The Seattle Seahawks announced some coaching staff additions on Tuesday, and among them was making the hiring of Ken Norton official. Pete Carroll hired the long-time 49ers linebacker and short time 49ers assistant coach as his defensive coordinator.
The news about Norton dropped yesterday afternoon while I was out to dinner with some friends. Jennifer Chan asked if she should get the Norton news, and I figured it was something related to him commenting on Reuben Foster’s arrest. I checked the editorial dashboard and saw the story was that Norton would be joining the Seahawks as defensive coordinator.
I was certainly surprised by the news, but upon learning that Norton would be getting the defensive coordinator job, I was not at all surprised. Kyle Shanahan could have told Norton he was stuck and not allowed to leave, but I’m not really sure what good would have come from that. If Norton had two or three years with the 49ers, OK, maybe it makes sense to say no. But otherwise, I’d say this is a good situation for Shanahan. He builds his reputation as an assistant-friendly head coach, and the 49ers don’t exactly lose a long-time assistant.
We have not heard any word about 49ers position coaches being considered for coordinator jobs (Norton aside). Quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello could be an interesting name a year from now if Jimmy Garoppolo has a strong 2018 season. Defensive quality control coach DeMeco Ryans is viewed by many as a rising star at an early stage in his coaching career. He would not jump from DQC to DC at this point, but he could be pushing for a position coach job sooner rather than later.
At some point, Kyle Shanahan ideally would have to make some decisions about his rising assistant coaches. Letting Norton go to Seattle did not seem like a particularly difficult decision to make for Shanahan. It will get a little more interesting when we start talking about assistants that have been in Santa Clara since Shanahan was hired.