Some speculate that Jim Mora's decision to turn down a chance to coach the Washington Redskins was made because he knows he is about to be handed the coaching reins of the Seattle Seahawks as Mike Holmgren retires.
But what if Holmgren does come back for another year? (And we think he will.) Mora will have to stay put as the Seahawks' assistant head coach in charge of the secondary. Would he regret his decision? The answer is no, because Mora knows the future in Seattle is loaded with possibilities.
Even if Mora doesn't get to take over the Seahawks this year, his decision to stay is actually quite brilliant; because, after 2008, he could have his choice of coaching either of Seattle's big football teams. If Holmgren steps away after next season and the University of Washington fires Tyrone Willingham, Mora probably will be a hot candidate for both gigs.
Imagine Mora's discussion with his wife: "Let's see, honey, shall I take over as the coach of my alma mater and bring my NFL experience to UW, turning that radio joke that got me fired in Atlanta into a reality? Or shall I step into Holmgren's spot and take over an NFL team that is still poised to challenge for the Super Bowl for at least a couple more years?"
By staying in Seattle, Mora has set himself up potentially to have some pretty good choices after 2008—if he doesn't get the Seahawks' job by the end of this month because Holmgren has decided to retire.
When team president Tim Ruskell brought Mora to the Seahawks last season and made him not only the secondary coach but the assistant head coach, it was a fairly transparent move for the coaching future of the team. Assuming Mora wanted to be in Seattle—where he went to high school and college—and was willing to be patient, the Seahawks' job could be his.
It sure looks like a good move by Ruskell, who worked with Mora in Atlanta, where Mora went 26-22. As the secondary coach in Seattle this season, Mora got a chance to become familiar with the Seahawks' system, coaches and personnel. He is a defensive coach, but his offensive roots are in the West Coast system used by the Seahawks, so he surely wouldn't try to change the offense that quarterback Matt Hasselbeck so proficiently runs. Other than a few potential coaching tweaks—probably on defense—there would be few staffing moves necessary. Ruskell probably would mandate some of that to keep the continuity that has seen the Seahawks reach the playoffs for five straight years.
So this potential deal would work well both for the Seahawks and for Mora—whether it happens this year or next. Of course, that assumes Mora doesn't opt to go back to school and coach at his alma mater.
Like everyone else, Mora surely doesn't have a clue about what Holmgren will do this year, but Mora obviously thinks the future looks as good or better in Washington state as it might have in Washington, D.C.
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