New Seahawks coordinators eager for first chance in elevated roles at NFL level

New Seahawks assistant coaches: Ryan Grubb - offensive coordinator, Jay Harbaugh - special teams coordinator, and Aden Durde - defensive coordinator. (Photos by Walker Anderson / FOX 13 Seattle)

The 2024 coaching staff of the Seattle Seahawks will be defined by a group getting their first opportunities in high-profile roles at the NFL level.

Head coach Mike Macdonald, offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, defensive coordinator Aden Durde and special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh will all be serving in those roles at the NFL level for the first time this fall. After 14 years under the direction of an accomplished head coach in Pete Carroll, the Seahawks in 2024 will be a mostly green unit that is getting their first chance to make a difference in their positions.

"Excited about that," Grubb said. "It's absolutely a challenge and one that I'm really looking to and looking at just like that, that it is an opportunity. And I feel like every time I've been given those opportunities and challenges, that that brings out the best in me."

The three newest coordinators of the Seahawks spoke with reporters on Thursday for the first time since being hired by Seattle.

Grubb essentially moves across town to run the Seahawks' offense after two seasons with the Washington Huskies on Montlake. Grubb had agreed to follow head coach Kalen DeBoer to Alabama after Washington chose to hire Jedd Fisch as their new head coach. Instead, Grubb gets to remain in Seattle and make the move to the NFL ranks, which is a move he'd been hopeful to make eventually.

Grubb said he had started to eye a move to the NFL over the last three seasons. He met Macdonald at the NFL Combine last year while Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was there for underclassman evaluations. Then when Macdonald got the job in Seattle, the opportunity was all Grubb could have hoped for.

"This is like the unicorn event in coaching," Grubb said. "The fact that I got to stay right here and do it in a city and place that I already love – I've had two years to kind of let it marinate in what John Schneider does here and the ownership of the Seahawks and just how classy of an organization this is and how driven they are for success, it makes it really special.

"When you think about making this step, you want to do it hopefully with a program, an organization that you believe in. And so to be able to do that was unbelievable."

Durde gets his first chance as a coordinator after spending the last three seasons as defensive line coach with the Dallas Cowboys. Unlike Grubb and Harbaugh, Durde didn't have a prior connection to Macdonald before interviewing with the Seahawks. However, Durde and Macdonald quickly aligned on a vision of the kind of football team they want to have on defense.

"We connected and had the same philosophy on a lot of things and we were going from there," Durde said. "Just really like how the game's played, how people try to create space in the game, where the down-and-distance situation is, how we attack the quarterback, how we make him uncomfortable, those kinds of things. Just talk different things in the run game, how we attack different places. And it just kind of clicked, you know, like as we was going through it. The conversation carried on and, you know, time goes by and you don't feel like time is going by. Just knowing you're kind of with the right people."

Even though Macdonald will retain defensive playcalling duties as head coach – at least to begin their time together in Seattle – Durde said he's eager for the chance that Seattle presents and being a part of an eager group of coaches moving up.

"It's exciting, right?" Durde said. "I feel like that's what it's about. You get together and you communicate and you think of ideas. … Now it's kind of creating that mission mindset of ‘let’s go get it. Let's all work together to get it.'"

Harbaugh has been a special teams coordinator for the University of Michigan for the last five seasons, but is getting his first chance to run a unit in the NFL. Harbaugh and Macdonald spent two seasons coaching on the same staff – one with the Baltimore Ravens under Jay's uncle, John, and another with Michigan under Jay's father, Jim.

"You're always seeking out that next challenge, the next opportunity, and you hope that those things jive with what's best for your family. So all those things kind of aligned," Harbaugh said. "And then to be able to do it with with Mike was something that was really special as an opportunity."

Harbaugh said he wasn't looking to leave Michigan or to stop coaching alongside his dad, who is now the new head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. However, he said it was the right opportunity to move to a different path.

"I would never have wanted to, you know, go my own way unless it really made sense," Harbaugh said. "In all the ways I kind of talked about earlier with this franchise, the direction that I know that Mike's going to take it, all the fantastic people in the front office being so proven and excellent at what they do. So it just kind of made sense. And you know, I'm really thankful for the time that we're able to have together in Michigan."

With the inexperience on the staff, the role of assistant head coach Leslie Frazier may be that much more important. Frazier didn't speak to reporters on Thursday, but he's been a former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and longtime defensive coordinator in the NFL.


– The Seahawks hired Devin Fitzsimmons to serve as their assistant special teams coach under Jay Harbaugh on Thursday. Harbaugh announced during his availability.

"Devin Fitzsimmons, who just came aboard, he has about 10 years in the league and super experienced, crazy smart, awesome football coach. So really thankful to have him aboard to be able to help them that transition," Harbaugh said.

Fitzsimmons was most recently with the Carolina Panthers as their assistant special teams coach, but also has spent time with the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts, in addition to several college stops.

Per Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Seahawks are also hiring Jake Peetz to serve as their passing game coordinator.

Peetz spent the last two seasons in a similar role with the Los Angeles Rams under head coach Sean McVay. He gan in the NFL as a scout with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008 and moved to the coaching staff as an assistant quarterbacks coach in 2012. He's also spent time with the Washington Commanders (2014), Oakland Raiders (2015-17), Alabama (2018), Panthers (2019-20), LSU (2021) and Rams.

According to Adam Schefter of, the Seahawks told Geno Smith on Thursday they will be keeping him on the roster through Friday, which is when his $12.7 million base salary for the 2024 season becomes fully guaranteed.

The move doesn't entirely guarantee that Smith will be a part of the team's roster next season, but it's a significant step in that direction as it shows that he will almost certainly not be released by the team. If a trade opportunity did arise, that guaranteed salary would become payable by whichever team acquired Smith and would not impact Seattle moving forward.

That being said, it always would have been a surprise for Smith to not be the team's quarterback next season. Smith has delivered two really strong seasons under center for the Seahawks that have resulted in back-to-back trips to the Pro Bowl. Smith led the NFL in completion percentage in 2022 and was among the top-rated quarterbacks in the entire league for the second half of last season.