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New Seattle coach Mike Macdonald takes it all in during first day of Seahawks rookie minicamp

Takes opportunity to learn how to run practice

By TIM BOOTH, AP Sports Writer
Published: May 3, 2024, 5:00pm
8 Photos
Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald walks on the field past cornerback Andrew Hayes (22), strong safety JJ Ross (13) and free safety Irshaad Davis (24) during the NFL football team&#039;s rookie minicamp Friday, May 3, 2024, in Renton, Wash.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald walks on the field past cornerback Andrew Hayes (22), strong safety JJ Ross (13) and free safety Irshaad Davis (24) during the NFL football team's rookie minicamp Friday, May 3, 2024, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson) Photo Gallery

RENTON — Mike Macdonald bounced around. A little time with the defensive linemen. A time little with the linebackers. A time little with the offense.

It was his decision to be an observer on the first day of the Seattle Seahawks’ rookie minicamp and his first somewhat full practice as an NFL head coach.

“(Defensive coordinator Aden Durdee) was calling the plays on defense because I was like, ‘I think I need to figure out how to run a practice first,’ ” Macdonald said with a chuckle.

“It was fun. There are definitely things that you are taking notes on, what you want to fix and things we felt like we could have done a little bit better job of. But overall, great effort. Coaches were into it. A lot of enthusiasm. So a good first start.”

While the Seahawks started their offseason program with veterans a few weeks ago, there were limits on the amount of on-field action. So Friday was the first true practice Macdonald has run since becoming the youngest head coach in the NFL when he was hired as Pete Carroll’s replacement.

For now, the focus is on teaching, especially with a draft class that should have some immediate contributors like first-round defensive tackle Byron Murphy II and guard Christian Haynes. Murphy signed his four-year rookie contract with an option for the fifth-year on Friday.

But it’s also a learning opportunity for Macdonald to determine what works and what doesn’t within the practice structure for when the full team gets together later this month.

“A lot of it is from a blueprint of things that we’ve done in our past that we have tweaked. Things that some coaches have done. Just some meetings over the course of time that we’ve been here and try to come up with a good flow,” Macdonald said.

“And then the load and how you want to structure that or how you expect it. So these are all things that we’ll go back to the drawing board and see how it comes out as we design OTAs and training camp.”

One thing that was noticeably different, for now at least, was the music.

Loud, booming music was a staple of Carroll’s tenure in Seattle — almost always from a playlist he approved.

When Friday’s practice began, the field was silent except for the sounds of whistles blowing, players hitting blocking sleds and coaching chatter. The music eventually kicked on about 15 minutes into practice, but at a much lower decibel level.

Macdonald said there was music in Baltimore last season when he was the defensive coordinator but “probably not as much as we’ll have here.”

“We’ll kick it up a little bit, but trying to find the right balance,” he said.

Eventually, Macdonald’s goal is to be more defensive oriented. His success creating the defense in Baltimore that tied for the league lead in turnovers last season and led the league in yards per play allowed is what made him such a hot coaching candidate. Macdonald will be calling the defense for Seattle during the season as well.

But for now, Macdonald wants to be involved with the whole team.

“I just want to get a great feel for the team and the guys and what we’re coaching,” Macdonald said. “It’s really cool to see how it all comes together from individual to team.”

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