Seahawks Insider

Mora press conference: Dirtbags wanted (within reason)

Post by Eric Williams on Dec. 16, 2009 at 11:09 am with 44 Comments »
December 16, 2009 2:21 pm

An animated and intense Seahawks head coach Jim Mora, dressed in game-day coaching garb, addressed reporters this morning.

And Mora expressed some interesting things, to say the least.

As far as the changes along the offensive line, as expected, rookie Max Unger will move to center and Chris Spencer will move over to right guard, where he will split time with free agent pickup and Cal product Mike Gibson.

Mora said it was time to make a move and see how Unger handles himself the last three games of the season. Mora said Unger was excited about the move, while Spencer obviously was disappointed by said he wants to do what is best for the team.

“Rather than waiting to the offseason to make that move, we’re going to do it right now,” Mora said.

Unger played some center during the preseason, and Mora said the University of Oregon product starting 13 games at right guard has helped in his progression.

Mora also said wide receiver Nate Burleson has a high-ankle sprain and will not play this week. Deion Branch will start at X in place of Burleson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh will stay at Z and Deon Butler becomes the third receiver, while Ben Obomanu moves to the fourth receiver.

Branch was put in at X because he’s already been playing both positions and Mora did not want to make two position changes by switching Housh to X.

Linebacker Aaron Curry (hip pointer) will practice today in a limited capacity.

But the real fireworks came when Mora was asked about the toughness of his team, saying he needed more guys up front with a dirtbag mentality.

“If you’re going to be a good offensive lineman, I think you’ve got to be — can I say it? – you’ve got to be a little bit of a dirtbag,” Mora said. “Not as a person, but on the football field.

“In the pit, where all that stuff goes down, if you don’t have some freakin’ toughness, you’re going to fail.”

Mora later qualified his dirtbag comment, reiterating that it only pertains to play on the field.

“I don’t mean a guy that goes out and drinks and drives and speeds, or is bad to women or treats people poorly – you understand what I’m saying?” he said. “I’m talking about within the confines of those six seconds between the snap and the whistle, is a dirtbag.”

Mora said Mike Wahle game the offensive line that kind of mentality, and is what something that was infectious and spread to the rest of the offensive line, and he waiting for someone to take on that role with this group.

The answer was in response to a comment about left tackle Sean Locklear, who Mora said he would like to see play with more nastiness up front.

Mora said the Locklear will remain the starter at left tackle, but that he’s challenging him to play better this week, and will be pushed by veteran Damion McIntosh.

“I want to see him take a right end and keep him way from our quarterback for the entire game,” Mora said. “That’s what I want to see. I want to see him when we run the football, knock someone on his ass. When we run the football away, I want to see him cut someone down. That’s what I want to see. I want to see some nastiness.”

Mora also addressed the league-wide perception that the Seahawks are a soft team. It’s something that developed and took hold during Mike Holmgren’s tenure in Seattle because of the team’s pass-first, offensive-oriented philosophy, which is much different than a team like Baltimore, which has been known as a defensive, ground-oriented team exemplified by linebacker Ray Lewis.

“I don’t think anyone of us would venture to say, or would be brave enough to say that Mike Holmgren wasn’t about toughness, because he is, he was and he will be for always,” Mora said. “So you have to be very careful when you sit in my shoes and say, ‘Well, they weren’t tough.’

“I know this though: there are teams out there that say, ‘If you walk into Seattle and punch them in the face, they won’t react.’ I know that’s what I always said. I know that’s what Mike Singletary said on Saturday night before we played them two weeks ago. I don’t think that’s true, and we’re going to work hard to make sure that it isn’t true.

Mora said part of the reason he was more animated than normal is because of his desire for the Seahawks to be successful as a Seattle native.

“This isn’t just another team for me,” Mora said. “This was my team growing up. I watched Steve Raible (pointing to Steve), this was my team growing up, so I maybe a little more passionate about it than it’s just a job. It’s not a job. This is my city. I want this city to be proud of its foot ball team. So that’s my determination, along with I like to win and I hate to lose.”

Leave a comment Comments → 44
  1. Well, Jim, you’re not the only one who wants to see some offensive linemen knock their opponents on their asses.

  2. Dear Santa,

    All I want is a better offensive line, pretty please.


    Jim Mora Jr.

  3. “If you’re going to be a good offensive lineman, I think you’ve got to be — can I say it? – you’ve got to be a little bit of a dirtbag,” Mora said.

