Could the Seahawks' Jim Mora become the NFL's ninth one-and-done coach since 1990? The team has consistently said no.
RENTON — Jim Mora sat on stage Monday, conducting a postmortem analysis of the Seahawks’ cadaverous performance in Green Bay over the weekend.
The coach was alone, which reflects more than the fact that he was the only one answering questions from reporters. Tim Ruskell exited as the Seahawks’ president during the first week of December, which has left Mora all by himself in the cross-hairs of a city inflamed after three consecutive Seahawks losses by a combined score of 106-24.
So where does Mora stand as the season winds down?
It is a question being asked around town even though every indication has been that the franchise remains committed to Mora. Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke said earlier this month he “fully expects” Mora to be retained. And when the team talked to Mike Holmgren two weeks ago about returning to the Seahawks as president, it remained committed to keeping Mora for 2010.
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Holmgren consistently said he generally felt it was unfair to fire a coach after a single season, though there were exceptional circumstances.
But letting a coach leave after one year also hasn’t been all that productive in the NFL.
Since 1990, eight coaches left after coaching just a single 16-game season with their respective teams (see chart). Three teams had a worse record in the subsequent season and only two made it to the playoffs.
Miami is the most striking success, making a 10-win turnaround in 2008 after canning Cam Cameron following a 1-15 season the year before. That has been the exception.
Mora’s situation is not typical for coaches in their first year in charge of a team, though. He was hand-picked by Ruskell, and the franchise performed contractual calisthenics to cement Mora in place as the successor to Holmgren before the iconic coach had left the franchise.
Seattle entered the season promising a resurrection of the team that won four consecutive division titles. That didn’t happen. And while the Seahawks have exceeded last season’s victory total, Seattle has been so uncompetitive in so many games this season, it has cast doubt on whether the team has really made progress.
Ruston Webster is Seattle’s interim general manager, but with the Seahawks searching for a new president, Mora has become the focus for all questions about the uncertainty of the team’s future.
The result is a very odd dynamic in which Mora is being asked to talk about both those things he bears responsibility for as head coach, such as the team’s effort, as well as those he does not, namely the looming front-office decisions.
With Seattle looking for a general manager, does Mora expect a reconstruction of the roster?
“Really, honestly, I just want to think about trying to beat the Tennessee Titans,” Mora said of Sunday’s opponent in the season finale. “There’s a lot of time for this afterwards, and I understand you have to ask the question … I appreciate the question, I hope you appreciate my answer.”
How about his thoughts about what is next for him and his coaching staff?
“Like I said, honestly, I just want to beat the Tennessee Titans,” Mora said.
But the questions are going to linger until the Seahawks hire a president to answer them definitively.
Danny O’Neil: 206-464-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|NFL’s one and done|
|Since 1990, eight coaches left after one 16-game season. Three teams actually took a step backward the year after the departure:|