Tuesday, January 18, 2011
With Bates out, is McDaniels a candidate?
By Mike Sando
Jeremy Bates' pass-first approach and old-school demeanor apparently weren't what Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wanted from his offensive coordinator.
Bates, fired Tuesday, lasted one season with the team.
The Seahawks ranked 28th in total yards, 31st in rushing yards, 29th in time of possession and 28th in first downs per game. Those depressed rankings seemed understandable, in my view, given the state of the roster in general and the offensive line in particular.
Carroll could have lived with poor first-year production, I think, if he thought Bates were the right coordinator.
Making this move after only one season suggests the fit wasn't right. Carroll is resoundingly upbeat. He doesn't cuss out players. Bates isn't much of a people person. He's gruff and takes a harder line in his approach to players. Of course, Carroll would have known these things about Bates, it seems, because the two worked together at USC in 2009.
Absent something more, this is the sort of move that makes greater sense when the head coach has another candidate in mind.
Josh McDaniels' name comes to mind immediately. Talks between McDaniels and the St. Louis Rams hit a snag this week, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported. McDaniels also interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings.
Mortensen's report suggested money could have been a sticking point between McDaniels and the Rams. A high-priced coordinator would fit more naturally into the Seahawks' salary structure because Carroll earns more than Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo.
It's something to keep in mind until a clearer picture emerges. For now, all we know for sure is that Bates is out and Darrell Bevell is interviewing to become quarterbacks coach.
Bates' creativity in the wild-card round helped the Seahawks upset New Orleans, 41-36. Seattle found ways to get tight end John Carlson open for two touchdowns. Overall, I thought the Seahawks succeeded in finding ways to protect the passer despite personnel issues up front.
The Seahawks' offensive identity has been and remains in flux. The team has gone from Mike Holmgren's offense in 2008 to Greg Knapp's offense in 2009 to Bates' offense in 2010. The blocking schemes changed along the way, most recently when line coach Alex Gibbs left the team just as the regular season was about to begin.
It's important for Carroll to establish stability on offense. If Bates wasn't the right fit, Carroll was better off making the change now than one or two years down the road.