Righting the ship

Posted Nov 2, 2009

Seahawks coach Jim Mora is turning up the scrutiny amid the adversity generated by the team’s 2-5 start

Jim Mora has found a motivational talking point for his 2-5 team, complements of his junior high school football coach.

The Seahawks’ coach touched on it Sunday after a 38-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Monday, Mora leaned on the sage advice from Bruce Brown again as he set about getting his team on track heading into this week’s game against the Detroit Lions at Qwest Field.

“He’d sent it to me on Friday,” Mora said. “For you that didn’t hear it, I said, ‘Adversity turns weak people into victims, and it turns strong people into competitors.’ We’re going to find out who the strong people are, and they’re going to be here fighting with us until the end. And we’re going to be finding out who the victims are, and they aren’t going to be here fighting with us at the end.

“That’s going to be the way it is.”

Obviously, this wasn’t a typical Monday. The players usually are in and out the day after a game. This Monday was a day for meetings. They met briefly as a team. They met briefly as an offense and a defense. They had extended sessions with their position coaches.

“I think that’s something that we’ve got to figure out,” quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said in response to a question about the psyche of the team. “Wednesday is going to tell a lot about this team, how we respond.

“After the game, coach Mora was very blunt about our performance. He basically said, ‘Listen, I’m going to evaluate this organization up and down and if I feel like I’ve got to make changes I’m going to make changes. If that means firing people, I’m going to fire people.’

“We’ve definitely been put on notice that the scrutiny is going to go up, and the coaching is going to go up as far as being critical on us and pushing us to get better.”

Mora stressed the obvious: There is “absolutely zero” finger pointing going on; the evaluation process won’t be limited to the players; that he remains optimistic about the future of this team.

But he also reiterated that things cannot – and will not – continue as they have.

“We’re up against it a little bit. We’ve hit some rough patches – some of them anticipated, some of them not,” he said. “But people will reveal themselves at these times. Their true character will reveal itself, and I’ll be looking hard for the truth.

“If a man’s willing to stand here and fight, and give his all, and comes to work every day with great resolve and great determination and great toughness and accountability, then I’ll fight with him. But if someone reveals himself not to have those traits, then by the end of the season, there’s a good chance he won’t be a member of the Seattle Seahawks. So that’s where we’re at.”  

Which is, 2-5 this season and 6-17 since their last playoff appearance in 2007.

“Why? It’s a big question mark, why we haven’t been able to fulfill our own expectations,” wide receiver Nate Burleson said.

“That is the definitive statement I can make, that it’s up to us. It’s up to the players. In order for us to get this thing turned around, it’s up the guys that put on the jerseys on game day.”