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Seahawks Mailbag: Questions For The New Coordinators Edition

You had questions for the Seahawks new coordinators, Aden Durde, Ryan Grubb and Jay Harbaugh; they have answers.


An eventful Seahawks offseason continued this week with the hiring of eight assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, defensive coordinator Aden Durde and special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh. With those three all in the building as the Seahawks continue to build their coaching staff, prepare for free agency, the upcoming draft, asked some questions from fans to the new coordinators. So for this week's Seahawks mailbag, we're going directly to the new coordinators to answer your questions. Thanks, as always, to everyone who participated, and apologies if we didn't have time to get to your questions.

@rtsolari asks Grubb, "What do you think your greatest strengths are and what will you bring to the team?"

Having experience coaching almost every position group throughout his career, Grubb says that he's able to "see the whole field," "relate to every position room" and put together a more cohesive game plan. And although this wasn't his answer to what he thinks his greatest strength is, I do think it is worth noting because it speaks to the kind of experience that Grubb will be bringing to the offense.

Grubb's answer wasn't too far off from my input though.

"I've always felt like I've been able to collaborate," Grubb's said. "Whether it's players on the field or with the coaching staff, that's been something that I've always really focused on is being able to collaborate."

And if this gives fans any optimism about the upcoming season, Grubb said, "I would never take a job that I didn't feel like I could bring improvement to the team."

When Durde was asked this question, his answer was very straight forward—he hopes to bring clarity and intensity. Now, as for what exactly that looks like, Durde wants to see a defense that is fundamentally sound and attacking.

"There's all the system stuff on top of that but, in those three prongs, if you're rolling there, that's our philosophy and how I've learned to build my kind of philosophy from my time in the league," he said.

On a related note, @DanCohen 17 asks, "What should Seahawks fans expect from a Durde defense?"

For Durde, the answer to that question can be found in how friends or family, including his wife, Kate, react to a game. 

"When you see it, when your family comes, what do they see?" Durde said. "When I was in Dallas, I was coaching the D-line, I knew when we were good, because I would get in the car on the way home and my wife would be like, 'They were like animals out there today, they were flying around the field.' Then some days she'll get in the car and say, 'It didn't look like that.' I think we all know what we want it to look like. We want to be covering grass and we want to be fundamentally sound and systematically sound and communicating on all levels."

@MattyFBrown asks Grubb, "What is your offensive philosophy, and are your core offensive concepts set in stone, or how much are they influenced by personnel?"

Grubb didn't get around to answering the second or third part of your question, but he did talk in length about what's important to him as a coach.

"Earn respect, give respect and for our guys, showing up every day, having great work ethic, doing things the right way and add to the culture of the Seahawks."

And for the identity he wants to create on offense, there are three key components: ball dominance, detailed-oriented and explosiveness. 

"Ball dominance is how we take care of the football, in the quarter back room, not turning [the ball] over, when [the ball] is in the air, DK is going to get it," Grubb said, "... When I talk about details, that can mean how we prepare, how we take the field and that we can trust each other on and off the field. When I talk about being explosive, it can be how we block, being physical, how we finish runs, and then explosive plays, getting the football down the field."

Brown, who happens to be the current defensive coordinator of the London Olympians, a team Durde played for early in his career, asks of his fellow Brit, "*What made you feel ready for the step up to defensive coordinator, and what is your defensive philosophy?"*

Although Durde doesn't have experience in the NFL as a defensive coordinator, he does have experience in NFLUK and for six seasons he was in London with the London Warriors as their defensive coordinator. Through his time in the NFL he said he's taken a lot of what he learned from Dan Quinn, Raheem Morris and Jeff Ulbrich. 

"Those guys have had big impacts on my career. I worked under Jeff as an assistant, I worked under Rah (Morris) when he was a defensive coordinator, being with Q (Dan Quinn) nearly my whole professional coaching career. Those guys have really made me think about the game, made me think about how you make people play their best football. I think some of those guys, that's their superpower. How communication is key and how fundamentals are key."

On his defensive philosophy, there were three key areas that Durde said were important: being fundamentally sound, playing up to standard and attacking the ball. 

