New Seattle Seahawks head coach Jim Mora made a favorable impression in his first press conference as the team’s head coach.
Mora paid tribute to Mike Holmgren, the man whose footsteps he’s following in, saying he learned patience in how to deal with the tough decisions and answering tough questions from observing Holmgren the last two seasons.
Mora, who was hired as Seattle’s coach-in-waiting last year, also acknowledged the courting of other teams and programs, including the University of Washington, for his services while he served as defensive backs coach for Seattle.
“Over the past two years I have had other opportunities to become a head football coach,” Mora said. “But what is important to me is not being a head football coach, but being a successful head football coach. And the past two years have been an incredible opportunity personally to learn from one of the all-time greats.”
Mora made it clear the Seahawks goal is to retake the NFC West, and ultimately to compete for a Super Bowl every season.
Mora said he hopes the Arizona Cardinals win the NFC Championship and eventually the Super Bowl, because it gives his team even more motivation to work harder during the offseason.
He emphasized his Northwest roots, talking wistfully about bringing home the Lombardi Trophy and having a parade from the Space Needle to Qwest Field in celebration.
Seattle’s new coach was his energetic and enthusiastic self in talking for an hour, flanked by team president and general manager Tim Ruskell and Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke.
He talked about being a hands-on coach and a players coach. He said he learned from his time in Atlanta that he needs to create some separation from his players. But he also acknowledged the importance of earning his players trust and maintaining a solid bond with members of the team.
Mora also announced the changes in his staff, saying that he’s retaining 12 coaches. Here’s the list
Offensive coordinator – Gregg Knapp from Oakland
Mike Solari – Offensive line coach – Mike Solari
Bill Lazor – Quarterbacks coach – Bill Lazor
Kasey Dunn – Running Backs coach – Kasey Dunn
Mike DeBoard—Tight ends coach – Mike DeBord
Wide receivers coach – Robert Prince from Jacksonville
Offensive coach – Chris Beake
Defensive coordinator – Gus Bradley from Tampa Bay
Defensive line/assistant head coach – Dan Quinn from the New York Jets
Linebackers coach – Zerick Rollins
Assistant defensive backs coach – Larry Marmie
Defensive assistant coach – Mike Phair
Special Teams coach – Bruce DeHaven
Defensive quality control coach — Tom Headlee
Defensive backs coach – still to be hired
Gil Haskell (offensive coordinator), John Marshall (defensive coordinator), Keith Gilbertson (receivers coach) and Dwaine Board (defensive line coach) were the only Seattle coaches who were not retained. Jim Lind (tight ends coach) and John Jamison (assistant special teams coach).
Offensively, Mora said the team’s scheme will not change much because he believes they have one of the best quarterbacks in the game in Matt Hasselbeck, and will empower Hasselbeck to make decisions on the field. However, Mora again reiterated the importance of running the ball, particularly on the road, to win in the NFL. And he said Gregg Knapp, who’s been successful running the ball wherever he has coached, will bring that emphasis. Mora wants to be able to run the ball even when defenses stack the box.
Defensively, Mora said he wants to be sound fundamentally, and play with more aggression with guys flying around the ball. He compared the way he wants his team to play defensively to the attitude and environment the Qwest Field crowd creates — a suffocating atmosphere that makes opponents uncomfortable.
Mora also said defensively he wants to be able to get pressure on the quarterback with his front four, which is interesting because Seattle struggled to get pressure up front this season without blitzing.
Mora said he believes his team can get better up front with the addition of Quinn and guys being coached up to understand situations and how to use the schemes to their advantage.
That’s all for now. I’ll post the full transcript later with some more thoughts from the press conference.