Mora Tries to Motivate Losing Team

During his regular Monday press conference, Seahawks coach Jim Mora talked little about X's and O's, and more about the mental makeup of his team after another road loss, this one a 38-17 setback at Dallas.

The Seahawks have now lost five of their past six games, including all three contests on the road by an average of 17 points a contest.

However, Mora insists that players are not pointing fingers inside the locker room, although evidence of frustrations bubbling to the surface during the game might say otherwise.
"Absolutely none," Mora said about the possible finger-pointing. "Absolutely zero. I've said this and I'll be consistent in this -- there has been none. These guys have been consistent in hanging in there, and they're fighting their tails off. And there's a good attitude, and we've got to maintain that."

Seattle players Nate Burleson and Matt Hasselbeck echoed Mora's comments when talking to reporters on Monday, even though there appear to be cracks in the team's facade -- both with receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh's antics on the sideline and the words that receiver Deion Branch spoke into a TV camera.

"After the game, Coach Mora was very blunt about our performance," Hasselbeck said. "He basically said, 'Listen, I'm going to evaluate this organization up and down, and if I feel like I've got to make changes, I'm going to make changes. And if that means firing people, I'm going to fire people.' So we've definitely been put on notice that the scrutiny is going to go up."

Burleson said along with that, the players understand they have to take ownership of how they are performing on the field and improve that effort in order for the results to change.
"When people talk about the play-calling, or why have we not been able to get certain guys the ball -- blitz more, blitz less -- that has nothing to do with the guys on the field once the clock starts," Burleson said. "I've never been a player to blame anything on the coaching staff. At the end of the day, it's the 11 guys on the field. The guys who are outside the lines only have so much control."

Hasselbeck said the perceived strained relationship between himself and Houshmandzadeh has been blown out of proportion, and the two get along fine. The two were seen on TV having an animated discussion after they failed to connect on a potential touchdown pass. Houshmandzadeh was demonstrative about asking for the ball to be thrown higher after the play.

In fact, Hasselbeck nominated Houshmandzadeh to be the team's NFL Players Association representative Monday, and the receiver was elected by his teammates. Brian Russell was the team's player rep last season. Hasselbeck and Deon Grant will serve as the alternates.

"He wasn't mad at me, or I wasn't made at him," Hasselbeck said about the conversation on the sideline after the missed connection on the pass. "That's kind of his demeanor. We've got an Xbox room right in there where everyone plays Xbox, and he yells at TV far worse than he was yelling on the sidelines.

"But I think that's something you have to understand about a teammate, is you've got to understand what works and what doesn't work."

Mora also addressed the words wide receiver Branch said after catching a 23-yard touchdown pass in the first half. Branch could be heard saying: "Y'all come find me. Anybody want me, come find me."

Those words seem to allude to the fact that Branch is not happy with his role as the team's third receiver and would like to be traded. Asked about that statement, Mora said the following: "It sounds like a challenge to me. It sounds like he's competing and challenging people to come cover him, that's what it sounds like to me -- especially if it was after a touchdown."


--Cornerback Travis Fisher was released on Monday, the team confirmed. Fisher, an eight-year veteran, was expendable with Marcus Trufant returning to the active roster for Seattle. Seattle now has a spot on the active roster to add a player.

--Wide receiver Ben Obomanu suffered an oblique muscle injury and will be evaluated further, coach Jim Mora said.


--LB Will Herring suffered a shoulder injury Sunday and will be evaluated further, coach Jim Mora said.

--OT Sean Locklear worked with trainer Sunday before the Dallas game, and he hopes to return from a high ankle sprain injury this week.


PASSING OFFENSE: C -- The Seahawks moved the ball OK at times through the air, but they struggled to find any consistency in the passing game. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck finished 22-for-39 for 249 yards, two touchdowns passes and no interceptions. Nate Burleson was the team's leading receiver with six catches for 89 yards. WR Deion Branch scored his first touchdown of the season on a 23-yard catch.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C-minus -- The Seahawks rushed for 79 total yards on 22 carries for a 3.6 yards-per-carry average. Playing against his former team, Julius Jones gained 56 yards on 15 carries, and he also caught two balls for 32 yards. Seattle had to abandon the run after getting behind 21-10 at halftime.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- CB Marcus Trufant was called for three defensive penalties in his first action for the Seahawks, all of which led to touchdowns for Dallas. The Seahawks defense also was caught jumping offside twice, and it gave up 256 yards and three touchdowns through the air to QB Tony Romo.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-plus -- The Seahawks allowed 113 rushing yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run by Marion Barber. Seattle now ranks 11th in the league overall in rushing defense, allowing an average of 101 yards a contest.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Seattle gave up an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown by Patrick Crayton. Justin Forsett fielded a punt and was tackled at the 4-yard line, costing his team field position.

COACHING: C -- After starting the year with a rash of injuries, the Seahawks have only three starters out due to injuries, but Seattle has still struggled to maintain any consistency on either side of the ball. Coach Jim Mora said even though his team has lost five its last six games, he's making sure guys are playing hard and maintaining a level of professionalism on and off the field. Top Stories