Thursday, 3 December 2009

My thoughts on Ruskell's exit

So the Seahawks are now officially looking for a new GM. It wasn't really surprising in all honesty. The franchise could have stopped all the rampant speculation of the last few weeks by simply giving Ruskell a vote of confidence - and a new deal. When they chose not to, the writing was virtually on the wall.

But here's the truth - the situation is a complete mess. It's a shambles. Allowing a GM to hand pick his own coaching staff with one year left on his contract - and then watching him walk out the door before week 13 - is simply unacceptable. Any new GM that arrives now is going to either have to work with the current staff, or initiate a mass exodus. Neither situation is attractive, but that's what we're faced with.

Of course, there is the quote from CEO Tod Leiweke today: "We will not join them. They are going to join us." I don't know about anyone else, but I want the new GM to have as much control as possible. I don't think a case where he sneaks in through the back door represents anything other than a switching of the deck chairs on the Titanic. Tim Ruskell could quickly become a scapegoat for a franchise living with dellusions of grandeur.

Someone in the organisation must grab the bull by the horns and make a decision here. It may even be a tough one. But right now this franchise is going nowhere fast. The offense is impotent, severely lacking game winning play makers whilst relying heavily on ageing veterans. The defense is over rated, but also thoroughly expensive. A number of the key components are 'Ruskell guys' on big contracts and the new GM will have to deal with that.

Overall this is not a good time for a new man to come in. For that reason, it's important they have as much control as possible because make no mistake - there won't be many tougher challenges in the NFL than righting this ship.


Anonymous said...

I suspect that one of the reasons they moved like this was because, if there is no new CBA than we can cut overpriced players with out cap accelleration penalties. I bet a new CBA will be in place with in the next year so this may be a "get out of bad contracts year free" card for teams with money. Goodby Branch/Jones/Kearny. Also possible we trade or release Lofa or Hill. With Hawthorn playing like a young (cheap) star, we may decide to cut some other payroll for the rebuild. Hope they think it through.


Rob Staton said...

I just think that the situation does not show the Seahawks in a good light. They allowed this GM to essentially bring in a completely new coaching staff one year before his deal ran out. Either they were confident in Ruskell or they weren't - I can't help but feel he should've either been extended last year with a deal to match Jim Mora's (so they live or die together) or they should've removed Ruskell a year early - not entirely unfair following 4-12 - and brought in a new guy to lead things forward with his own coaching staff.

They're saying they intend Mora to remain coach. I find this unsatisfying, not because I don't believe Mora deserves a chance either. How can you bring in a new GM and then ask him to work with Ruskell's tools? What is the point of replacing Ruskell if everything else stays the same other than the guy at the front giving the press conference when the draft pick gets announced?

Besides - I get the feeling Mora, Knapp and Ruskell shared a vision for this team. We can only guess what it is - we've seen almost no evidence in 11 regular season games. Who's to say the new GM will share that vision?

Do we now go on a mass clear out of coaching staff too? I think you almost have to.

Either way, I can't see a conclusion that really benefits this team other than that mass clear out and the keys handed to a new GM or VP with ultimate power. There's no point making Ruskell a scape goat to appoint Ruskell mark II and have him doing the same things leading the same army into battle.

Anonymous said...

I am very glad to see TR gone. Risk adverse people should not enter a profession in which you are supposed to gamble millions of dollars on an individual succeeding at a difficult sport.

I agree with you Rob. If you bring in a new guy, you let him be "the guy." If you are going to force a new GM to keep the entire staff, then we seahawk fans can look forward to more mediocrity. Mediocrity is being generous.

I say we either bring in an old school football guy (think Holmgren, Shanahan) or we go young blood like Atlanta did with Dimitroff. It's time to shake things up and take a different approach because what we have been doing simply isn't good enough. The Seahawks organization is full of money and loyal fans. It's time they start paying us back by taking some chances and putting a concerted effort into building a football team, not collect a bunch of "nice guys."

Anonymous said...

The world gave Mr. Ruskell a thumbs down today. Kind of sad.

He put in hours that kill middle age men. I hope he takes time off and hits the gym.

Thanks for all the hard work and dedication TR. Best of everything in future.

Neil Christensen said...

Rob, I agree this singles complete rebuild. Liewicke is saying they are planning to retain the coaching staff, but that isn't going to happen and would be short sighted if it did. This is poker and the Seahawks have just folded and are cashing in their chips for the next tournament. I'm actually very happy about this. We have enough time to find great replacements and have 2 first round picks to start the rebuild in earnest. Cutting Kerney, Walt and potentially others as well as re-negotiating contracts or trades will happen next year freeing up resources. We should have been rebuilding since the end of 2006. Now we will. Let the new era begin! Bring on Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer...LOL

Savage said...

It really suprises me that Leiweke would come out and make such a definative statement about approaching a GM hire. I can understand that they like Mora and want to give him a fair shake, but you shouldn't hire a gm to fit a coach. I'm ok with keeping Mora, but make him cut the cord with Knapp.

