With the Seattle Seahawks now losing five of their past six games, there wasn’t a whole lot of talk about football between the white lines on Monday.
Instead, the focus was on the psyche and the emotional make-up of the team, and how they would move forward with nine games left.
Seahawks head coach Jim Mora began his press conference by reiterating that players will be held accountable throughout the rest of the season, and those that do not give their best might be unemployed at season’s end.
“I think adversity turns weak people into victims,” Mora said. “They look for an exit. They look for a way out. They look to point the finger at someone else. They don’t accept responsibility.”
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“I’m not saying I see that, because I don’t,” Mora later went on. “But if I do, there’s doors out of here.”
UPDATE: Apparently the purge has started, as the Seahawks confirmed that cornerback Travis Fisher has been released. With Marcus Trufant returning to action this week, Fisher became expendable. The Seahawks now have another roster spot available to bring a player on, probably an offensive tackle.
Mora included himself and the rest of the coaching staff in that statement. Further, Mora said even with the team struggling right now, there has been no finger pointing inside 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.”
Seattle players Nate Burleson and Matt Hasselbeck confirmed in interviews after Mora spoke on Monday that even though there appears to be cracks in the team’s façade -- both with receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s antics on the sidelines and the words that receiver Deion Branch spoke into the TV camera on the sidelines -- that the locker room remains united.
“After the game Coach Mora was very blunt about our performance,” Hasselbeck said. “He basically said, ‘Listen, I’m going to evaluate this organization up and down, and if I feel like I’ve got to make changes, I’m going to make changes. And if that means firing people, I’m going to fire people. So we’ve definitely been put on notice that the scrutiny is going to go up.”
Burleson said along with that, the players understand they have to take ownership with how they are performing on the field and improve that effort in order for the results to change.
“When people talk about the play calling, or why have we not been able to get certain guys the ball – blitz more, blitz less – that has noting to do with the guys on the field once the clock starts,” Burleson said. “I’ve never been a player to blame anything on the coaching staff. At the end of the day, it’s the 11 guys on the field. The guys who are outside the lines only have so much control.”
Hasselbeck said the perceived strained relationship between himself and T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been blown out of proportion, and the two get along fine.
The two were seen on TV having an animated discussion after they failed to connect on a potential TD pass where Houshmandzadeh was demonstrative about asking for the ball to be thrown higher after the play.
In fact, Hasselbeck nominated Houshmandzadeh as the team’s NFLPA rep for the team today which Housh was voted for by his teammates. Brian Russell was the team’s player rep last season. Hasselbeck and Deon Grant will serve as the alternates.
“He wasn’t mad at me, or I wasn’t made at him,” Hasselbeck said about the two’s conversation on the sideline after the missed connection on the pass. “That’s kind of his demeanor. We’ve got an XBOX room right in there where everyone plays XBOX, and he yells at TV far worse than he was yelling on the sidelines.
“But I think that’s something you have to understand about a teammate, is you’ve got to understand what works and what doesn’t work.”
Mora also addressed 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 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.
Asked about that statement, Mora said the following: “It sounds like a challenge to me. 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.”
As far as injuries go, Mora said Ken Lucas MRI on his shoulder stinger came back negative and he should be OK.
Ben Obomanu (oblique muscle) and Will Herring (shoulder) will receive MRI’s today. There’s no update on Sean Locklear’s status on his high-ankle sprain.