"If you're rolling there, that's our philosophy and how I've learned to build my kind of philosophy from my time in the league," Durde said.

Another key component to all of that Durde mentioned was "imparting knowledge on the players while [using that knowledge] with intent on the field.". He wants to make sure that the knowledge he has is being passed on to the players for them to execute at that standard on the field."

@BettyVedder10 asks, "What are you most looking forward to about being in Seattle (or for Grubb, remaining in Seattle)?"

"Number one, I love the city. And number two the move was very easy, didn't have to sell the house," Grubb said. 

Grubb also touched on this topic during his press conference. Having the unique experience of coaching at the University of Washington, right in Seattle, and being a long for the ride of a season that took them to the College Football Playoffs National Championship game, Grubb experienced what fandom was like in Seattle. 

"This is like the unicorn event in coaching... when you think about making this step, you want to do it with a program or organization that you believe in and so to be able to do that is unbelievable." Grubb said. "… I've loved the fan base here, it's been something even when I was at U-Dub, we talked a lot about how passionate this city is about football." 

Asked the same question, Harbaugh said, "Being able to play in a home stadium with an unbelievable advantage with the crowd noise, it just means something to play in Seattle."

@DougyFresh43 asks, "Being a first-time coordinator in the NFL, what excites you the most about this opportunity, and what are some new challenges you expect to face as a first-time NFL coordinator?"

One of the most obvious challenges that Harbaugh expects to face is adapting from college to the pros. During his press conference, Harbaugh talked at length about the differences in structure, rules and systems that he'll have to adjust to but said he was thankful to have watched enough football in Baltimore to be familiar with the rules, differences in play and what works. But Harbaugh said that having Devin Fitzsimmons as the assistant special teams coach, who has nine years of NFL experience, will help to make the transition helpful.

As for the first part of your question, Harbaugh is excited to be able to coach at the highest level.

"To be here with the best of the best is exciting and that's what makes it challenging too, everyone is really good at their jobs and the margin of error is smaller," he said.

Grubb also addressed some of the changes moving from the college to NFL level, saying, "I think there's the obvious the hashes, things like that are important, but I think the personnel based scheme, there's some things that you have to be probably far more alert to as far as who's on the football field, whether it's base or nickel packages, the identification of personnel problems. You have those issues in college as well, but I think they can be a bit more prevalent in the NFL and then also I think the limited possessions. I think that part of the game's a little bit different offensively."

From a big-picture standpoint, Grubb said being a first-time NFL coordinator is both an opportunity and a challenge, "and I'm excited about that. I think it is absolutely a challenge and one that I'm really looking forward to and looking at it just like that, that it is an opportunity. And I feel like every time I've been given those opportunities and challenges, that brings out the best in me."

@Andy999Bryan asks Harbaugh, "What is the No. 1 lesson you've learned from your coaching family members (Dad/Uncle/Grandpa)?"

When I asked Harbaugh this question, he was stumped for a few seconds only because he could choose just one lesson. He said he could go on about the things he's learned from his dad, uncle and grandpa. But if he had to boil it down to one thing it was, "The simple things are really what is going to get you the furthest. The most cliché things are cliché for a reason, because they're true. The hard work, the discipline, holding players accountable, telling them the truth, building a loving relationship with them."

Being that his family's coaching tree has more than 60 years of experience Harbaugh said that ways to be successful now is similar to what it used to be.

"There is no secret sauce or magic pill it's the same things that will win or lose you a game now are the same as they were 50 years ago."

@Curtis93969, "What is your favorite special teams play?"

Harbaugh talked about having experience in both the offense and defense but said that he enjoys special teams because he gets the best of both worlds. 

"I love just the fact that it's both. You get to, within the same play, be blocking, covering, tackling... it's all the great fundamentals in coaching there is to be done with the game, all wrapped into one," Harbaugh said. 

So, you might have guessed it, yes, punt return is his favorite. 

"I love punt return, just in general…the opportunity to be able to steal the momentum or build on momentum."

The Seahawks hired England native Aden Durde as their next defensive coordinator. Durde most recently was the defensive line coach for the Dallas Cowboys and had previously spent a training camp working with the Atlanta Falcons. Check out some of the best photos of Durde through the years.