What I'm hoping Leiweke means is that Allen and himself have a philosiphy on how the organization should operate. It makes no sense to hire a leader who can't implement their own ideas.

The Trailblazers were in a similair situation to this with under performing and aging veterans and Allen went out and hired a very good gm that has turned that around. Hopefully they take the same route here.

And please hire a gm that won't continually draft undersized defenders.

Anonymous said...


Do you think that this could mean they intend to bring someone in who happens to be familiar with the situation? Maybe someone who knows the players and the coaches and could work better with them?

Maybe the only difference they are looking for is someone who can spend two first round draft picks on the offense?

Or do you think that Tod Leiweke is just wrong and that a new GM will come in and throw out a lot of the current staff?

kearly said...

Rob, great post.

Regarding the coaching, Holmgren had been flirting with retirement for years and when he stepped down in 2008, its important to note that he announced his retirement before that season. The Seahawks had to fill Holmgren's shoes and a new coaching staff was pretty much a must if only because he wasn't there anymore, and there wasn't a clear HC candidate on the existing staff other than Mora. Honestly, I don't think they could have made a smaller splash if they tried with the Mora hiring.

I like Jim Mora, but he is not a franchise making head coach. He's a yes man motivational speaker who defers to his coordinators. If Mora and his coaching staff is gutted this offseason, it won't be a cataclysmic upheaval.

Depending on who is hired, I'd be ok with keeping the current staff- but its important to note that upgrades are out there, most notably the "rock star" coaches, and those coaching candidates should be considered.

If a new GM means we land Shanahan as our head coach, I'd be very happy.

1stHill said...

I hate the idea of basically guaranteeing Mora that he will continue to be the head coach. That will make Seahawks GM position very unappealing to the highly sought after GM candidates. While I would like to give Mora a few years to lead this team, but not at the expense of missing out on a great GM.

Patrick said...

I understand why people want to give Mora another chance. I do. I'm just not sure if that's because as humans we want to give second chances, or if we really want to because we think Mora has earned it. Personally, I don't.

I know it's easy to say now, but a year ago today I really was not excited about Mora. I mean after all, I saw him as the same guy who didn't work out with Atlanta. While other teams were grabbing up-and-comers like Steve Spagnolo and Rex Ryan, we were grabbing a guy who really wasn't ALL that successful in his past job.

When Mora gave his first press conference, I changed my tune. I was excited for the new blood and thought he would be a great leader for our team. So far, he's become almost a laughing stock in the NFL. Most of my non Seahawk fan friends know him for calling out Mare after the Bears game. Either that or they know him for currently refusing to committ to Forsett over Jones, despite the obvious.

It would be different if Mora was bringing us wins. It would. But the fact is he isn't. And although you could argue guys like Spagnolo and Jim Schwartz are in charge of teams with worse records than ours, look at the talent involved. Not only that, but they have hope for the future. Give Rams a first round QB and maybe some more weapons on Defense and they could easily be challenging us in the division.

Personally, I would not be upset to see Mora go. I would love to have Leslie Frasier as our Head Coach. He's young, he wants to be a head coach, and the Vikings defense is absolutely amazing. Imagine a Leslie Frasier led defense where guys like Curry, Tatupu, and Trufant are actually living up to their potentials.

Rob Staton said...

Personally, I want an offensive minded head coach or at least a coach that can delegate nicely to his two coordinators. I was never satisfied that our entire offense was essentially in the hands of Greg Knapp and it's that side of the ball that requires the biggest rebuild. I'd prefer to find a dynamic offensive minded coach and pair him with a very experienced, veteran D-coordinator.

Anonymous said...

"I hate the idea of basically guaranteeing Mora that he will continue to be the head coach."

First off, what is is supposed to say? He didnt guarantee it, but he isnt going to say that Mora will be out or not retained with 5 games to go in the season!! He has to keep those cards close to the vest for the sake of our remaining games and our fan base.
What happens if he tells the media that Mora will not be retained at the end of the year? Mora and the players will be dealing with all the questions for the rest of the year and that would be a huge distraction.
Cmon guys, use your heads here, Mora will be evaluated by the new GM and that person will make the desision on that.
This is the start of new leadership and we should be prepared to suck for a few years unless someone can come in here and hit big right away with the draft, and FA'cy.

Savage said...

What coaches are out there that would be a good fit to come in and take over the offense. I do think we need a new OC that will bring in fresh ideas.

Its possible that Gary Kubiak could be availible if he's not retained. His offenses in Houston have been good and he's developed Matt Schaub into and effective passer. He also uses a zone blocking scheme. I would guess he'd go where Shannahan ends up though. He also may want to be a HC again and wait to see if something opened up for him. In addition it could also make Alex Gibbs or Kyle Shannahan availible.

Who else is out there that could be an option? They've got to make Mora realize Knapp just isn't cutting it anymore and really hasn't since 2003.