Monday, December 29, 2008

What Did Holmgren Leave Mora?

by: William P. Tomisser

When Mike Holmgren rode in here 10 years ago on his white horse ready to save the Seahawks from being the laughing stock of the NFL and it's poster child for failure, he never imagined that it would end the way it did and now as he rides into the sunset on his new Harley, I'm wondering just what he left in his wake for Jim Mora to inherit.

At the beginning of the season we all anticipated that he had put the team back together strong and filled the holes with an excellent draft by Ruskell and some shrewd free agent moves and the team was ready to challenge for the NFC championship again and beyond.

And then, all Hell broke loose.

No need to go through all the details as we all lived through them the whole season long. What I'm wondering though is just what Holmgren left Mora to work with. Do we have a Seahawks team that is resilient and able to comeback from a season like this one just past and re-group as if nothing happened or will there be lasting scars?

There are a number of potential problems that could plague the team next season and I'm not so sure that we didn't add to that list from what we thought we had at the start of last season. Here's what I see as things that Ruskell and Mora need to look at and resolve or at the very least determine if it is a real problem or something that can be dealt with.

Matt Hasslebeck and Walter Jones are two of the franchises most important offensive players. They both have nagging chronic injuries and both are questionable to be able to play a full season in 2009. What alternatives do we have

  • The running game along with the offensive line is still in need of repair. I'm not sure you can separate them and fix them independent of each other. Do we need new blood in the offensive backfield as well as the offensive line? How far dow we need to go?

  • Burleson may or may not come back fully recovered from his serious knee injury. Do we need to make a big effort to revamp our receivers corps or can we get along with Burleson and Branch and perhaps a draft choice plus a free agent and fill in with the youngsters again? How big a problem do we have here?

  • Do we need a new starting safety and cornerback in order to improve the defense adequately or is the problem purely in the pass rush? Do we also need an interior pass rusher on our defensive line or will someone on our roster like Red Bryant be able to step up and fill that role?

  • Can we re-sign Hill and restructure Peterson's contract to keep our linebackers together? They are one of the best in the NFL and if we lost Hill and/or Peterson, our defense would suffer. Will Peterson deal with us? Does Hill want to remain playing in the shadow of Tatupu and Peterson?

  • Will Kerney come back and be able to perform for us or will we have to factor a pass rushing specialist into our plans too? Can Tapp, Jackson, and Atkins handle the end positions and provide an adequate pass rush if Kerney can't play?

  • Will the Seahawks have enough resources to patch all the holes that could end up being of concern to the team after Mora evaluates where he's at and where he wants to be? Did Holmgren leave Mora with more problems than he had to deal with at the beginning of last season and before the injuries took their toll? Are we more than just the proverbial couple of players away? If we have to find offensive linemen, a running back, a safety, a cornerback, a defensive tackle, a wide receiver and possibly a defensive end, can we find that many starters in the draft and free agency or will we need current players to step up and play better? Who can we depend on to take that next step?

What do you readers think is the state of the Seahawks now that Holmgren is done and Mora is taking over? Are we still the same team as last season and with everyone healthy again are we ready to take up where we left off? Did the past season and rash of injuries as well as the lame duck year Holmgren put in as head coach somehow weigh the team down and leave them not able to recover and be ready to assert themselves next season? In summary, what do you all think Holmgren left Mora to work with when all is said and done? Can the team recover enough realistically to win 9 games or more next season?