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Seahawks Working With "A Sense Of Urgency Right Now" In First Offseason Under Mike Macdonald

After a week of offseason workouts, players are excited about what they’ve seen from Mike Macdonald and the rest of the new Seahawks coaching staff.


The Seahawks are less than two weeks into their voluntary offseason program, putting them in the earliest stages of their preparation for the 2024 season. But while there is still a long, long ways to go for the team to get ready for fall, new head coach Mike Macdonald is already making a strong impression on players, and doing so while instituting some changes that are having a positive early influence, according to players.

"I remember the first day we came into the team meeting, Mike pointed out that there's empty walls in the hallways and things like that," said defensive lineman Leonard Williams. "For a person like me, that made me really excited, and I hope it made the rest of the guys excited. We're obviously going to respect tradition and the history of the Seahawks, but I think it's giving us a clean foundation to create whatever we want to be. We're not chasing to be like any other team that's been here before, we want to create our own identity."

An important point made by Williams and others is that Macdonald being different, and the team embracing that, isn't an indictment of how Pete Carroll did things during his 14 seasons in Seattle. Williams credited Carroll for making him want to come to Seattle, and for making him enjoy the game more, saying, "I'll forever be grateful towards Pete for bringing me here… I always reminded Pete that him bringing me here kind of brought back that college feeling for me where it was new and exciting for me. It relit a fire in me, it didn't just feel like I was going to work every day, it felt like I was having fun with my guys again."

But for Macdonald to succeed as a head coach, and for the team to be its best under his leadership, the Seahawks can't set out this offseason trying to recreate what Carroll built. As Macdonald said on the day he was introduced as the head coach, he needs to be authentic to who he is as a person and a coach, just as Carroll was during his memorable run in Seattle. So yes, the basketball hoop in the auditorium is gone, as are, as Tyler Lockett noted last week, the "I'm In!" signs players used to tap as they went through doorways.

"He wants to create our own slogans, create our own mantras and things like that," Williams said.

In time, the Seahawks will build their own traditions and slogans under Macdonald, and perhaps then new signs will go up, but for now the Seahawks are building something new with Macdonald leading the way, and players like how that process has gone early on.

"You can just tell there's a sense of urgency right now, in a way that's bringing everyone closer together, that's making everyone be so locked in in meetings and the weight room and on the field," Williams said. "You can just tell everyone's locked in on a different level."

Added left tackle Charles Cross, "I love him. I feel like he brings a tenacity to the building. He's a very blunt, to-the-point guy. He just wants to get the job done at the end of the day."

Second-year cornerback Devon Witherspoon, who earned Pro-Bowl honors as a rookie, said things do feel different under a new coach, but said the first week under Macdonald, has been "smooth so far. Everybody's trying to get to know each other, figure each other out, create that chemistry."

Asked about the differences, Witherspoon said, "Different as far as the way he runs things around here, the way he talks, terminology when we're speaking about football, and just the way he teaches us about the stuff we're doing right now."

Despite a standout rookie season, Witherspoon says he can and will be better in his second season, pointing to more production and playing all 17 games as goals for improvement, and he thinks Macdonald and the defensive coaching staff will get the best out of him.

"I had a good year, but it could be a lot better. That's what coach keeps telling me every day. He's like, 'You had a good year, but you've got so much more potential, and I can't wait to exploit that.'"

The Seahawks continued their offseason workout program with a workout session on April 16, 2024 at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

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