Thoughts following Alex Gibbs' abrupt resignation as the offensive line coach of the Seattle Seahawks eight days before the regular-season opener:
Gibbs cited burnout. He's 69, extremely intense and has burned out before. This is a plausible explanation.
I've seen no evidence a personnel dispute precipitated this resignation. The Seahawks' decision to trade for Philadelphia Eagles guard Stacy Andrews seemed curious at first because Andrews is much bigger than the typical Gibbs guard. But the acquisition makes more sense now that we know Seattle plans to play Andrews at tackle. The Seahawks placed backup right tackle Ray Willis on injured reserve Saturday. They needed a tackle.
This is no time to be looking for an offensive line coach. Art Valero served as Gibbs' assistant after coming to Seattle from the St. Louis Rams this offseason. Valero has coached mostly running backs and tight ends since making his NFL debut in 2002. He played offensive line at Boise State and has coached the position extensively at the college level, but Gibbs was an icon among all-time NFL line coaches. Replacing him will not be easy. I would expect the Seahawks to look outside the organization for a potential long-term replacement.
Gibbs stepping down does not come as a shock to those who have followed his career. The timing was a surprise. I figured Gibbs would last at least a season or two. But he's known for pouring everything he has into the job, at the expense of balance in his life.
The Seahawks should wince in Week 1 when they look across the field to see their former line coach, Mike Solari, manning that job for the San Francisco 49ers. Seattle tried to retain Solari as tight ends coach, but he declined the demotion and quickly landed in San Francisco, where he was already familiar with 49ers coordinator Jimmy Raye. Former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan was one of Solari's biggest advocates in San Francisco, but he now works for the Seahawks.
Did I mention the horrendous timing of this change for Seattle? It might be more important for Seattle to keep around players familiar with Gibbs' scheme. Ben Hamilton and Chester Pitts come to mind (although Andrews' arrival could precipitate the departure of another lineman).
The impact of Gibbs' resignation on the Seahawks is only part of the story. Gibbs' welfare is also important. At this point, it appears as though he gave all he could.
What a day in the NFC West, huh?