Yes, there will be some changes to the Seahawks’ defensive scheme in 2022, says Clint Hurtt, the man who will now be calling the shots on that side of the ball.

But Seattle’s new defensive coordinator, who talked to the media Wednesday after having been officially announced on Tuesday, said the biggest change may come in attitude.

“One thing that is going to be significantly different this year, we are going to be aggressive,” said Hurtt, who was Seattle’s defensive line coach from 2017-21 and replaces the fired Ken Norton Jr. as coordinator.

So does that mean just blitzing more? The Seahawks blitzed 22% of the time in 2021, 22nd in the NFL.

“Our answer to that would be yes,” Hurtt said. “Would it be in an ordinate amount, you know, something crazy? No, it’s not going to be that.”

Instead, Hurtt said that “a lot of that (being more aggressive) is in the mentality in which you play.”


Something has to change after a season in which Seattle was just 25th in the NFL in forced turnovers (18) and tied for 21st in sacks with 34.

But as part of that shift in emphasis, Hurtt said there will be some schematic changes made to focus on aggression.

Among those will be decreasing the amount that the team’s edge rushers dropped into coverage last season.

Carlos Dunlap, for instance, had a career-high 40 coverage snaps in 2021 compared to 14 in his eight games with the Seahawks in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus.

“I’m a D-line guy by nature,” Hurtt said. “I don’t want to see big guys walking backwards. So that should be a really quick answer so everybody understands that. The last thing I want to be doing, I’m not going backwards. I want to be going forward.

“Now, with that being said, are there going to be certain packages and certain situations where you could see a guy dropped on occasion? Yes. But you have to understand where schematically that plays in with trying to create issues for the QB. But the biggest thing is those guys going forward. So I want to make sure everybody understands. … Guys will be attacking a lot more going upfield and not working on backpedaling, I can promise you that.”


Hurtt also said he plans to get Jamal Adams more involved as a pass rusher again. Adams had 51 pass rush snaps out of 872 total in 2021, according to Pro Football Focus, and didn’t record a sack after setting an NFL record for a defensive back with 9.5 sacks in 2020 when he had 104 pass rush snaps out of 784 total.

“Jamal is still a difference maker,” Hurtt said. “How we use him, that’s gonna be on me. It’s our responsibility, my responsibility, to make sure we put him in position so he can be at his very best, and we know how great he is doing that.”

As for how the Seahawks will line up, Hurtt said it will be multiple, with some 4-3 and 3-4, confirming that part of the idea behind Seattle’s defensive staff shake-up is to merge some of what the team has traditionally done with Pete Carroll — specifically, cover three coverage in the secondary — with some of what Hurtt learned when working under Vic Fangio with the Bears. Fangio is known for two-high safety looks.

“The 3-4 system is something that I’ve really embraced and obviously Vic Fangio is a big influence,” Hurtt said. “… There’s going to be some element of that. I will say we’re going to be multiple.”

Along with promoting Hurtt to defensive coordinator, Seattle also added Sean Desai, who was the Bears defensive coordinator last year, as associate head coach for defense. Desai and Hurtt worked together with the Bears from 2014-16, and for two seasons each worked under Fangio when he was the DC in Chicago. Desai worked under Fangio from 2015-18 (Hurtt left for Seattle in 2017).

Hurtt, 43, helped recruit Desai to come to Seattle after Desai was not retained with the Bears (who changed head coaches) and also did not get coordinator jobs after interviewing with the Raiders, Vikings and Giants.


Hurtt said because his background is on the defensive front, he wanted to bring in coaches with strong histories working with the secondary. Seattle also hired Karl Scott as defensive passing game coordinator after he spent last season as the Vikings defensive backs coach.

“You want someone who’s really strong that’s opposite of you,” Hurtt said. “… And because Sean, I worked with him for three years in Chicago so we already had a great relationship.”

Hurtt specifically praised Desai’s ability to teach defensive backs to sniff out if a play is a run or a pass.

“That’s what Sean is really adept at, teaching guys to have great eye discipline,” Hurtt said.

Hurtt, who has never been a coordinator at any level, is the fifth defensive coordinator since Carroll became Seattle’s coach in 2010 and the second to be hired following a firing. Norton replaced Kris Richard following the 2017 season, returning to Seattle after a three-year stint with the Raiders.

The combination of promoting Hurtt and adding Desai and Scott marks the most significant makeover of the defensive coaching staff in Carroll’s tenure and an acknowledgment that change was needed after Seattle fell to 28th in yards allowed last season — a far cry from the days when the Seahawks ranked no lower than fifth in yards allowed every season from 2012-16, twice allowing the fewest in the league.

“We’ve got good talent,” Hurtt said. “How we use it — obviously that’s always the biggest thing. You want to put your best guys in position to flourish and be impactful in the game, and that’s something that I will control, putting those guys in the best position.”


— The Seahawks on Wednesday signed free agent running back Darwin Thompson to a futures contract. Thompson was drafted by Kansas City in 2019 in the sixth round out of Utah State and appeared in 26 games for the Chiefs in 2019-20, with 225 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 64 carries. He spent last season on Tampa Bay’s practice squad and then returned to Kansas City’s practice squad on Jan. 14 and then became a free agent.