    Actually, if you’re going to be a good offensive lineman, you’ve got to be talented. Toughness makes good offensive lineman great, but only makes bad offensive lineman dirty (IMO). I don’t want to be a dirty team.

    I DO want to be a smash mouth team though, similar to Philly, NYG, and even the Pittsburg of past few years (not this year though). Wow, I never thought I want us to be like Pittsburg. LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO ME, RUSKELL!!

  4. That was by far the best press conference I’ve seen from Mora! He was blunt and he followed it up with action. I don’t know about you guys, but this gives a little glimmer of hope moving forward. Those comments made we want to go hit someone in the mouth.

  5. Also, again, it’s about time Unger is playing where he should have been all along.

  6. bigmike04 says:

    Mora is now officiality a bonehead idiot not saying he is still one during whole season but please explain why you got Chris Spencer still on Active roster when he not fully healthy.. He need to be place on IR and tell him to get the surgery for his broken hand and to get healthy than release him.

  7. Spencer can club the hell out of the defense with a full-on cast on his hand. And he may only get half as many holding penalties!

  8. freedom_X says:

    Well, Richie Incognito is available…

    Can a zone blocking scheme work well if linemen aren’t willing to cut defenders down, go for the legs, etc? I don’t hear that much about Seattle’s line using those techniques. But that puts fear in another way, into the defense. It can take a bit of the edge off because the hard charging defender starts worrying about blowing out a knee or ankle…

  9. Dukeshire says:

    Audible – He has said many things over the course of this season that has made me say, “okay, that’s more like it. That’s what I want to see on Sunday”. However, when Sunday rolls around, there is no follow through. This team has not played with “relentless pressure”. This team has not “pressed the receivers and brought an extra man, regardless who we play”, with any consistency. This is just talk on a Wednesday afternoon. The Baltimore Ravens don’t have to tell you they are tough. You know it when you wake up Monday morning. Darnell Dockett called this team out in week 6 when he said they (Seattle) wanted no part of us. Singletary has now done it. And can you tell me that from what you’ve seen on the field this team isn’t soft? Indy, Houston, Ariz, Minn. These are games that were over long before they took the field because of attitude, IMO. Yes, I like what I’ve heard but it sounds like he pleading with these guys. I empathize with him because I do believe this is more than just a job for him, Seattle roots and all, but he needs to command this teams respect. They have to be willing to totally sell out for him and I do not see or feel it. I hope I am wrong, but my eyes see what they see.

  10. Oh yeah, that’ll work. Move everybody around, stick the rookie in at center, put another rookie in to play beside him. Brilliant.

    I think the Seahawks could actually lose this game after all. I just hope Hasselbeck doesn’t get killed.

  11. Soggybuc says:

    These comments are a welcome change and about damn time! it’s okay to be players coach as long the players understand you’ll pull teeth and kick thier ass to the pine when you need to.

    I would have never questioned Jim’s passion and heart for the hawks, only his method and apparent “softness” in going about it.

  12. We’re going to get to see some Micheal Bennett this weekend.

  13. Orgy_of_Baal says:

    Whoa! Tough talk, Mora! No equivicating there!

    Is he actually Blaming Holmgren for a lack of toughness? Coach Holms had a deep, complex system that executed. It wasn’t a smash-face run-based system. So what? It got us to the SB.

  14. Dukeshire says:

    You know things are bad when the fan base is excited about what amount to little more than tough talk.

    Unger to center is exciting, to me. A glimpse of the future now. I like it and it’s overdue.

  15. From Eric in a post before training camp:

    “Unger went on to say the position he will most excel at in the league is center because he likes the position the best, feels the most comfortable there and likes being the first one to come off the ball.”

    Here’s the full read:

  16. IdahoHawk says:

    Mora should of had this attitude week 3 not week 15.

  17. IdahoHawk says:

    Mora might have lost this team by now.

  18. vichawkfan says:

    John Clayton is speculating on his ESPN blog that Leiweke is blocking Holmgrens return…..sorry no link.
    If that’s true, when is Paul Allen going to get involved? Nobody out there knows players than Homlgren. Getting some pencil pusher Finance Major to come in and work FA and the draft has proven to be a failure.

  19. Who could play RT for us other than Willis so we could put him at RG and see how that goes!!!!!

  20. That’s not any news I wanted to read.

  21. Maybe it’s something personal?

  22. rramstad says:

    Hmmm. Am I the only one that finds these comments interesting considering Incognito was let go by the Rams yesterday?

