Jim Mora's Seahawks a Long Way from the Finished Product

Rob StatonCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2009

RENTON, WA - JUNE 12:  Head Coach Jim Mora of the Seattle Seahawks observes play as quarterback Matt Hasselbeck #8 drops back during minicamp at the Seahawks training facility on June 12, 2009 in Renton, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks are just one of those teams.

There are a few this year—the teams you just can't quite put your finger on.

It wouldn't be a total shock if they won their division and made their presence felt in the postseason.

If they finished with seven or eight wins and failed to register much interest, would you be surprised?

Who's to say they won't endure another injury-ravaged campaign and find themselves picking in the top five again?

All possibilities are open for the start of Jim Mora's reign as head coach.

Part of the reason is this Seahawks' team is still in transition.

When you've had a head coach like Mike Holmgren for so long with his attention to detail and everything is geared toward his way, there's never going to be a quick fix.

Sure, the Seahawks could enjoy a positive 2009 campaign.

But you'll have to wait some time to see the finished product that Jim Mora, Tim Ruskell and Greg Knapp hope will bring success to the Northwest.

For starters, there's the defense.

Mora's focus will be to generate pressure from the front, allowing the linebackers to make plays and creating a platform for the cover-2 system.

The high profile additions of Cory Redding and Colin Cole will bring much needed fresh blood to Seattle's defensive line, but in all seriousness this is still a work in progress.

Too much reliance is placed on Patrick Kerney and in his nine-game absence last season, the Seahawks pass rush barely registered.

Nobody is ready to write Kerney off, but he's 33 in December and missed 16 games in the last three years.

If he remains healthy, he'll almost certainly remain a force to be reckoned with.

But with so much emphasis set to be placed on creating that pass rush from the front four, the Seahawks would be wise to keep an eye on the future—especially with a potentially strong defensive line class lined up for the 2010 draft.

You could put it this way: Mora's defense will only go as far as the defensive line will take them.

Without a pass rush, the most expensive linebacking trio in the NFL will not have the freedom to make plays and justify their price tag.

The secondary will be picked apart in the same way it was last year.

The return of Kerney, the additions of Cole and Redding, plus the emergence of Brandon Mebane as a reliable force in the middle all point to signs of optimism for 2010.

But it's short term-ism.  We won't see the peak of Mora's defense until people rank Seattle's defensive line amongst the best in the league.

That will take time, however next year plays out.

It's perhaps an even bigger transition on offense.

Let's be honest here, Greg Knapp has west coast roots but this is still an offense drafted, signed and devised for Mike Holmgren's offense.

It's his quarterback.  It's his kind of receiver.  He has the pass catching tight end.

For the benefits of short term success this year, Knapp isn't changing too much.

The playbook has been simplified a bit and he'll strive for greater pass/run balance.

A greater emphasis will be placed on the zone blocking scheme.

However, on the first week of the new season you won't see too many revolutionary changes.

A few less full back draw plays maybe, but nothing major.

There's a lot of aging veterans on Seattle's offense.  All are capable of participating in a functional system this year, but eyes will soon surely be fixed on reworking this offense for the future under Knapp and Mora.

Matt Hasselbeck is 34 in September.  Walter Jones will be approaching 36 by the end of the regular season.

Recently signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh is soon to hit 32 while Deion Branch recently turned 30.

Sooner rather than later, this offense is going to have a very different look and feel to it.

Who knows, maybe Knapp will retain a lot of the aspects seen in the Holmgren offense?

Alternatively, there's no reason why his plans for the future post-Hasselbeck, Jones and Houshmandzadeh will be something very different than we've seen in the past.

The NFL is changing, after all.

With two first round picks in 2010, it wouldn't surprise me personally to see moves towards a new vision.

As an early example, the drafting of a long term successor to Hasselbeck and a stud defensive lineman next year could certainly be a nod to the future.

Obviously the first stages of transition have begun simply with Mora and Knapp having the keys to the store.

However, we may be some time from seeing their complete vision for the Seattle Seahawks—regardless of their fortunes in 2010.


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