Don't Cry if Mike Holmgren Isn't the Seattle Seahawks' Guy

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIDecember 18, 2009

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 21: Head coach Mike Holmgrem of the Seattle Seahawks waves to fans after his final home game as head coach against the New York Jets on December 21, 2008 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Jets 13-3. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

When Seahawks CEO Tod Leiweke basically fired general manager Tim Ruskell two weeks ago, Leiweke was immediately asked about the possibility of former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren returning to that role.

His reply: “I’m just not going to go there. I’m not going to talk about that today. I will tell you that there’s going to be a process.”

And that tells you all you need to know. Led by their headhunters in New York, the Seahawks will continue their methodical search and find the best candidates. They will not be hurried by the fact that the Cleveland Browns are apparently hot-to-trot for Holmgren or that Holmgren reportedly is eager to find a new gig by Christmas.

Holmgren obviously would like to come back to coach Seattle, and a cynic would surmise that he is using the beleaguered Browns as a way to motivate the Hawks into stepping up the process.

But it doesn’t appear as though Leiweke is going to accommodate Holmgren, despite the wishes of a legion of loyal fans who think Holmgren deserves the right to once again run the team he once took to the Super Bowl.

Talking to KJR after Ruskell was fired, Holmgren acknowledged the possibility that Leiweke might not want to bring him back, saying, “The people on the team have to want you. The situation has to be right, the opening has to be right. And so that’s why I’ve tried to just keep an open mind and not get too emotional about it.”

Fans shouldn’t get emotional either, because there are plenty of other options out there, some who might be better than Holmgren.

Among the men we previously mentioned as possible candidates, the best would seem to be Philadelphia’s Tom Heckert, Baltimore’s Eric DeCosta, and Indianapolis’ Tom Telesco.

The News Tribune has touted Arizona’s Steve Keim, and TNT’s Eric Williams came up with his own list of candidates a couple of weeks after we put ours out (with Heckert and DeCosta the only duplicates).

The bottom line: There is more than one way to win, which means there is more than one man who could do the job right. Holmgren is the sentimental choice of fans, but he might not be the best choice.



While that situation continues to play itself out over the next few weeks, the Seahawks also have a season to play out. And they finally are going to make some moves that should have been made weeks ago.

The problem: These aren’t the only moves that should be made.

Yes, Max Unger is finally moving to center, as we called for weeks ago. And Chris Spencer is being pushed by untested guard Mike Gibson, who could be a diamond in the rough as left tackle Brandon Frye was earlier this season before he suffered a neck injury.

Also, coach Jim Mora put Sean Locklear on notice at left tackle, demanding that Locklear play with more toughness.

Actually, Mora said the entire line needs to play more like mean and tough “dirtbags,” which is true. It might help if the Hawks went back to a power blocking scheme rather than the finesse zone scheme, which this group obviously has not mastered.

In the end, the Hawks will realize what some of us already know: Locklear is better suited to play right tackle and they have to find a new left tackle.

This is the line the Seahawks should be starting right now: LT Damion McIntosh, LG Rob Sims, C Max Unger, RG Ray Willis, RT Sean Locklear.

As for the receiver situation, it’s unfortunate it has taken a high ankle sprain by Nate Burleson to give rookie Deon Butler the looks he needs. Butler should have replaced Deion Branch as the third receiver weeks ago. Now Branch becomes the starter, and Butler will be No. 3.

Keeping Branch ahead of the rookie is really a matter of misplaced respect for a guy who has done little to earn it over the last three years. The Hawks will look even more foolish if they let Branch go after this season. Of course, with Burleson slated to be a free agent, the Hawks might actually need to hold on to Branch—at a much cheaper price than $5 million, of course.