There’s a positive and a negative way to take a hire like this, but unfortunately we don’t know all the circumstances around the hire, so the best we can do is speculate. In spite of what remarks are given to the media, we’re not behind closed doors and able to understand the full rationale for Leslie Frazier being the Assistant Head Coach.
For starters, it should be pointed out that not every team HAS an assistant head coach. Usually, someone gets that moniker as a fluffed up promotion of sorts, to coincide with their other job, be it coordinator or some position coach. But, rarely do you see someone as JUST the assistant head coach.
The positive spin on it is: Leslie Frazier is an experienced professional who can help create a softer landing for Mike Macdonald, first-time head coach. Frazier’s been a head coach before, he’s interviewed to be a head coach umpteen times, he’s been a defensive coordinator multiple times over, they worked together briefly, so I’m assuming they’re both pretty like-minded in their football sensibilities. But, no matter how good you are at calling plays, no matter how smart of a football mind you have, there’s no substitute for experience. Someone to teach you, or remind you, of certain things you might not have considered otherwise, when you were focused solely on one side of the football.
The negative spin on it is: the Seahawks just hired a babysitter for Mike Macdonald. They’re hedging their bets a little bit. You’ve got a first-time head coach over here, and you’ve got a well-respected NFL veteran over there, and who are the players going to listen to? Who are the players going to trust more? Maybe Frazier sees this as his last chance to make a real impact. If he can drive a wedge, and maybe Macdonald makes a mistake or two, there’s a chance to be an interim head coach, and if he plays his cards right, a full-time head coach sooner rather than later.
I will say that seems incredibly unlikely. Everything I’ve heard about Frazier is that he’s a phenomenal human being. I have no reason to expect there’s any ulterior motives about this move. But, it is interesting.
If Frazier is really the mentor he’s made out to be, then maybe Macdonald’s whole plan around hiring the remainder of the coaching staff is to go younger across the board. Sure, Macdonald will call the plays at first, but if he hires a green assistant to be a first-time DC, Frazier can be right by his side to guide his hand and help accelerate his development. We don’t know how long Macdonald intends on calling the defense, but presumably he would like to pass the baton sooner rather than later, so he can proceed to being what he was hired to be: this team’s head coach. As he said, the head coach has to coach the entire football team, not just his specialty.
My hunch is that this will be a good thing. My hunch is also that Frazier probably won’t be here longer than a year or two, and then either he’ll retire or he’ll find another job somewhere else. In the grand scheme of things, probably not a huge deal. But, potentially significant in the overall development of Macdonald the Seahawks’ head coach.