Sources – Seahawks hire Ryan Grubb as offensive coordinator
The Seattle Seahawks are hiring former University of Washington offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb to the same position on new coach Mike McDonald’s staff, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Pete Thamel.
Grubb accepted the offensive coordinator job at Alabama after spending the past two seasons at UW under coach Kalen DeBoer, where he coordinated a pass-heavy offense that ranked sixth in the FBS in yards per game (487.0) and sixth in scoring (36.7) in that span. With Michael Penix Jr. at quarterback, the Huskies have led the FBS in passing yards per game (355.8) the past two seasons and rank 15th in dropback percentage, hitting passes 61.8% of the time.
Grubb is set to be the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Alabama, having followed DeBoer to Tuscaloosa when he was hired in January following Nick Saban’s retirement. UW has passed on hiring Grubb as DeBoer’s replacement.
Instead, Grubb will return to Seattle for his first job in the NFL. He became the third coordinator hired for Macdonald’s Seahawks staff. They drafted Jay Harbaugh to run special teams and Aden Durde to coordinate their defense, though McDonald will call plays on that side of the ball. Seattle also hired Leslie Frazier as an assistant coach.
At UW, Grubb also served as the Huskies’ quarterbacks coach, working closely in that role with Penix as the QB threw a total of 67 touchdown passes in 28 games over the past two seasons. Penix finished second in Heisman Trophy voting in December.
This connection will fuel speculation about drafting the Seattle Penix, who is widely expected to be selected in the first two rounds. The Seahawks have the 16th overall pick, no second-round pick and an additional third-rounder.
Geno Smith is under contract for two more seasons and $47.5 million, though he may not be able to remain Seattle’s starter after an up-and-down 2023 season. That total includes a $12.7 million base salary for 2024 that will become fully guaranteed if Smith remains on Seattle’s roster on Feb. 16.
Grubb replaces Shane Waldron, who served as the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator the past three seasons and was hired to the same position with the Chicago Bears in January after Seattle fired Pete Carroll.
Grubb has worked with DeBoer at four previous stops and served as OC for all four programs: UW, Fresno State, Eastern Michigan and Sioux Falls. He began his college coaching career in 2005 at South Dakota State, where he worked with wide receivers and running backs, and also coached offensive line and QBs during his nearly two decades in the college ranks.
While Grubb has never worked in the NFL, McDonald said during his introductory press conference that NFL playing experience is not a prerequisite for his offensive coordinator in Seattle.
“It’s nowhere near the top of the list,” MacDonald said. “We’re looking for the right person to come here and build this thing, so we want someone who’s open, has a growth mindset, can connect with his players and build a unique system for the Seattle Seahawks, who’s going to be here for a long time and be the one to lead it.”
The Seahawks have requested an interview for the vacant offensive coordinator position with Detroit Lions passing game coordinator Tanner Engstrand, according to the MMQB. Former UCLA coach Chip Kelly and former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson were also among his interviews, sources told ESPN. The New York Giants blocked their request to speak with offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, who has previously interviewed twice for the head coaching position in Seattle.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler contributed to this report.