Expect Seahawks to pick up pace under coach Jim Mora
As players packed their things at team headquarters Monday with the Seahawks' season over, some paused to reflect on the incoming head coach, Jim Mora.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Few Seahawks know Jim Mora the way Patrick Kerney does.
Mora was Kerney's head coach with the Atlanta Falcons for three seasons, 2004 to 2006. Then both arrived in Seattle before the 2007 season. Kerney, a defensive end, had a Pro Bowl year, then had his 2008 season cut short because of a shoulder injury that required an operation. Mora spent his first season as an assistant coach, then was named Mike Holmgren's successor as head coach in February.
Kerney and other Seahawks talked about the transition from Holmgren to Mora as the players spent Monday at team headquarters meeting with Holmgren for the final time before cleaning out their lockers and saying goodbye for the offseason.
One thing is certain — practice under Mora will be conducted at a faster tempo.
"You don't just jog to the next drill, it's a three-quarter run to the next drill," Kerney said. "Defensively, he charts effort on every snap of every practice, for every little detail of your effort towards getting to the ball for every position on the field. Like I've told guys, 'Make sure [you're in] great shape when you get back.' "
It's easy to say that Holmgren is an offensive-minded coach and Mora is defensive-minded. But Mora has an energetic, youthful, hands-on presence as a coach where Holmgren was more of an overseer who often observed his assistants and players from a distance during practice.
Like Holmgren in Seattle, Mora cared a lot about his players when he was the Falcons' coach.
"Roddy White, who is now a Pro Bowl receiver, had some difficulty in Jim's last year [in Atlanta]," Kerney said. "Jim took the time on Tuesdays to work with Roddy, have catches with him, things like that. That's rare for a head coach, I think. That type of commitment makes him someone you really want to work hard for."
Tuesday is typically the players' off day in the NFL.
Mora's chest-bumping, fist-pumping style is one that his defensive backs — the unit he coached the past two seasons — have come to enjoy. And they say the rest of the Seahawks will soon see what they mean.
"He loves the game, he loves coaching, and he loves being around the game of football," cornerback Marcus Trufant said. "I think that's going to kind of trickle down to the team — his excitement, his enthusiasm. He's out there on the practice field. He's running around. He's throwing the ball around. He's having fun."
• OL Ray Willis, who is set to become a free agent, expressed his desire to remain with the Seahawks after Sunday's season-ending loss at Arizona. Willis, a fourth-round pick in 2005 who has spent all four of his pro seasons in Seattle, received his first significant playing time in 2008 and drew praise from the coaching staff for his effort. "This organization drafted me and gave me the chance, and I feel like I'm a Seahawk," Willis said.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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