It was back in September when I first heard a rumor from an inside source from the Hawks front office that Tim Ruskell was to be receiving an extension. I suffered from the personal dilemma afterward whether or not to write about my belief that this was a very poor idea. I mean, this was the man who let Steve Hutchinson walk. This was the man who brought us mistakes like Lawrence Jackson, Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett, Brian Russell, Marcus Pollard and ignored major pending flaws in our team leading us into disaster (see the running game prior to 2007, the wide receiver corps before 2008 and the offensive tackle position prior to this season), but he was also calling the personnel shots the only time our beloved squad went to the Superbowl.
The answer to my personal struggle came down to the fact that I didn’t have the energy to call him out when it was less popular, but I wish I had. The last thing I wanted was to see Ruskell receive an extension. So much so, that in my December bowling equipment related newsletter , I placed a picture of Ruskell at the top with the caption, “All I want for Christmas is a new GM.” Aptly, the day after Ruskell resigned his post, I received an e-mail from one of my cohorts in the bowling industry stating simply, “Merry Christmas.” I giggled, but I also realize the daunting task facing whomever takes over for Ruskell in the long term- rebuilding a once formidable offensive unit. An offensive unit almost ignored by Ruskell at times.
The same source within the inner-workings of the Hawks says that the top 2 candidates to replace Timmy at the moment are Mike Holmgren and Gary Wright. Frankly, I think we all know who we want. We want Holmgren back in the fold. From a standpoint based in reality, we can agree that Holmy made some less-than-desirable moves during his tenure as coach/GM, nabbing guys like Lamar King, Chris McIntosh, Jerramy Stevens and Koren Robinson. His detractors have a point there, however they also must acknowledge the level of difficulty being coach and GM carries with it. They also need to remember some of his better moves as well, including a move that changed the face of our organization forever, the trade for Matt Hasselbeck. When push comes to shove, this is a quarterback driven league. Hass stabilized a position that saw great ineffectiveness for years prior to his arrival (and even the first couple after, to be honest). Hasselbeck, however, is now reaching the twilight of his NFL career. Realistically, Hass has maybe one or two more years left. Regardless of how you feel about Holmgren’s personnel decisions otherwise, is there really anyone else you would rather have selecting our next “franchise quarterback?” My answer? Hell no.
With a track record like Holmgren’s when it comes to signal callers, including guys like Brett Favre, Joe Montana and Hasselbeck, you’d be hard pressed to find someone you could even make an argument for. Plus, nobody will ever try to argue that Holmy will neglect the offense and, with the level of young talent on the defensive side of the ball for the Hawks, a little less attention to the D is probably acceptable.
Something else I wanted to add (and I’d like to preface this as hearsay, however if it is true, it might give you one more reason to root for Holmgren to replace Ruskell), a former Hawks coach who would probably not like to be identified told a colleague of mine that Ruskell wanted Holmgren out so badly (referring to his tenure as Hawks head coach) that he even paid players to go on injured reserve, paid defensive players not to suit up due to “injury” and even went as far as to pay receivers to drop passes, all in an effort to undermine Holmy and to try to get him to leave town. Does that anger you? It sure angers me greatly. There were certainly things about Holmgren I didn’t like (if I had seen one more full back draw on 3rd and 11 back then I may have gone postal), but he was still the best coach we have ever had and didn’t deserve to go out like that. But hey, as I said, take that 411 with a grain of salt.
By the way, is it too early to start the campaign for Jake Locker as the next Seahawks QB? Hmmmm…. Random I know, but I’m allowed to dream. Just hope he doesn’t become a stinkin’ Ram…