RENTON – As recently as a couple of weeks ago, I offered support for Jim Mora and his staff to be kept over for at least another season with the Seattle Seahawks.
Mostly, it was out of a sense of fairness and humanity (I know, qualities that rarely serve a columnist). I suggested that everybody deserves a second chance, and that if you commit to a guy you should follow through … especially when he was operating with substandard talent.
Mora seems like a good guy with local ties who works hard and with enthusiasm, and is well-intended.
But I wrote that column when the season had yet to hit bottom, before this thing ended with a disastrous four-game losing streak, and the 11 total losses included nine by double-digit margins.
At some point soon, the Seahawks will hire a new general manager, a person to whom Mora will report.
This person very easily – and justifiably – may view 2009 as an irredeemable disaster. He might be inclined to clean house and hire a new staff and reshape the roster to suit his own tastes.
Maybe he’ll bring in Mora for a “show cause” session.
“Jim, sit down, nice to meet you … tell me why I shouldn’t fire you guys.”
I was curious, as Mora met with the media for a postseason debriefing on Wednesday, what it is he might want to say to the new boss when they talk about the season.
It was kind of an open-ended question that I thought might allow him to point out some of the positives or circumstances he would want to stress.
“I would let that person watch the games and develop an opinion himself before I would ever try to impose my opinions on him,” Mora said. “These are good football men, the people they’re talking to, they’re all good football men. They’ll very quickly identify what our issues are.”
Well, if the new guy sees coaching as the primary shortcoming, that could be a brief meeting.
Mora has used a pet phrase at times, as this season has slipped away, that might come in handy. Regardless of the outcome of the preceding game, he liked to say that his team would “scratch, claw and fight” to get their fortunes reversed.
Since he didn’t want to go into details, let’s offer him a few suggestions if he’s called upon to scratch, claw and fight for his job.
It seems likely that the new boss’ absent predecessor, Tim Ruskell, could be a convenient scapegoat. It’s common in the NFL.
A look at the final defensive statistics offer a statement about the recent acquisition of talent. Among those to register tackles this season were eight first- and second-round draft picks, along with several pricey free agents or trade pickups.
But the top two tacklers on the team were linebacker David Hawthorne and safety Jordan Babineaux, both undrafted free agents.
A new GM isn’t going to be interested in hearing alibis, but injuries led to the Seahawks having to start 10 players on the offensive line … and that was after starters Walter Jones and Mike Wahle went out for the season in training camp.
Mora talked Wednesday a bit about the period of assimilation it takes some players who come in via free agency. I think he might not want to bring that one up because the Seahawks seemed to get worse as the season went on.
Some advances in the rushing game late in the season are worth pointing out, he said. But when you finish 26th in the league in that category, that is slender evidence.
A theme for Mora late in the season has been his personal accountability. As he discussed his responsibility on Wednesday, he poked himself in the chest so many times that he may have bruises there. All evaluation, he said, has to start with himself.
Even though there are many problems not specifically associated with coaching, this might be a good approach. Hey, boss, my bad. Being humble is important. And so is appearing flexible.
Everything is under evaluation and is open to change, Mora said … schemes, personnel, philosophies.
Sometimes head coaches are asked to sacrifice coordinators to save the rest of the staff. Could happen. Be open to it.
Self-awareness is crucial. Mora made a point on Wednesday that shows he’s not trying to kid anybody.
“It wasn’t good enough,” he said of the team’s performance. “It wasn’t even close to good enough.”
It’s a point worth conceding. It’s guaranteed to be one with which the new boss will agree.
Dave Boling: 253-597-8440