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Offseason Checklist: Ensure Stability at Head Coach

Ensure Stability at Head Coach

How to reconcile my gut reaction about the actions of last week with this:

...Be it Holmgren, Jim Mora Jr, Jon Gruden or Coach X, the Seattle Seahawks are a veteran club that needs stability in its coaching staff. All things considered, Mora would likely be preferable. One thing I definitely wish to avoid is Holmgren coaching one more season, and therefore being the proverbial "lame duck". If Holmgren wishes to stick around, I hope he signs an extension and recommits himself to the craft...

While both coordinators and assistant head coach Jim Mora are still around, Mike Holmgren is a lame duck, Matt Hasselbeck's Linus-like security blanket, Jim Zorn, has been signed away by the Washington Redskins and a potential power struggle may already be brewing behind the scenes. Or, maybe more accurately, coming to a head.

From day one, Tim Ruskell has been ruthless reshaping the roster in his own image. Holmgren, Seattle's former GM, and he have never seen eye to eye. But winning, as it can only do, has bridged the division and allowed Seattle to more or less peacefully transition from one very strong and starkly different personality and philosophy to another. The danger is in the hungry ones beneath the pile, the one's less willing to acquiesce in the name of solidarity, the one's with much left to accomplish and even more to prove. Specifically, I'm talking about wannabe head coaches Gil Haskell and James Lawrence Mora.

I picked this out of Clare Farnesworth's recent column, the bolding is my own.

After meeting Wednesday with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Zorn returned to Seattle to discuss the situation with the Seahawks. But he was seeking guarantees the club could not make -- including being assured he would assume the offensive coordinator position next season after coach Mike Holmgren retires; being considered as a replacement for Holmgren; and an extension on his contract that had one year remaining.

If Mora is considered the coach to be, something we can't be certain about and has not been spoken of directly, but seems at least a very real possibility, then Zorn and everyone else is preemptively out of the running. Everyone else includes Haskell, who's 63, has been in the league 25 years and is known to covet a head coaching position. Haskell, who handled much of Holmgren's head coaching duties in 2007, might feel slighted by Ruskell recruiting from outside the organization a former head coach and all but named successor. The question is, then, would Mora feel comfortable working under Haskell? Would Haskell feel comfortable working under Mora? Does Haskell consider this a fair contest, or does Mora's youth, head coaching experience and ties to Ruskell make him a shoe in? And, perhaps most importantly, does Holmgren's lame duck status create a power vacuum that allows all this dust to kick up?

Zorn likely knew that the Skins' offensive coordinator job was his, and the sizable raise it promised, but flew back to Seattle because he wanted to stay with the Seahawks organization. His ties to Seattle and the Seahawks are stronger than Haskell's, whose ties are mostly to Holmgren. While much of this is idle speculation, the Hawks coaching situation as it is now and as it likely will be entering the 2008 season looks anything but stable. Seattle has two assistant head coaches, one on offense, one on defense, one a Mike Holmgren loyalist, another with strong ties to Tim Ruskell, each with aspirations of being Holmgren's successor, but maybe only one with a legitimate shot. That's a lot of tinder sticks. I only hope that class and winning keep this fire from starting.