The hottest name related to NFL head coaching vacancies would rather cool it on such talk right now.
Dan Quinn has more pressing matters.
Last week the coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks’ top-ranked defense was more like Anderson Cooper; he was interviewing with people from all over the country. The New York Jets flew into Seattle to talk to him about becoming their next head coach. The Buffalo Bills talked to Quinn about their opening. The San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears also interviewed him. So did the Atlanta Falcons.
If the Harlem Globetrotters had an opening they probably would have talked to Quinn, too.
The only NFL team with a head coaching vacancy that didn’t talk to Quinn was Oakland. But the Raiders did interview Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell — and they always do things a little differently, anyway.
Last week the league allowed needy teams to talk to coaching candidates from teams on a first-round playoff bye. This week, Quinn wants the focus to be on his current team, not a potential future one.
“Fortunately the NFL has a system in place that during the bye and off time it allows the coaches that have that bye to get a chance to visit,” Quinn said following Wednesday’s outdoor practice for Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game against Carolina. “Through the support of Coach (Pete Carroll) and the people here, it’s a terrific deal.”
As for how the interviews went, Quinn disguised his answer more than the defenses he devises.
“I’ll defer to the clubs on that in their own policies as they go,” he said. “That was kind of past here during the bye. It was nice getting back into the weekend, and finally figuring out who we get to play against. And the focus has all been back to Carolina.”
Pressed for any sense he might have gotten from the Jets, Bills, 49ers, Bears and Falcons or what he may have learned about himself and his philosophies last week, Quinn said only: “It was a great experience and I was glad I was able to go through it.”
Beyond that, nothing else but a polite grin.
It seems more likely that Quinn leaves after this Seattle season ends than either Bevell or Seahawks assistant head coach Tom Cable, the former head man of the Raiders who also interviewed with the Jets last week.
NFL rules prohibit hiring teams from announcing a new coach from a playoff team until after that team’s season is complete.
THOMAS AND LYNCH “CONNECT”
Last month after Lynch broke off a long run against San Francisco at CenturyLink Field, a helmet-less Earl Thomas came off the sideline and shared a brief stare-down with the thumping running back amid a roaring crowd and celebrating teammates.
Wednesday the All-Pro safety was asked what that was all about.
“It’s just a mutual understanding,” Thomas said.
“The biggest surprise for me out of this year is our relationship. I think since I’ve been here, we’ve never really connected. But I just decided to go talk to him and see what kind of guy he was.”
What did Thomas learn?
“I realize that, man, this guy is just like me in a lot of ways,” Thomas said. “He’s a dog — his whole demeanor. He’s a man amongst boys out there.”
Thomas said he was the one to approach Lynch at a practice earlier this season seeking this new connection.
“Yes — me listening to my inner voice,” Thomas said. “My inner voice is never wrong, so I did it.”
MOEAKI’S LATEST PAIN
Carroll has already ruled safety and special teams player Jeron Johnson out for Saturday’s game with the elbow injury he sustained during the regular-season finale Dec. 28 against St. Louis. So it was no surprise he did not practice Wednesday.
But Tony Moeaki’s absence because of a calf injury was new — and is a potential issue for the Seahawks’ offense against Carolina. The tight end Seattle signed Nov. 4 after he reached an injury settlement with Buffalo over a summer hamstring issue has eight catches in six games, with an average of 16.8 yards per catch. And he’s becoming a favorite target of Russell Wilson’s to extend drives; his last four receptions have been for first downs.
The reasons why he was let go by the Chiefs, for whom he was a rookie starter with 47 catches in 2010, then the Bills weren’t because of skill but injuries. He missed all of 2011 because of an injured knee and has a history of shoulder problems; he was inactive for the Dec. 21 game at Arizona because of a shoulder injury.
Carroll is scheduled to address the injury situation Thursday after the week’s final full practice.
Other than the key loss of emerging defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who went on injured reserve Tuesday with a calf injury, the Seahawks are in decent shape physically for the playoffs — as they should be following last week’s bye. Center Max Unger was back fully participating and will start Saturday at center for the first time since he sustained a high-ankle sprain seven games ago at Kansas City.
PAGING THE “12TH MAN”
ESPN reported Panthers quarterback Cam Newton remarked to the Carolina media if the Panthers do their jobs Saturday the CenturyLink crowd “won’t be as much of a factor.”
The bye has apparently helped Lynch’s sore lower back. The 1,306-yard rusher with 17 total touchdowns this season missed the practices four and three days before games for much of November and December. But he practiced fully Wednesday. … Veteran DE Michael Bennett sat out practice to rest.