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Hawk Talk highlights: Assistants coveted for HC jobs

By Brent Stecker

Considering the Seahawks' status as one of only two 13-win teams in the NFL, plus their rapid ascent to the league's upper echelon since Pete Carroll's arrival as head coach in 2010, it's not surprising that members of the coaching staff are being linked to some of the NFL's six head coach vacancies.

bevell
Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell (left) has been linked to several head coaching vacancies. (AP)

Since Black Monday, when the Lions, Buccaneers, Browns, Redskins and Vikings all joined the Texans in looking for new head coaches, the names of Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable have all popped up in the rumor mill.

The possibility of the Seahawks losing any or all of those coaches at the end of the postseason was a topic of discussion during the latest edition of "Hawk Talk" with Danny O'Neil. The full transcript can be read here. Highlights are below.

Garth W asked which assistant coach out of Cable, Quinn and Bevell would be the biggest loss for the Seahawks.

O'Neil: In my opinion? Cable would be the biggest loss. This is an incredible defense, and while Quinn has done a great deal to improve it, the raw materials are incredible. And when you have a team who has seen its coordinator get a head-coaching job in back-to-back years, there's going to be a line of applicants. Tom Cable is the one who has assembled this running game, and in some ways, the line choices reflect what he wants.

TimM asked which statement Danny would put more faith in: that Earl Thomas is the best safety in the league, or that Richard Sherman is the best cornerback.

O'Neil: It's a great question, and I don't know how to answer. I think it's possible that Eric Berry is closer to Earl Thomas than any other cornerback is to Richard Sherman this season. But I don't think that ANY safety could do what Earl Thomas does for this team.

DLG976 asked what Danny's assessment of linebacker Malcolm Smith's play is compared to K.J. Wright.

O'Neil: I think K.J. was having a very good year. I think he can match up in pass coverage better than Malcolm. I think Malcolm Smith was outstanding against the run vs. St. Louis. Hard for me to find anything to comment on.

Russiaoveramerika asked if Danny thinks the Seahawks need receiver Percy Harvin to get to the Super Bowl.

O'Neil: I think Seattle is still capable of winning the Super Bowl without Percy Harvin. The Seahawks are 13-3 with him playing 16 snaps and returning one kickoff. His presence would help, though, and make it more likely.

Tory asked if it's it unrealistic to expect Harvin to add much to the offense because of his limited playing time over the last year.

O'Neil: Absolutely not. That might be true for a receiver in a timing-based offense such as the one the Seahawks ran under Mike Holmgren. Percy Harvin is not that kind of player. He's the kind of guy you get the ball to in space and let him go. Not only that, but he's played in Darrell Bevell's passing scheme before and Bevell has coached him.

MikeH asked if Danny would prefer the Seahawks beat the 49ers on the way to the Super Bowl or have someone else take them out on the way.

O'Neil: Well, as someone who loves watching football and enjoys great games, I would look forward to a game between San Francisco and Seattle. As someone evaluating the best (i.e. easiest) path to the Super Bowl, no, the 49ers are a team very capable of winning.

IAmTheWalRuskell asked if the loss to the Cardinals at home helped or hurt the Seahawks' playoff chances.

O'Neil: Great question. Not sure if Seattle needed to lose that game, but I don't think it hurt this team.

Paco-POA asked if the offense has regressed lately or if defenses have just adapted to it, and what the main issue to be solved is.

O'Neil: The main issue, in my opinion? Russell Wilson has been contained. He hasn't broken contain, and even when scrambling has been kept from getting out on the edge of the defense and creating with either his feet or his arm. The question -- and I'm not certain the answer -- is whether that's the result of a change in defensive strategy or the Seahawks are consciously curtailing his opportunities to move.

Double S Xpress asked if receiver Doug Baldwin's one catch for 8 yards over the last two games is a reason for concern.

O'Neil: Yes, a single reception by Doug Baldwin is a concern. Especially given the fact of how short-handed Seattle already was at receiver.

Kathryn asked how serious receiver Jermaine Kearse's ankle injury is.

O'Neil: Not bad. He could have played in an emergency on Sunday (i.e. if the Seahawks were trailing and couldn't get anything going on offense). He's expected to be back at practice on Thursday.

Personnel Q asked if the play of defensive end Red Bryant and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane has improved at the end of the year due to more rotation.

O'Neil: I thought Mebane has always been this impactful, and I think Bryant is healthy this year. Also, he was diagnosed with sleep apnea, and he's sleeping better now.

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