Seahawks Personnel Changes Under New Head Coach Mora

Published on January 3, 2009 by     Seahawk Fanatic

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It has been known for almost a year now that Jim Mora was going to replace Mike Holmgren as the Seahawks‘ next coach. The only question is how will Mora fill out his staff and which of Holmgren’s assistants will Mora retain on his staff.

As for player needs, the Seahawks will have to acquire a big wide receiver, a defensive tackle who can rush the passer, a cornerback with size and a quality running back who can carry the load for an entire season.

COACHING CAROUSEL: Mora is very unlikely to retain either of Holmgren’s coordinators, defensive coordinator John Marshall, who the players criticized this season for not using them properly, and offensive coordinator Gil Haskell, who has been with Holmgren for a long time. Recently hired coaches Kasey Dunn, Bill Lazor and Mike Solari have a chance to stay, as does special teams coach Bruce DeHaven, whose units performed admirably this season.

FREE AGENT UPDATE: The biggest free agent is linebacker Leroy Hill, though the Seahawks seem unlikely to keep him since they already are paying Lofa Tatupu and Julian Peterson sizeable salaries. Wide receiver Bobby Engram also is free, though he is 35, missed some time this year because of a shoulder injury and held out of OTAs last year in a contract dispute. Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, the longest-tenured veteran on the defense, is questionable to return, in part because he was accused last year of punching an ex-girlfriend in the head with a closed fist. It does not fit the standards that GM Tim Ruskell has laid out, though Bernard does stop up the middle and the Seahawks don’t appear to have any heir apparents.

FEELING A DRAFT: The Seahawks have the fourth pick in the draft. They seem likely to take one of two positions and one of two or three players. They need a big wide receiver, and Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree fits that mold. But they also need an eventual replacement for left tackle Walter Jones, and it would be tough to pass up Ole Miss’s Michael Oher or Alabama’s Andre Smith.

TEAM NEEDS

Wide receiver: Every one of the Seahawks‘ wide receivers is undersized, and they often get beat by bigger defensive backs. A Larry Fitzgerald-type receiver would make every other receiver better.

Cornerback: The Seahawks are undersized at the position and were beaten by bigger receivers all season. They need a player with height to fend off taller receivers who abused them all season.

Running back: The Seahawks went by committee in 2008 because neither Julius Jones, Maurice Morris nor T.J. Duckett stood out enough to carry the load by themselves. Morris is likely gone as a free agent, but Jones and Duckett don’t seem able to be a No. 1 back for a playoff team.

MEDICAL WATCH: QB Matt Hasselbeck did not play the final month with a bulging disc in his back. He said he does not need surgery and should heal by late February through rehab.

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