    Dirtbag offensive lineman, please pick up the white courtesy phone…

  23. vichawkfan says:

    it has to be personal. Which would confirm why this current front office and President is incapable of getting the team turned around.
    Paging Mr.Allen, please keep an open mind.

  24. vichawkfan:John Clayton is speculating on his ESPN blog that Leiweke is blocking Holmgrens return…..sorry no link.

    Here’s the blog link: blog

    Here’s a video link: video

    Hope they work o.k. Neither says anything about Leiweke.

    I still think the one guy most responsible for blocking Holmgren’s return to Seattle is Mike Holmgren. You notice how he’s all for keeping Mora on in Seattle when questioned about it on a radio program. “It’s not fair to fire a coach after only one year”, he says. However, when people start speculating about Mangini’s future in Cleveland he doesn’t say anything in his defense at all. Well, I guess the lack of comments is not proof of anything but I also don’t think declining to burn one’s bridges during a stupid radio interview means the guy wants to return to an organization that treated him so poorly.

  25. Fire Leiweke’s ass now. He is responsible for this mess.

  26. Like Mora’s moves so far. Hawks’re playing now for next season and for clearer reading of the upcoming offseason needs.

    Spencer actually did well run-blocking at C vs SF, but had some probs vs HOU. Unger at Center, backed up by Vallos: Vallos has done well here before and Unger has over a year more ZBing experience than Chris. Hass’ll help with pass-pro calls and so can Spencer at RG, just like C.Gray did for Spencer in ’07.

    Spencer at RG, backed up by Mike Gibson can’t do worse than Unger who’d never played that position before this year. Max was improving, but Chris is built more like a guard than a center and did well at LG when he played there before Sims in ’07. Haven’t noticed Mike Gibson play, but Cal has had good OL players, especially at run blocking.

    Sims is playing well at LG, he’s currently the best performer on the Hawks OL. People may be remembering the one game he played in in ’08 when he tried to block with one arm. It was bad, but he’s back to playing the way he did before that – good.

    Lock might move back to RT, and put McIntosh at LT. At LT McIntosh vs DAL and DET was a little better than Lock at pass-pro and slightly better at run-blocking. McIntosh hadn’t played LT in games for 2 years and just stepped in and outplayed Lock. Give McIntosh more reps in games and backside seal blocks should become excellent like he did in ’07. See Mac’s stats (#4 in run-blocking) from ’07 in KC: My greatest Christmas present ever would be for Walt to come back and play at LT like he did in ’07. Good enough at run blocking and much better than McIntosh at pass-pro. Sigh.

    Willis is way better at pass blocking than run blocking and last season Lock was way better at run blocking than pass-pro. To get Carlson out into pass routes leave Willis at RT, but to get the run game going put Lock there and have Hawks best (TE or FB) pass-blocker help him. Neither Owens nor Griffith have been exceptional at pass-blocking this year. L.Weaver has been statistically better at blocking this year for PHI.

  27. “Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

    It will be good to see Unger play at Center, simply because it will be interesting. Unger has struggled at RG and he’ll probably struggle some at C as well. But what the heck, we need something new to watch.

    No disrespect for my fellow Hawks fans, but he idea that fans “have known all along” that Unger should have been at C is sort of laughable, I think, after none of us were in the Monday film reviews with the coaches, or the Tuesday player reviews with personnel staff, or on the practice field on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday for the past 13 weeks. Coach Solari has made the decision 13 weeks in a row that either Chris Spencer, or Steve Vallos, or Chris Spencer *with a broken hand* was a better choice to play C than Unger. That should tell us what he thinks of Unger’s abilities at C up to this point. That said, good luck to the youngster and I hope he learns quickly.

    At least it will be something a little bit new to watch on the O line. What we were watching was definitely getting old.

  28. BobbyAyala says:

    Tod L (who spells it with one d?) professes to “not be a football guy,” For him to block Holmgren’s return is a slap in the face to his fanbase based on his loyality to his buddy Ruskell. Isn’t that buddy-buddy attitude what put this team in the ground during Ruskell’s tenure.

    Mr. Tod (who spells it with one d?) needs to stick to what he knows best — shaking hands with Jones Soda execs, and keep his ass out of football decisions.

    This guy is about to receive the full wrath of that 12th man he loves so very much.

    I’ve yet to endorse boycotting buying Seahawks tickets or showing up to Qwest, but, I can only pray there are absentees hovering around 20k this weekend.

    What a complete ass. This is business, it’s not supposed to be personal, but Tod’s (who spells it with one d?) personal feelings are stunting the growth of this football team.

