Editor’s note: This is the first in a weekly series where frequent contributors to the comments section of the Seahawks Insider blog are offered a forum to voice their opinion on a specific topic of choice involving the Seahawks. Submissions are read and edited beforehand.
By Duke Snyder (Dukeshire)
The Seattle Seahawks are broken. Not in the same way the 2008, have-no-hope-to-win Detroit Lions were. Nor are they on a path to competitiveness and respectability in the way that the 2009 Detroit Lions are.
This is a club stuck in transition, whose roster is an amalgam of aging, overpriced veterans, underachieving young draft picks and players with fringe NFL talent, all pressed to service by a highly energized and emotional coach.
As the 2009 season nears its conclusion, much less seems certain about this franchise’s direction than was believed when the campaign began. Team president and general manager Tim Ruskell has stepped away and savior-in-waiting Mike Holmgren is (not so) patiently awaiting the nod. This week alone has seen Coach Mora call out the team’s starting center and the club’s starting left guard shot back. Not good.
So, where do they go from here? Let’s presume for a moment that Spencer Stuart introduces me to Tod Leiweke and he brought me aboard transitioning from “them” to “us.” Here’s what I do:
1. On January 4th, the day after the Seahawks final game I call Jim Mora into my office. I inform him that changes to his staff will be made, including offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and special teams coach Bruce DeHaven. I would not dismiss Mora himself, unless of course he is entirely resistant to these changes (in which case I invite Jon Gruden out to lunch that afternoon).
He should see this coming. Knapp has not had an offense in the top 10 since ‘03 and not ranked higher than 23rd in any of the last, three years. DeHaven has been given high-level kicking, great return men (Josh Wilson and Nate Burleson) and an undervalued punter all to produce mediocre and very sloppy units. Jim Zorn and Alan Lowry would be contacted. Mora would be given another opportunity to succeed.
I seriously question whether Mora is the long-range answer as this team’s head coach. But I don’t believe either, that one season is a reasonable measure of what he might become here. My rational self wins out over the emotional. It’s a photo finish
2. Deion Branch, Deon Grant and Patrick Kerney are cut (and Craig Terrill on general principal). I realize there are financial ramifications in eating the bonus money due to them. I don’t pretend to be an expert in cap management, but the uncapped year, should it remain that way, seems like the ideal time to purge these bloated contracts. I re-sign Darryl Tapp, Rob Sims, Ben Obomanu, Cory Redding, Olindo Mare, Jon Ryan and I make a play at Nate Burleson before he hits the market if he decides to exercise the player option in his contract at season’s end.
3. Sign one of the top, FA O-linemen (Jahri Evans or Donald Penn naming two, even Deuce Lutui for the “dirt bag” factor). I understand the uncapped year also draws out a player’s four seasons to six, allowing them to become an unrestricted FA, and therefore will cost draft picks to sign one. But with two, first round picks, it allows flexibility to address the team’s greatest need.
Short of that, make a play at Elvis Dumervil, who also becomes a free agent at the end of the season. He too will be expensive, but if Seattle is to compete again, the pass rush must be fixed.
4.The draft. Simply said, there are not enough picks to address all of their needs but OL, DE (unless otherwise addressed in FA) S and RB must be addressed. This team is in desperate need of an explosive playmaker, CJ Spiller? Matt Hasselbeck’s replacement too must be taken into consideration. It’s a risk, but I’m willing to wait another year and see how Mike Teel progresses.
5.Bring back Mike Holmgren
There are many ways to go about rebuilding a team. I believe you start on the lines and work backward. But without strong direction from the top it’s all moot and this team is currently in dire need of that. This is not a one year, patchwork project. This is a near-total house cleaning. But I believe these steps begin to right the ship back toward respectability, competitiveness and championships.