No curbing Jim Mora's enthusiasm
The real Jim L. Mora burst to the Seahawks throne Tuesday, quaking with passion even as he attempted to be subdued, doing impersonations...
Seattle Times staff columnist
RENTON — The real Jim L. Mora burst to the Seahawks throne Tuesday, quaking with passion even as he attempted to be subdued, doing impersonations, inviting his audience to run up Tiger Mountain with him.
He was free, unrestrained, raw at times, as he talked about family, football and learning from mistakes. And yet, though he revealed himself with incomparable energy, he rarely stammered. He managed to be smooth and real at once, a levelheaded crowd pleaser.
Now, about those doubts that he's the proper balm for the Seahawks at this time.
Crumple 'em up.
About those criticisms that he's been too quiet the past year.
Toss 'em out.
About those whispers that he couldn't possibly be satisfied with this job because his dream gig at Washington could've been his.
Send 'em to the incinerator.
Mora looks good as the Seahawks head coach. He fits. He's the right man.
"This is a guy who's proud to wear the Seahawks logo on his shirt," Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke said.
Heck, he's proud to wake up in the morning and have breakfast. Mora displays an exuberant flair in everything he does. And it's not an act. Mora's zest is more like a fountain that never stops.
"He will absolutely be himself," Holmgren predicted about Mora before he exited. "There's no con in him."
More than anything, that's what Tuesday was about. It was the definitive statement that a new coach is here with a different vision, and he's every bit as bullish on his methods as Holmgren was.
Applaud Mora for the classy way he handled a delicate situation. After Holmgren announced his impending quasi-retirement last January and Mora was named the coach-in-waiting, Mora refused to steal any of the headlines during Holmgren's swan season.
When pushed to address his future promotion, Mora declined. When gossip festered about his interest in the Washington job, Mora kept coaching the Seahawks defensive backs. When people grew irritated over his silence, Mora continued to do what his father taught him: Focus on the task at hand.
It all makes sense now. Mora showed respect for Holmgren, took the hits, and now that he's the boss, he'll act like the boss.
He'll turn the phrase "relentless" effort into a mantra for his football team. He'll hand the offense over to new coordinator Greg Knapp with the expectation that the offense will specialize in running the football. He'll try to create a defense that plays an attacking style.
"Attacking and being aggressive and playing with a little bit of a stinger," Mora said. "It's a style. It's an attitude. It's an emphasis. It's a passion."
Mora daydreamed about creating a defense so good that he could "airlift" the unit to anywhere in the world and know they were capable of attacking any challenger.
It's all part of his plan to make the Seahawks a true equal to the fans at Qwest Field. He marveled over the "compressing feeling" that fans have created for opponents at Qwest, and he hopes the Seahawks will play in a manner just as suffocating so that foes will run away, saying, "I'm not safe here."
If Holmgren, who managed to suppress his volcanic desire to win in public settings, was like gin and tonic on a Sunday afternoon, Mora is more like three Jager bombs on a Saturday night.
"He can run up and down the sidelines a little faster than Holmgren," linebacker Julian Peterson joked recently.
And, at 47 years old, Mora might be a little faster than some of his players, too.
Can he bottle that energy and become a better CEO this time around? That's the goal for Mora. He says a head coach must take more of a "global view" than an assistant coach, and during his three-year stint as the Atlanta Falcons' head man, he was criticized for being too close to his players.
While admitting he must tweak his tactics, Mora also acknowledged he won't change his approach too much. His ability to gain the trust of his players is an asset, and he'll simply use the skill better this time.
He has a rare gift with people, and you're just beginning to see that. It doesn't guarantee success, but certainly it helps.
"Football has paid for every meal I've ever eaten, every stitch of clothes I've ever put on my body, every movie I've ever gone to," Mora said.
And now the sport will give him just what he craves: Another chance to be a great head football coach. Another chance to win his way.
Jerry Brewer: 206-464-2277 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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