RENTON — The Seattle Seahawks moved quickly Thursday to fill their vacant defensive coordinator position by hiring Dan Quinn away from Florida to replace Gus Bradley, who left to become the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Seahawks made the hiring official just hours after Bradley was hired by Jaguars.
Quinn returns to Seattle after spending the past two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Florida and getting his first experience in that role. There is plenty of familiarity for Quinn with the staff and personnel in Seattle. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as the Seahawks’ defensive-line coach. He was first hired in that role by Jim Mora for the 2009 season then was retained by Pete Carroll in his first season as Seattle’s head coach.
Despite being away for two seasons, Quinn will see a few familiar faces on Seattle’s defense when he returns. Starting defensive linemen Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Chris Clemons were all with Quinn in 2010, along with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.
Quinn will take over a defense that was lauded for much of the season and finished as the top scoring defense in the NFL, giving up 15 points per game.
Yet Seattle struggled to hold on in late-game situations, including the Seahawks’ 30-28 loss to Atlanta in the divisional playoffs. Seattle rallied from being down by 20 to start the fourth quarter to take a 28-27 lead with 31 seconds left. Atlanta then hit two quick passes and got into field goal range, where Matt Bryant’s 49-yarder proved to be the winner.
It was the fourth time this season the Seahawks surrendered points in the final 30 seconds of regulation that either lost them the game or sent it to overtime.
In his two seasons at Florida, Quinn’s units were among the best in college football. The Gators ranked eighth nationally in total defense in 2011 and fifth in 2012. The Gators allowed just 286.7 yards and 14.5 points per game last season.
Quinn previously worked in the NFL as a defensive-line coach in San Francisco, Miami and with the New York Jets.