Los Angeles Rams Schedule: Deciphering Mike Macdonald’s New Look 2024 Seahawks

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With a new head coach, everything changes for NFL teams from the broad to the minute. So the opponents that the Los Angeles Rams play this season with new head coaches have already begun the metamorphosis into brand-new teams.

The Rams’ schedule will have the Seattle Seahawks twice on it this season. Let’s break down what the Seahawks’ new coaching regime might look like in 2024

Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks

Mike McDonald‘s Lineage

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
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2024 will mark the first time in the McVay era, that the Rams will compete against a non-Carroll led Seattle Seahawks team. Mike McDonald takes over for the 72-year-old veteran head coach. The Seahawks opted to stick with a defensive-minded head coach to replace their long-time HC. The 36-year-old Georgian was most recently the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens.

McDonald worked his way up the coaching ranks with the Ravens, starting in 2014 as a coaching intern. By the next season he was promoted to a defensive assistant and in 2017 he was made defensive backs coach and later linebackers coach. He left in 2021 to work for Ravens head coach John Harbaugh’s brother, Jim at Michigan as defensive coordinator. He rejoined the Ravens as their defensive coordinator in 2022, taking over for Don “Wink” Martindale. By 2023, McDonald had engineered the top defense in the league, allowing just 16.5 points per game.

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A big reason for the Ravens’ defensive success was because of two moves made; drafting safety Kyle Hamilton, which allowed them to play in a base nickel defense. And adding Roquan Smith to pair with Patrick Queen. The duo became one of the most fierce linebacking tandems in the league.

One of the biggest schematic changes he made was slashing the amount of committed pass rushers. Under Martindale, the Raven blitzed over 30 percent of the time, sixth most in the league in 2021. In 2023 they ranked 25th.

Macdonald uses a diverse mix of coverages, leaning the most on Covers 3, 4, and 1. But he is also one of the leading practitioners of Cover 6.

The Seahawks under Macdonald

Defense

With the Seahawks, McDonald inherited two of the top young cornerbacks in the league; Riq Woolen and Devon Witherspoon. They also brought in safety Rayshawn Jenkins in free agency to ensure coverage versatility. He rebuilt the linebacking core with Tyrel Dodson and Jerome Baker in free agency. They also added Texas defensive tackle Byron Murphy in the first round of the draft. He was roundly seen as the best defensive lineman in the draft.

The team building resembles what he did over two seasons in Baltimore, but on a budget.

The key for Macdonald will be boosting the production of the two edge rushers. Uchenna Nwosu and Boye Mafe have been paired together on the edge for the last two seasons, but they haven’t found a synchronicity playing together. As noted before, Macdonald wants to get QB pressure with four pass rushers. This allows the secondary to remain off the line, in zone, preventing explosive pass plays from occurring.

Offense

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Macdonald brought in Washington Huskies offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb to run the offense. The UW offense was a spectacular sight to behold last season. Six players from that team were brought into the NFL in this year’s draft.

Seattle’s offense has all the makings of great offense and looks a lot like the Huskies offense. A quarterback with a good arm, great pieces on the offensive line, a trio of fantastic receivers, and a pair of bruising running backs.

Grubb’s offense was predicated on pushing the ball down the field. Michael Penix attempted 43 big-time throws (PFF’s proprietary stat) by far the most in college football last season. He also had one of the deepest average depth of target among high-volume passers, 10.7 yards.

This allowed for an exploitative rushing game. The passing game pushed defenses on their heels and deeper into the secondary, opening up plenty of rushing room.

Geno Smith is certainly willing and able to go long. D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba make for a formidable group both deep down the sideline and in the slot. In theory, this offense will capitalize on Kenneth Murray‘s homerun-hitting ability.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams
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