the league showed, teams weren't as high on the rest of this year's class of quarterbacks, with Spencer Rattler going next at No. 150 overall in the middle of the fifth round.

"Once the six went in the first 12 pick, I think it was kind of like wow, all right," Seahawks general manager and president of football operations John Schneider said. "And then there was slots all the way through and it just didn't fit."

As Schneider has said repeatedly, he's not trying to avoid drafting quarterbacks, in fact he wishes he had selected more, but he'd rather pass on that position and stick to his draft board than reach and overdraft a quarterback just to address that position. As Seattle showed earlier this offseason, there are other ways to attack that position, including the trade the Seahawks made for Sam Howell that got Seattle a young quarterback—he's only 24, younger than some of the QBs in this year's draft class—with considerable NFL experience having started all 17 games last season."

Now, after all of that, if you're also wondering why the Seahawks don't have a third quarterback on the roster at all having just released undrafted free agent signing Chevan Cordeiro. It is a bit unusual to not have a third quarterback at all on the roster, but I would not expect the Seahawks to stick with two quarterbacks for too long. They'll need at least one more for training camp and the preseason, and Schneider and company are no doubt exploring different options to find another one or two to add to the team.

Eli From Carlisle Iowa asks, "Who's do you plan on drafting with your first pick?"

A: Byron Murphy II from Texas… Oh wait, turns out that email was from the morning before the draft started and I forgot to answer it sooner. But that would have been my answer even beforehand… No really, I definitely would have gotten that right… or not.

Kelli from Los Angeles asks, "What is your impression of how Mike Macdonald will have the guys compete while maintaining a positive environment when so many players don't know him yet? How does he get his players to buy in?"

A: From the day he was hired, Macdonald has talked about wanting to maintain the positive culture that has been in the organization throughout the Schneider and Pete Carroll era, so while Macdonald will stay true to himself and do some things differently than Carroll, he does still want that positive environment even if he goes about it in different ways.

When Macdonald talked to high school coaches at a coaching clinic put at the University of Washington earlier this spring, he touched a bit on how having players who love the game but also how playing for each other can help him reach one of his goals for the team, which is to have it play with "shocking effort. It should pop off the screen like, 'Holy crap, how do they play like that?' Then it all starts from there.

"So how do you get that? Well you've got to be in great shape, you've got to have guys who love each other and want to play for one another—you can't be selfish. What you're asking them to do is be incredibly clear, and in order to do that, you have to build confidence. And when you build confidence, guess what happens? They communicate, because they know what the hell they're doing… We're talking pre-snap alerts, post-snap alerts, we're communicating, everybody knows exactly what we're doing, we're flying around, we're leveraging the ball, then you have, and then it starts to look like shocking effort. But it doesn't just happen overnight."

Macdonald has also talked, both at that clinic and in other press conferences, about the teaching aspect of his job, quoting John Harbaugh telling coaches, "Guys are allowed to get better." Meaning he understands that part of getting his players where they need to be as competitors and players falls on him and his coaching staff not just taking advantage of what players do well, but also by helping them grow.

@Prose_Edda asks, "How does Mike Macdonald plan on running his camp differently than Pete Carroll? Pete focused on explosive moments over fundamentals. What's Mike's focus going to be."

A: First off, I would push back on the notion that Carroll didn't prioritize fundamentals. As much fun as he tried to keep things, fundamentals were a huge, huge part of everything he did—he just went out of his way to keep things interesting as well. We don't know yet exactly how camp will look under Macdonald because he's never led training camp as a head coach, but as mentioned above, Macdonald is big on effort and physicality based on what he has said and also on how players talk about him, so I'd expect we'll see a pretty hard-nosed first camp. But again, that shouldn't be taken to mean the team didn't work hard in camp in the past, it just might look a little bit different how they get that work done.

@DarrellBratz asks, "Could you tell if Mike Morris is healthy and participating, and if so, are they going to use him inside or outside?"

A: After missing most of his rookie season due to a shoulder injury, Morris is indeed healthy now, or at least healthy enough to participate in offseason workouts—it's important to note that with no pads on and no contact, a player could in theory be healthy enough to do the work they're doing now but not be cleared for full practice. But by all accounts he's doing well and on track to be ready for his second season. As for how the Seahawks will use the second-year defensive lineman, it's way too soon to know those specifics, though I will point out that when the Seahawks drafted Morris last year, one of the qualities Schneider and coaches mentioned they liked about him was his inside-out versatility, so it would not be surprising at all to see him used in multiple spots along the line.

The Seahawks offense hit the practice field for a midweek workout on May 8, 2024. Check out the 12 best photos from their on-field workout.

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