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News » Seattle Seahawks Inside Slant 2009-01-30

Seattle Seahawks Inside Slant 2009-01-30

Seattle Seahawks Inside Slant 2009-01-30
Jim Mora expects his team to play with "relentless effort."

In his first official press conference as the Seattle Seahawks head coach, Mora paid tribute to Mike Holmgren, the man he coached under for the last two seasons.

Mora, the seventh coach in franchise history, said he learned several things from his coaching mentor, including using patience to make tough decisions. However, Mora said he will walk to his own drum beat.

"Those are incredibly big shoes to fill," Mora said about taking over for Holmgren. "But I'm going to be me. I have to be me. I think people that fail in this business when they follow someone that has been legendary, (who) is great, sometimes do it because they try to be that person."

During Mora's hour-long, question-and-answer session with Seattle-area reporters on Tuesday - his first since being announced as the heir apparent to Holmgren nearly a year ago - he stayed true to his word, showing an energetic, engaging personality that captured the audience's attention.

A Seattle native who played football at the University of Washington, Mora said the Seattle gig was his dream job, and his goal is for the Seahawks to retake the NFC West Division crown, and ultimately compete for a Super Bowl each season.

His dream is to bring home the Lombardi trophy and lead a parade from the city's icon, the Space Needle, to the Seahawks home at Qwest Field.

Mora will have a lot of work to do in turning around the Seahawks' fortunes. Seattle finished 4-12 in Holmgren's final season. Injuries were to blame for much of Seattle's problems, as team stalwarts like quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, offensive tackle Walter Jones, defensive end Patrick Kerney and receiver Deion Branch missed long stretches of the season.

However, team president and general manager Tim Ruskell understands injuries weren't the sole reason for the Seahawks failing to win the NFC West Division for a fifth straight time, and changes will be in order during the offseason.

"Guys that we counted on - and count on - to play well for us didn't have great years," Ruskell said. "There's a lot of people in that category."

But Mora said he believes the team has most of the talent already on the roster to win. Mora said the Seahawks do not need a major overhaul, and will be helped by an infusion of talent through the draft and free agency. The Seahawks will draft No. 4 overall, the highest draft position for the franchise since taking Shawn Springs with the third overall pick in the 1997 draft, and then selecting Walter Jones three picks later.

And Ruskell said the Seahawks have enough salary cap space to make some noise in free agency.

Mora's plan to improve next season includes a more focused effort on the part of his coaches to get the best out of players through improved scheme and technique, and an enthusiastic, attitude change generated by a jolt of youth to the coaching staff.

Mora hired a new offensive coordinator in Greg Knapp, 45, who served as Mora's offensive coordinator in Atlanta and is known for producing offenses that run the ball effectively. He also hired Casey "Gus" Bradley as the team's new defensive coordinator. Bradley, 42, previously worked as the Bucs' linebacker coach, and came highly recommended by renowned ex-Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.

Young guns Dan Quinn, 39, a defensive line coach who worked with Mora in San Francisco, was culled from the New York Jets staff to serve as Seattle's assistant head coach/defensive line coach. And Jacksonville receivers coach Robert Prince, who worked with Mora in Atlanta, will serve in the same position for Seattle. Tim Lewis, the secondary coach in Carolina, was hired for the same position with the Seahawks.

Mora retained 12 coaches from Holmgren's staff, but offensive coordinator Gil Haskell (65 years old), defensive coordinator John Marshall (63), receivers coach Keith Gilbertson (60) and defensive line coach Dwaine Board (52) were released. Assistant special teams coach John Jamison (60) and tight ends coach Jim Lind (61) retired.

Mora said he will be heavily involved in the defensive game planning, but stopped short of saying he will call the plays.

Offensively, Mora will rely on a strong running game and the veteran presence of Hasselbeck. Mora said he expects Hasselbeck to return healthy from a bulging disk in his back that forced him to miss eight games this season, and that Hasselbeck is his starting quarterback.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 30, 2009

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Patrick Kerney Name: Patrick Kerney
Position: DE
Age: 31
Experience: 10 years
College: Virginia
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