Renton – Seven games into the season, Seattle Seahawks coach Jim Mora finds himself playing the role of Dr. Phil to his players and answering questions about his team’s psyche instead of about football X’s and O’s.
But with 24 hours to contemplate his team’s fifth loss in six games, Mora sounded even more resolute in holding players accountable for everything that has gone wrong this season, with his team battling through early-season adversity.
And those who do not battle will be shown the door.
“If a man’s willing to stand here and fight, and give his all, and come to work every day with great resolve and great determination and great toughness and accountability, then I’ll fight with him,” Mora said. “But if someone reveals himself not to have those traits, then by the end of the season there’s a good chance he won’t be a member of the Seattle Seahawks. So that’s where we’re at.”
Mora’s comments come a day after the Seahawks seemed to show some signs that everybody is not holding hands in a circle and singing “Kumbaya” in the locker room at halftime.
Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh has not been hesitant in expressing his frustration with not getting the ball more, even though Mora said he’s the sixth-most targeted receiver in the NFL.
Houshmandzadeh and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck were caught on TV on Sunday having an animated discussion after they failed to connect on a potential TD pass in the opening quarter against Dallas.
After the play, Houshmandzadeh was demonstrative, showing Hasselbeck he wanted the ball thrown higher.
Hasselbeck said the perceived strained relationship between the two has been blown out of proportion and they get along fine.
In fact, Hasselbeck said he nominated Houshmandzadeh for his current role as the team’s NFL Players Association representative.
Former Seahawks safety Brian Russell was the team’s player rep last season. Hasselbeck and safety Deon Grant will serve as alternates.
“He wasn’t mad at me, or I wasn’t mad at him,” Hasselbeck said about the missed connection. “That’s kind of his demeanor. We’ve got an Xbox room right in there … and he yells at the TV far worse than he was yelling on the sidelines.”
Mora also spoke about the words wide receiver Deion Branch spoke into a camera after catching a 23-yard touchdown pass in the first half. Branch can be heard saying into the camera: “Y’all come find me. Anybody want me, come find me.”
Those words seem to allude to the fact that Branch is not happy with his role as the team’s third receiver and would like to be traded.
“It sounds like a challenge to me,” Mora said. “It sounds like he’s competing and challenging people to come cover him, that’s what it sounds like to me – especially if it was after a touchdown.”
Even with those incidents showing possible cracks in the team’s facade, Mora insists there’s no finger-pointing going on in the locker room.
“Absolutely none,” he said. “Absolutely zero. I’ve said this and I’ll be consistent in this – there has been none.
“These guys have been consistent in hanging in there, and they’re fighting their tails off. And there’s a good attitude. And we’ve got to maintain that.”
The Seahawks cut cornerback Travis Fisher on Monday and used the extra roster spot to add former University of Washington cornerback Roy Lewis to the active roster from the practice squad. Fisher is an eight-year veteran who was picked up during training camp when starting cornerback Marcus Trufant was placed on the physically unable to perform list with a back injury. Fisher finished with five tackles for Seattle. Lewis played his rookie season with Pittsburgh and was a part of the Steelers’ Super Bowl run last season. The Seahawks picked up Lewis and added him to the team’s practice squad when teams cut down to the final 53-man roster in September. … Mora said tests came back negative for cornerback Ken Lucas and his shoulder stinger, and he should be OK. However, receiver Ben Obomanu (oblique) and linebacker Will Herring (shoulder) need further evaluation.
Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437