1. Philadelphia Eagles fans have seen Flajole get the most out of aging linebackers, albeit from a distance.
Three years into his NFL coaching run, Flajole took over as the linebackers coach for the Seattle Seahawks. Now, this wasn’t the ‘Legion of Boom’ or anything. Actually, we wouldn’t even hear that term until many moons later. The 2000 Seahawks’ 6-10 finish was far from impressive, but it had very little to do with the effort this team got from its linebacker core. Flajole’s crew was actually one of the bright spots.
Seattle would lose one of their starting linebackers, Darrin Smith, due to a lack of cap room before the season even began. Smith was a two-time Super Bowl champion who racked up 782 combined tackles, 11 interceptions, 33 passes defended, and 24 sacks in 156 career games. Replacing that type of production would be tough for any team.
In his place, the Seahawks brought in 32-year-old middle linebacker George Koonce, who’d end up retiring after the season. From 1998 to 1999, Koonce racked up 107 combined tackles (six tackles for loss). In one year under Flajole, he had better numbers in one season than he had in the previous two.
There were flashes of the younger George Koonce as he tallied 97 combined tackles (five tackles for loss), an interception, a defensive touchdown, and five pass breakups (he had zero pass breakups and zero interceptions from 1998 to 1999). Flajole deserves a lot of credit for getting as much as he could out of a 32-year-old who was finishing his career had to replace a 29-year-old.
The other two linebackers in Seattle’s 4-3 scheme didn’t disappoint either. Their first-round pick from 1998, Anthony Simmons, finished fourth in the NFL in combined tackles (147) and third in solo tackles (119). Chad Brown chipped in with 94 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered, one interception, three passes defended, and one defensive touchdown. As a unit, they finished as the team’s top three tacklers. Not bad at all for Flajole’s first year in his new role.