New Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora joined KJR's Mitch Levy on air for the first time this morning to talk Seahawks stuff. Listen to the conversation in this audio link.
Mora addressed several topics. He talked about his time as head coach for the Atlanta Falcons, and said he wished he had stayed closer to his passion of being involved in the defense. Mora said he became more of a head coach instead of a defensive-minded head coach, and wants to make sure that he does the latter here in Seattle.
Mora talked about criticism of defensive backs. He said that the defensive backs group he coached did not disappoint him as much as they did others. He also said you have to take a look at the defense as a whole. Mora said the poor play in the defensive backfield had to do with the poor performance of the defense as a whole.
Mora said his staff is evaluating free agents for Seattle and on the market, and playing through scenarios that might happen once free agency begins at the end of February.
On Leroy Hill's recent incident in Atlanta and how it will determine if the free agent linebacker returns to Seattle, Mora had this to say: "Well it's certainly a big part of the evaluation process. And as you know, and everybody else knows that is familiar with the Seahawks, is we have made a real attempt to put a premium on character players. And I think what's important for all of us to understand is that even the highest character individuals make mistakes sometimes. And that's how we feel about Leroy. Leroy is a good human being .He's a good kid. He's a well-intentioned kid. And he made a mistake. And he's paying dearly for it publicly, and I'm sure internally. I've talked to him and it's eating him up. But it is a part of the evaluation process. We have to decide, given all the variables, what we have to do to make sure we put the best 11 players on the field on defense. And make the right decisions in free agency. So that is part of the evaluation.
"We have not come to a conclusion yet, at all. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't say that we're close yet. Now we have worked through a million different scenarios, but we haven't nailed anything down, and we don't need to for at least another week or so."
When asked by Levy if the team wants Hill back, Mora said that Seattle does want Hill back in the fold. Mora went on to say that it's possible the Seahawks could adjust their thinking on whether or not to keep Hill based on his marijuana charge in Atlanta, and that Seahawks brass plan on meeting with Hill in person this week as part of the evaluation process.
"Was it a mistake? It was certainly a mistake," Mora said. "So we have to decide the depth of the mistake and if we can overcome it."
Here's what Mora had to say about Matt Hasselbeck and his health status: "I think if Matt Hasselbeck is healthy for 16 weeks this team has a chance to do some special things because he's an outstanding player. And we'd love to see that happen. And right now all indications are that he's going to be fine.
"He's seen upteen specialists. And he's worked very, very hard on rehabilitation of the back. But once again, Mitch, as you said, there's an uncertainty, especially as you get up there in age and you're dealing with a back injury. There's just certain things that you can't predict. Right now all indications are that he's going to be fine. But that could change. So what's important for us as an organization is as we go through the draft and as we go through free agency, is to not just say, 'Matt's going to be fine. Oh, Matt's going to be OK. We can ignore that position.' I don't think that's the thing to do."
Mora went on to say the team will not necessarily look at free agency, but will look at the draft in terms of finding an heir apparent for Hasselbeck when his career is over to groom as the future starting quarterback of the franchise.
Mora said Hasselbeck has had six or seven individual sessions with new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
"Matt's excited," Mora said. "Matt feels like he has a lot to prove. So when a guy is motivated like Matt is, then you feel like there's a glimmer of hope. He's extremely motivated to be healthy. And he's extremely motivated to regain his status as a great player."
Mora said Nate Burleson is ahead of schedule and running. Mora said the organization is hopeful that Burleson is a close to 100 percent heading into training camp after not playing for a year. And the team has not yet determined if they will bring back receiver Bobby Engram, who will be a free agent at the end of February.
"He's a great role model," Mora said about Engram. "And I think there's value there."
Also, ex-Husky Lawyer Milloy was on with KJR's Dave "Softy" Mahler today. A free agent who played for Atlanta last season, Malloy said he wouldn't mind returning to Seattle to finish his career with the Seahawks. Listen to that conversation in this audio link.