Nearly a month after accepting the job as Seattle Seahawks head coach, Pete Carroll has his coaching staff in place.
And Carroll also faces his first major decision, whether or not future Hall of Fame left tackle Walter Jones will be part of the Seahawks’ future.
Only two coaches have been retained from former head coach Jim Mora’s staff. They are defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and defensive line coach Dan Quinn, who will keep their old positions on Carroll’s staff.
Eight of the 21 coaches are from Carroll’s USC staff.
“I’m excited about the makeup of our staff,” Carroll said in a prepared statement. “It’s an energetic group of teachers with a nice blend of experience. Now we can turn our focus on the task at hand – competing in the NFC West.”
The announcement on Thursday of the new coaching staff includes two names that had not been mentioned in the coaching hires over the past two weeks.
Luke Butkus is the team’s new offensive quality control coach, and will help out with the offensive line. He is the nephew of Hall of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus.
Butkus, who played center at the University of Illinois, was an offensive assistant line coach with the Chicago Bears from 2007 to 2009.
And Dave Canales will be another quality control coach on offense. Canales was an offensive administrative assistant last season on Carroll’s USC staff.
During a Thursday interview on local radio station KJR-AM, Carroll said he had talked to Jones, and understands part of the reason for Seattle’s struggles offensively, specifically in establishing a consistent running game, was because Jones was not healthy enough to get on the field.
“One of the big issues is Walter Jones, and his ability to return or not return,” said Carroll, when asked about things his team needed to do to get better in 2010. “He has been a great player in this organization for years. And not having him available last year made a difference. And right now we don’t know how he’s going to be able to recuperate, with his injury and all.
“I talked to Walter and he’s doing everything he can and we’ll see in time where he stands. But that’s an issue. And there’s a little bit of a ripple effect, moving guys around to fill that left tackle spot. It’s a skill position in the NFL, and one that’s really critical. So we have to see what we can do there.”
Jones, who failed to make it back on the field last season after he had microfracture surgery on his left knee a year ago, has missed Seattle’s past 20 games over two seasons.
He said during end-of-season interviews with reporters a month ago that he’s in good shape and hopes to get back on the field this year. However, Jones indicated that a decision on whether or not he’ll return likely will be made by the organization, not by him, and could come as early as this month.
Jones tried to play early in the 2009 season, but the pain in his knee never subsided. Part of the issue for Jones, who turned 36 in January, is he has a kidney condition that does not allow him to take anti-inflammatory medications, which could help him better deal with the pain in his recuperating knee.
However, Jones told reporters last month his knee feels fine, and he’s been training in Florida during his stint on the injured reserve for a possible return next season.
“I think that’s going to be a decision that the organization is going to have to make when it’s all said and done,” Jones aid. “So all I can do is prepare myself and try to get ready to get back on the football field.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437