RENTON—A position coach most of his 13 years of coaching, Rocky Seto received an interesting job title this offseason from Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll — defensive passing game coordinator.
It’s a unique job description that does not exist as a title on any other NFL coaching staff, although most of the other 31 teams in the league likely have a coach responsible for some of Seto’s job duties.
The trend for some NFL teams, including Baltimore and Tennessee, has been to hire longtime defensive gurus such as Steve Spagnuolo and Gregg Williams, adding another set of experienced eyes to critique how their defenses function.
But for the Seahawks, that job will be handled in-house by Seto, who works closely with new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in establishing the foundation for Seattle’s defense.
“Mainly I’m just assisting Coach Quinn on the defensive end, and whatever Coach Carroll has,” Seto said. “I think it’s a unique role because Coach (Carroll) and I have been together for 13 years. So I kind of fit into niches, and really whatever the team and the defense needs.
“It may be centered (on) the pass game. It may be about turnovers. It may be about tackling, or teaching principles. Ultimately, Dan (Quinn) makes all the decisions, but we all collectively as a staff come up with the suggestions.”
Seto, 37, played linebacker at the University of Southern California for two seasons (1997 and 1998), and coached there all but one year from 1999 to 2009, serving as the team’s defensive coordinator for Carroll in his final season.
Seto received inquiries to returning to the college game. UCLA verbally offered him the defensive coordinator job when Rick Neuheisel was the head coach in 2011, but the Bruins changed their mind before making it official.
Seto’s name was also mentioned as a possible candidate for the University of Washington defensive coordinator position because of his ties to Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian from their days together at USC. But Sarkisian ultimately hired Justin Wilcox after letting Nick Holt go before last season.
Carroll initially hired Seto as a defensive quality control coach when he took the Seahawks job three years ago. Seto was promoted a year later to assistant defensive backs coach, and this year moved into his current position.
“He just took over that role as we were growing as a staff,” Carroll said. “His assignments had really lined up for him to really be emphasizing the throwing game, and all of the stuff that goes along with that. He sort of grew into that one, and I felt like he was doing the job of the coordinator type.
“I’ve been around him for a long time and he’s grown. He’s done such a great job coaching and he deserves that responsibility.”
Seto appreciates his new role.
“If I can help out in improving their teaching principles, or teaching methods, or any of their concepts and make them more concise, that’s kind of how I see my role,” Seto said. “It took me a little bit of an adjustment because of all those years in college, I was very hands-on. So it’s been kind of nice at the same time, because it has allowed me to take kind of a step back and see things from a global standpoint, and really kind of see it through (Coach Carroll’s) eyes, and the defensive coordinator’s eyes.”
HARVIN RETURNS TO TEAM
Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin returned to the team facility this week after having surgery on Aug. 1 in New York to repair a partially torn labrum in his hip.
Harvin remains on the team’s physically unable to perform (PUP) list during training camp, and is not expected to return until Seattle’s game against New Orleans on Dec. 2 at the earliest.
“He’s trying to get back as fast as he can,” Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. “He’s so motivated. It’s going to take him some time, obviously. But just to have him around — to have a guy like that who brings energy when he walks into the room — that’s what you want. When he walks into the room you feel his energy, you feel his passion — you feel his love for the game.”
WILSON CAN HIT TOO
A former second baseman at North Carolina, who was drafted in the fourth round of the major league draft in 2011 by the Colorado Rockies, it should come as no surprise that Wilson won the Seahawks’ annual home-run competition during this week’s training camp.
Wilson hit four home runs compared to one by long snapper Clint Gresham in the finals.
Wilson’s prize? A Mitsubishi Montero the Seahawks had hauled from a local impound lot to the team’s facility. Wilson could not claim the prize because it would violate NFL salary cap rules.
“It’s nice,” Wilson said. “I was talking with the quarterbacks after we won and I was like, ‘This could be our family car.’ Whenever somebody flies in, we go pick him up in this car and welcome him to the city. We have the keys.”
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org/seahawks