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Seahawks expected to part ways with defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., sources say

1/18/2022 2:26:14 PM
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In a significant shake-up of their defensive coaching staff, the Seahawks are expected to part ways with defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and defensive passing game coordinator Andre Curtis, sources close to the team told Bob Condotta and Adam Jude of the Seattle Times.

Clint Hurtt, Seattle’s assistant head coach/defensive line coach, is expected to be a candidate for a promotion as the new defensive coordinator, a source told The Times. Veteran NFL assistant Ed Donatell is also on the shortlist of candidates to replace Norton, sources told The Times.

Norton, 55, has overseen the Seahawks defense for the past four seasons, with mixed results. 

En route to a disappointing 7-10 finish this season, the Seahawks defense got off to a historically bad start for the second year in a row, surrendering an average of 451 yards through the first five games, on a pace to allow the most yards in NFL history.

But for the second season in a row, the defense rebounded with a strong second half and finished the 2021 regular season ranked No. 11 in the NFL in points allowed (21.5 per game).

Still, the Seahawks finished the season allowing 379.1 yards per game, the second most in team history behind only the 399 of the 2001 team.

That ranked 28th in the NFL and continued a decline in defensive numbers in recent years.

Seattle finished 22nd in the NFL in yards allowed 2020, 26th in 2019 and 16th in 2018 after finishing no lower than 11th from 2011 to 2017.

Seattle specifically struggled with its pass defense, ranking 31st in the NFL in yards, allowing 265.4 per game and undergoing a complete revamping of the team’s cornerback position after the third game of the season. That was second highest in team history after the 2020 team that allowed 285 yards per game.

Head coach Pete Carroll said during his regular year-end session with the media last week only that he had nothing to announce about his coaching staff. But he has been meeting with coaches over the past week, after he and general manager John Schneider held their annual meeting with team chair Jody Allen on Thursday.

“Our coaches worked their tails off, they did a great job, we started our season-ending meetings today, and I’ll get with all of these guys before we get out of here,” Carroll said last Monday. “I’m really proud of the work everybody has done. I feel fortunate that we are doing this thing together.”

An official announcement from the team could come by Wednesday.

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