Mora Understands the Work Ahead
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Posted Jun 26, 2009


After a disappointing 4-12 finish in 2008 new Seahawks head coach Jim Mora understands the work ahead in returning his team to a playoff contender.

And after 22 practices during an offseason in which most players stuck around to work out and learn the new offensive and defensive schemes, Mora believes Seattle is headed in the right direction.

"I'm very happy with the way the guys are working," Mora said about the offseason workouts. "I'm very happy with their attitude. I'm very happy with their work ethic. I think they've embraced the changes that we've asked them to make wholeheartedly. And I believe we're on the right track.

"We're certainly not where we want to be, but we're on the right track. And at this point, that's what you're looking for."

Longtime head coach Mike Holmgren relied on precision, attention to detail and accountability from his veteran leaders to get things done on a daily basis in team workouts, which seemed to work well during Holmgren's 10-year stint in Seattle. However, Mora has taken a more hands-on approach, with a younger, energetic coaching staff leading more by example on the field, pushing players to give their maximum effort during practices.

"I'm glad that he took us through what he has taken us through because I think it's going to get us ready for the season," said defensive lineman Brandon Mebane. "I think our tempo, which has been real high, is just getting us prepared for different situations."

Biggest move: Selecting Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry with the No. 4 overall pick in this year's draft. Considered the safest player on the board and the most polished player in the draft, the Seahawks have been pleasantly surprised by Curry's ability to rush the passer. Seattle expects Curry to be an impact player on the team's revamped defense this season.

Key loss: Head coach Mike Holmgren. The longtime NFL head coach decided to take a year off and spend time with family, but will likely return to the NFL in some capacity for the 2010 season. Holmgren brought the Seahawks back to respectability, winning four NFC West division titles and an AFC West division crown during his tenure, and leading Seattle to its first Super Bowl appearance. Mora has some big shoes to fill.

Needs addressing: The Seahawks did not draft a running back this year, and expect the running back tandem of Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett to lead the rushing attack in offensive coordinator's Greg Knapp's zone blocking scheme. Duckett played in Knapp's system while in Atlanta, so he has a good understanding of the scheme. And Jones' downhill running style seems to fit Knapp's one-cut philosophy. However, the Seahawks may need another back to provide some offensive punch in the backfield.

"I feel fine," Knapp said about the running back situation. "T.J., I'm obviously familiar with and he's doing just fine. With Julius, we've seen great progress throughout these OTAs, with less thinking and more reaction. I really believe this scheme of run game will help him."


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