Editor’s note: This is a weekly series where frequent contributors to the comments section of the Seahawks Insider blog are offered a forum to voice their opinion on a specific topic of choice involving the Seahawks. Submissions are read and edited beforehand.
Show Mora the door
BY H.D. Price (Nighthawk2)
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The Seattle Seahawks appear to be a team divided, and a team adrift. Three of Seattle’s receivers recently were on a local radio station throwing the coach under the bus – specifically the offensive coordinator – in Deion Branch, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Nate Burleson.
Before that, offensive guard Rob Sims fired pot shots at head coach Jim Mora. Earlier in the season Mora, during a post-game press conference, threw kicker Olindo Mare under the bus (after the Chicago game I believe it was) and then the offensive line got the same treatment (after the Houston game).
This kind of toxic atmosphere and acrimonious attitude between players and coaches cannot be tolerated. A winning organization does not have a player going on the air saying he’s smarter than the coaches and knows better than they do because he previously was on a franchise that won a couple of Super Bowls, especially one who has done nothing to justify the huge contract he was given, and mugs for the camera saying in effect to other teams “trade for me.” It’s just one more sign that Mora has lost this team and it is completely rudderless.
The Seahawks have lost 22 of the last 31 games over the last, two seasons, and they’re out of playoff contention for the second straight year. In all likelihood it will be 23 out of 32 after Sunday. Nine wins in two seasons, combined.
The architect of this disaster was, of course, former GM Tim Ruskell, who resigned about halfway through the season when he finally figured out they weren’t going to renew his contract at season’s end. Mora is Ruskell’s guy. He was brought in as a secondary coach by Ruskell, and then later hired to replace Mike Holmgren when the longtime head coach decided to take a year away from the game.
The personnel problems are in Ruskell’s lap, and in my opinion a big turnover of the roster is needed (starting with Branch and other injury-prone, malignant personalities and non performers). But part of the problem is the misuse or even non-use of some players who showed talent this year, such as Justin Forsett, who got stuck behind Julius Jones when it was clear whenever Forsett was on the field that he was the superior player and playmaker.
Then there was the negation of John Carlson’s talents as a receiver by keeping him in for blocking because the offensive tackle position was ignored in the 2009 offseason. I don’t recall seeing many options used to get Carlson more involved that a good OC should come up with. The linebackers were not used effectively throughout the season for pass or run blitzes, few if any halftime adjustments made during games, and the same bland, repetitive promises and blaming certain players or positions with “we’re going to work hard, we’re going to fix this” as the losses piled up. I don’t think Mora is a bad guy nor his staff bad guys, but I do think, as a fan for 30-plus years, he’s not the right guy to be head coach here. The players clearly tuned out weeks ago. Ruskell built the funeral pyre and lit the match for what was a Super Bowl team four years ago, and Mora threw gas on the fire to burn it down.
Hiring a new GM is a first step. That new GM needs to hire a new head coach who will bring in a new staff and a new roster. Firing a coach after one season is unusual, but not unprecedented. Eric Mangini may be fired after this season, his first at Cleveland. Ray Rhodes was fired by Green Bay in 2000 after one year. Then-Packers GM Ron Wolf said something interesting regarding Rhodes that seems relevant to Mora’s tenure here: "For whatever reason, our players did not respond to this program. We will begin our search for a new coach at once."
"Is he a different coach than I thought he was?" he said of Rhodes. "Yes, the answer to that is yes. What I think we have to have here is a well-disciplined, tough, hard-nosed football team. That’s the way you’re successful in this business. We have to develop that. We don’t have that here."
We don’t have that here either. And for that and a variety of reasons I think the best thing for the Seahawks is to fire Jim Mora and his staff and start over with a new GM, a new coaching staff and a new roster.
BY Jerry Vincent (HawkFan1951)
After the last, three games, I understand most people are in the “let’s blow this team, the coaches and front office up” mode, but I would like to make a comparison here. I am focusing on players, and not coaches (I'll save that comparison for another time).
If we use the 2005 Super Bowl team as the “high point” of the franchise, then let’s compare players.
There are nine players from the SB team still with the Seahawks (16.98%), four on offense and five on defense. Thy include Matt Hasselbeck, Seneca Wallace, Sean Locklear and Walter Jones on offense, and Marcus Trufant, Jordan Babineaux, Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill and Craig Terrill on defense.
Three of those players (2 Offense, 1 Defense) have spent all or part of this season on IR/PUP (so lets take away two of them, Walter Jones as one and Tatupu/Trufant split the year as two. This reduces the 2005 players to 13.20%). That makes 83.02% (or 87.80%) of the current team new players since 2005. Former president and general manager Tim Ruskell is responsible for those “new” selections. In previous posts, that’s why I’ve called this “TR’s team.” TR focused on players with “character.” TR passed on players with troubled or problem pasts… on or off the field.
Add to the equation that in the last, four years, TR failed repeatedly to fix the O-line to protect Hasselbeck, and also failed to get a quality RB to replace Shaun Alexander. For a ‘Defense minded” GM, TR also brought in older, injury plagued players for limited “upgrades” to the defense (and it didn’t work). To me, it’s clear why this current team has the problems they do.
That’s my comparison. Now let me comment on several other points.
1. Now that TR is gone, why focus all the blow-torches on current head coach Jim Mora? Look at the players he’s been dealt to work with. Look at the “character culture” TR brought into the clubhouse!
Last week, Mora spoke about wanting to get some “dirt bags” for players. Not dirt bags off the field but for the 5 – 10 seconds of each play. To me, THAT said more about rejecting TR’s legacy than anything Mora has said all season!
Is THAT the reason some of these players have tuned out? Maybe. I do think the hand writing is on the wall inside the locker-room that there will be more ‘older players’ out looking for a job with another team next year than are kept. This is SOLELY to change the culture in the locker room. If the culture of an organization is going to change, it MUST change from the TOP, DOWN. There’s no other way for it to become effective!
2. Comparing Mora to Ken Whisenhunt is hilarious! Whisenhunt took over a perennial loser in Arizona and had nowhere to go but UP. Mora replaced a legend in Mike Holmgren that had built the team nucleus in 2005. During the time since, TR systematically destroyed the culture by not making the team BETTER during his time as head of the team’s football operations.
This team is not the same as last year’s team or the years previous. It will not be the same team in the years to come. Mora does not make the plays on the field, players do. Remember what Chuck Knox used to say, “Football players make football plays!”
Working with the new management, Mora deserves an honest chance to make the changes in players and culture to fix these problems. With these current players, one year is not being given an honest chance to succeed. “Change” takes time.