    Holmgren probably should’ve kept his mouth shut on KJR, sometimes the ball coach is a little to forward when a “no comment” is prudent, but, at the same time, you have to respect his football pedigree.

    Tod (who spells it with one d?) needs to be shown the door, there’s no amount of marketing genius that will keep fans in the seats when the team is as pathetic as it is.

    As for Mora, maybe he’s just a little too close to this team. Does he make decisions as a coach, or as a fan?

    His passion has always been appreciated, but it has also all too often been seen as a little hallow.

    I don’t know, this team is a mess, this franchise is a mess, and while Mr. Z at Safeco is making all the right moves and making his franchise once again relevant on the national scene, Tod (who spells it with one d?) has turned Seattle back into the irrelevant outpost in NFL circles.

    What a mess. Fire them all. Sell the team, Mr. Allen, we’ll take ‘em down here in Los Angeles, where the suits are anything but soft.

  29. Duke,

    Today’s press conference was quite different from any of his other press conferences. This is was the first time he sounded like to me that the Seahawks are his team. Before now, he just seemed to be almost tentative, which could have been the result of following a football legend into the position. I’m not ready to give him a pass, but I’m just pointing out something something new.

  30. BobbyAyala says:

    Tod Leiweke = Bob Whitsitt

  31. Dukeshire says:

    “This is was the first time he sounded like to me that the Seahawks are his team” I rewatched the above video with that in mind and perhaps there is something to that. I like the sentiment, in any case. If that is indeed true, it is a significant step in the right direction.

  32. freedom_X says:

    Apparently, the “softness” theme from Mora is not something he popped out under media pressure just today. Michael Hawthorne did an interview on KJR this afternoon and, when asked about the “soft” comment, said Mora had brought that up in training camp.

    Maybe that explains a bit more about the Curry pick – an attempt to bring more toughness and attitude to the team.

  33. Kinda interesting that Mora comes out saying he wants ‘dirtbags’ on the OL at about the same time Incognito is released by the Rams. Fans see Incognito as a loose cannon, geting too many fouls, too emotional, etc.

    Anybody notice that through the last SF game, Unger had one more penalty called on him than Incognito? Maybe that’s too misleading, because at the time Incognito had only played 8 games this season compared to Unger’s 12, but still.

    Among players who’ve taken at least a quarter of their team’s offensive snaps, Incognito ranks 19th among RGs and Unger ranks 23rd. Incognito was much better at run blocking and Unger was much better at pass-blocking. I hope Mora doesn’t pick up Incognito, because Spencer will be better at that position.

  34. freedom_X says:

    It’s pretty apparent, reading these threads the past couple months, that many fans are just like little kids denied a bigger allowance – they have to find someone to blame. Everything has to be personfied, so they can have an easy answer to life’s problems.

    I mean, 1st, it’s Ruskell. OK, Ruskell is history. Last year, believe it or not, every 10th post ripped Holmgren for his “boring and predictable offense.”

    Now it’s Leiwieke. Leiwieke = Bob Whitsitt. Ludicrous. Show me the inside stories where employees claim to be mistreated or abused. Show me the employees that are ready to quit because of the evil Leiwieke regime. Show me how all of Paul Allen’s sports teams are collapsing (Blazers look pretty good, unlike the Whitsitt regime.)

    The Whitsitt regime ruined two franchises, and part of the so-called “Seahawk” way was to clean up the misfits (especially as the misfits weren’t helping the team win.)

    Anyone think Portland was better off with the JailBlazers instead of what they have now? That was part of the mandate. Leiwieke needed to find good management for the sports teams. He appears to have succeeded in Portland, and whiffed in Seattle. But the Seattle change looked for a while, it just didn’t last.

    If Allen fired Leiwieke, who’s next? Paul Allen? The janitor?

    I’d like to see Holmgren return, but if there’s a Jack Zduriencik out there in the football world, it’s Leiweike’s duty to look for that person, and not panic because of pressure.

    The ridiculous aspect to the fan criticism is that these fans think these guys are like elected officials. They’re not. Their jobs are on the line too. They are more motivated to do what they need to do to save their jobs than anyone else. The last thing I’d do in my job is go against my beliefs and principles and ideas just to make a bunch of people with no direct stake, happy.

    Those same people will turn around and call for Holmgren’s head, and talk about how stupid Leiwieke is, if Holmgren flops.

  35. freedom_X says:

    I don’t think Unger compares to Incognito in terms of personal fouls though? Has Unger even gotten a personal foul yet this year?

