What impact will Scot McCloughan's hiring in Seattle have on the NFC West?
The San Francisco 49ers' former general manager hasn't relocated to the Northwest and he might not for a while. His hiring as a "senior personnel executive" could remain vaguely defined for the upcoming season.
McCloughan has immediate value for the Seahawks, however, because he knows so much about the division and specifically the 49ers, who visit Seattle in Week 1. Much of the Seahawks' new leadership is new to the division. Coach Pete Carroll couldn't possibly have as strong a feel for the 49ers as he would after a season or two in the NFC West.
McCloughan helps fill in some of the gaps. He can provide insight into and an overall feel for how the 49ers' coaches think. He'll know what makes them uncomfortable and how they're likely to react to specific situations. He'll know where the 49ers are most vulnerable from a scheme standpoint. He can offer similar knowledge about nearly every prominent player on the 49ers' roster. The result is that Seattle's coaching staff should be more comfortable entering the season opener and division play in general than it would have been without McCloughan's recent addition to a senior personnel position.
Overall, McCloughan should make the Seahawks more comfortable heading into Week 1.
The situation is unusual even though NFL personnel people change teams regularly. McCloughan and Seahawks general manager John Schneider happened to get their NFL start together in Green Bay. The Seahawks happened to hire McCloughan months after his surprising departure from the 49ers. The NFL happened to pit the Seahawks and 49ers against one another in Week 1 this season.
In some ways, McCloughan will be working against his own legacy. Had he signed with a team outside the division, he could have more naturally rooted from afar for Alex Smith and some of his other 49ers draft choices to succeed.