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Devon Witherspoon setting high expectations for Seahawks' defense under Mike Macdonald: 'He's different'

Devon Witherspoon's first season began with a bang, so much so that he rode it to a Pro Bowl appearance as a rookie despite filling a role on one of the NFL's worst defenses.

Entering Year 2, Witherspoon feels he and Seattle's defense are ready to take off. The reason is simple: Their new coach exudes qualities resembling a mastermind.

"He's cool people, man," Witherspoon said of head coach Mike Macdonald, via the News-Tribune. "But he's different, though. He's like ... he a brain guy. I mean, he's really smart and intellectual. So, it's like, the way he builds defenses is not natural or normal around the league. That's what makes him different."

If the Seahawks needed one thing in 2024, it's something different from what they were doing in 2023. Seattle finished 30th in total defense last season, including a 31st-place ranking against the run. Essentially, the Seahawks couldn't stop a nosebleed, especially on the ground, explaining why they jumped at the opportunity to hire Macdonald -- the director of the NFL's sixth-ranked defense in 2023 -- away from Baltimore.

Witherspoon believes they've found their solution in Macdonald, who is testing out the defensive back in a number of different roles in an effort to maximize Seattle's versatility, a key tenet of his defense. These days, defenses aim to be multiple. And as Witherspoon said, Macdonald isn't leaving a single stone unturned.

"The way he structured his defense, you'll never know what he's going to run," Witherspoon said. "One thing may look like something -- and it's completely not."

Macdonald matched Witherspoon in the praise department, calling him "a great player already in this league."

If Seattle's defense can live up to the expectations set by Witherspoon's glowing review of Macdonald, they should complete a remarkable turnaround.

It's only June, but Witherspoon has high hopes.

"Well, you watched the Baltimore tape from last year," Witherspoon said. "So we plan on building on that and just trying to do a little bit better in our own style.

"It is going to be fun this year. Just wait on it. We're starting to catch our swag with it, add our own little flavor to it. But we're getting comfortable with it really fast, faster than what we thought we would. Yeah, we're kind of getting it down pat now."

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