  36. freedom_X – true that. False starts and holding. In ’05 neither Walt nor Hutch got any fouls.

  37. <<<>>

    Well, apparently it did not change a thing. Cause we are still soft.

  38. ………….Apparently, the “softness” theme from Mora is not something he popped out under media pressure just today. Michael Hawthorne did an interview on KJR this afternoon and, when asked about the “soft” comment, said Mora had brought that up in training camp………..

    Well, apparently it did not change a thing. Cause we are still soft.

  39. One thing I liked about Mora’s press conference is that he showed us that he’s aware of some things a lot of us around here have been complaining about all season:

    Unger playing Guard
    Spencer playing Center
    Locklear getting the start over Mcintosh
    Linemen playing like nice guys.

    I wish I had a buck for every post that has mentioned how mean and nasty Hutch played.

    It seems that Mora may have a better grasp of what this offensive line needs than some of us have given him credit for.

    Now, of course, understanding something and knowing how to make it happen are two entirely different things. But, today’s comments, combined with the fact that he is moving Unger and Spencer and warned Lock that Mac is looking over his shoulder….well, it gives me a little more confidence that we may see some improvement. We’ll see.

  40. I could be mistaken but Hutch was brought up during one of the games as not having a foul at that point couple week back.

    freedom_X – no amount of searching will locate a more qualified candidate than Mike Holmgren. I think it boils down to Leiweke being afraid MH would have the juice to step on his Testoni’s icle’s (shoe). So the Hawks will suffer because of his ego. But we have yet to see. I’m open minded. Holmgren wouldn’t have option’s like Ted Thompson/Mike Reinfeldt to bring in this time. Huge difference.

  41. freedom_X – To say the suits in the Seattle FO shouldn’t care what we say is shortsighted and potentially damaging to Paul Allen’s bottom-line.

    “…it’s Leiweike’s duty to look for that person, and not panic because of pressure.

    The ridiculous aspect to the fan criticism is that these fans think these guys are like elected officials. They’re not. Their jobs are on the line too. They are more motivated to do what they need to do to save their jobs than anyone else. The last thing I’d do in my job is go against my beliefs and principles and ideas just to make a bunch of people with no direct stake, happy.”

    I am NO expert, but I do have a Business Mgmt Degree and am working on an MBA currently, there are some simple concepts that you failed to take into account:
    If the FO does not make its customers happy, we will go to their competitors (Raiders, 49ers, etc…) or choose substitutes (outdoor activities on Sun, spend time with kids, focus on the M’s offseason).

    In Seattle there are many substitutes and few direct competitors, so we’ll focus on that.
    1. Work is slow, so take a vacation – no reason to be home Sun anyway the Hawks suck.
    2. I’ll just see it on the tube, spend my Sunday at home with the kids, I mean its Christmas time anyway.
    3. I do need to do some last minute shopping, so I guess I should do that Sunday – not like I’ll miss anything.
    4. Next year I’ll skip the season tix, its expensive, we’re not going anywhere next year with Mora and Leiwieke running the show.
    5. I can dump my season tix anyway – hike more, fish more, the waiting list will be gone in a couple of years, so I can renew if we get good again then.

    For fairweather fans, or smart fans (unlike myself) who see a depressing sundays as a bad thing, there are alternatives within the market:
    1. Well the Raiders suck, but at least they have a cool mistique and they have titles… Give me my face paint! – Go Raiduhs
    2. Singletary is a nut, but he’s passionate and the 49ers play TOUGH – go 9ers
    3. Pittsburgh always seems to be winning – 6 super bowls can’t lie… Go Stilers…
    4. I never really cared for any team specifically before 1976, so I guess I’ll just enjoy good games – I better get a bigger TV.

  42. FireRuskellNow says:

    Want a hardnosed ‘dirtbag’ who plays to the whistle with a nasty demeanor but without character concerns? WELL SHOULD HAVE KEPT HUTCHINSON AND FIRED RUSKELL BEFORE HE COULD FILL THIS TEAM FULL OF WEAK SOFTIES!!!

  43. footballscaa says:

    Jim Mora is embarrassing the the city of Seattle and the Seahawk franchise. He, is the cancer on that team. Remove Ruskells mistakes. He managed the Seahawks like Bavasi managed the M’s. Filling up slots with his buddies from the last team they were with. Throwing money at the wrong people and not keeping the right ones.

  44. jonathan says:

    Fire Mora now!

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