I’m knee deep in papers filled with statistics trying to figure out exactly what went wrong this year for the Seahawks when I get a text from a buddy telling me that Mora is gone. My first response is “No way!” That the response is in the tone of a kid that just opened the top of his Christmas List present should tell you how I feel about the news.
Jim Mora had a lot of things going for him coming in. He seems intelligent, is a local boy, grew up in football with his dad, went to the University of Washington, coached a playoff team in Atlanta and turned down a chance to coach UW to take the Seahawks job when Mike Holmgren was put in lame duck status in 2008.
I was high on Mora coming in, but by the end of the Chicago game, game three of the season, I was coming down hard. In his postgame press conference, Mora threw kicker Olindo Mare under the bus for the loss because he missed two of the six field goals he attempted. I had a problem with it then and it still bugs me. First of all, Mare made four of the six. Second, if your team is attempting six field goals in a game, don’t you think it would be better to be looking at why you weren’t scoring touchdowns instead of field goals?
As the season progressed, the scores got worse. I felt like the team quit on Mora during the Houston game on December 13th. The camera caught Mora raging at his defense while the players sat with their heads hanging. The body language was unmistakable.
After the game Mora claimed that the team hadn’t quit and they would continue to play as hard as possible. Getting manhandled 24-7 by a Tampa Bay team that only had one previous win showed fans that Mora was either full of shit or was watching a different team’s film. This team quit on Mora and it showed in the last weeks of the season.
Part of the problem was a complete lack of identity for the team. Mora came in preaching a run-oriented offense. He hired Greg Knapp, his former crony in Atlanta, to force feed the run game to a team that was still built in the Mike Holmgren West Coast Offense style. The run offense was putrid, managing only 1,566 total yards for the season, 265th in the NFL. The opponents gained 1,776 total yards against the Seahawks. Compare that with 2008 when Holmgren was a lame duck and the team had more injuries than I’ve had hot meals. Seattle gained 1768 total yards while opponents managed 1899. Focus on the run game?