Seahawks seek to build dynamic defense


Renton – Building from the ground up.

That’s how new Seattle Seahawks defensive backs coach Tim Lewis described the process head coach Jim Mora and the rest of the team’s defensive staff is going through in preparing the team’s defensive philosophy.

It begins with things as simple as the way the team will huddle, to the intricacies of how the defensive play will be called and putting together a new defensive playbook.

“It’s really dynamic,” said Lewis, who has been involved in many defensive schemes during his 14-year NFL coaching career. “It gives me a chill. … This is going to be a dynamic group. I’m not so sure if they wouldn’t refer to this as the West Coast defense. It’s really neat to have as many people with as much experience as we’ve got on our defensive side.”

Lewis was one of the last three coaches the Seahawks hired during the offseason who were made available to Seattle-area reporters Thursday. Joining him were assistant head coach/offensive line coach Dan Quinn and receivers coach Robert Prince.

Tim Lewis is the brother of Seattle pro personnel director Will Lewis. The brothers’ mother, Loretta, who has lived with Tim Lewis for the last seven years, was excited to learn her two sons would be working together. The grandmother will now get to spend more time with her six grandchildren from both brothers.

“She got a big thrill when I told her I was going to take this job,” Tim Lewis said.

Quinn talked about his persistence in securing an NFL job as the San Francisco quality control coach when Mora served as defensive coordinator for the 49ers, which included using a connection with a sister-and-law who had worked with Mora’s wife (Shannon) at Nordstrom in San Diego.

“I used absolutely every possible angle,” said Quinn, who was coaching the defensive line at Hofstra University at the time.

Quinn has experience coaching in both 4-3 and 3-4 defensive systems. He coached the 3-4 while with the New York Jets, and he coached both defensive fronts while with Miami. Seattle will be a 4-3 team, but Quinn said he’ll use that experience to figure out what best fits Seattle’s front-line players on defense.

“At the end of the day you’re still looking for the best players,” said Quinn, when asked about how much size factors into the equation of finding effective players. “And sometimes it’s not just the 330-pound nose tackle.”

Prince coached with defensive coordinator Bradley at Fort Lewis College, a Division II school in Durango, Colo. He’ll oversee a unit that had trouble staying healthy last season.

Prince said he’s likes the Seahawks’ top two receivers returning in Nate Burleson and Deion Branch but understands Seattle ultimately will have to develop playmakers who can complement the team’s passing game.

Prince also talked about former University of Washington product Reggie Williams, who will become a free agent on Feb. 27. Prince coached Williams while serving as the assistant receivers coach in Jacksonville.

“We had a good relationship,” Prince said. “For whatever reason, it hasn’t turned out as well as he wanted. And I know he’s a free agent and I do have a relationship with him, but we’ll look at all the options with all of the guys.”

Extra points

The Kansas City Chiefs hired Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley as their new head coach, a source close to the situation told The Kansas City Star. … The NFL Players Association is appealing a federal court decision in San Francisco ordering the union to pay $28.1 million to retired players for allegedly cutting them out of lucrative marketing deals. … The New England Patriots put the franchise tag on Matt Cassel, making it tougher for other teams to sign the free-agent quarterback. Franchising Cassel means the Patriots can match any offer made by another team or allow him to sign with that team in exchange for two first-round draft picks. His franchise tag value is $14.65 million offer for 2009. … Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Todd Weiner, Seattle’s second-round draft choice in 1998, announced his retirement after an 11-year NFL career.