#1. Find a President/General Manager – This will be a busy off-season for the Seattle Seahawks, and the first order of business will be to find a new general manager.
The Seahawks hired New York-based consulting firm Spencer Stuart to conduct the GM search, which produced a list of 10 names, not including former head coach Mike Holmgren, who turned down the Seahawks offer to return to the team in a front-office capacity.
Many of the names on that list are currently employed by teams in the NFL playoffs, so it may be a few weeks before the Seahawks are able to interview and hire the next President/General Manager.
One thing that has become painfully clear is that CEO Tod Leiweke's "We're not going to joining them, they're going to join us" stance needs to change. With the Seahawks at 9-23 the last two seasons, nothing should be off the table at this point.
#2. Make a decision on Jim Mora – There's a lot to like about Mora: He's an energetic, defensive-minded head coach with local ties. It's clear that he wants to do well, as being the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks is a job he's dreamed of having his entire life, so it's hard to root against a guy like that.
But good intentions and local ties shouldn't automatically handcuff Mora to the incoming general manager. If the new "leader" wants to bring in his own head coach, something every general manager candidate will want to, he should be free to do so.
And with Mora's 5-11 record this season, and now 31-33 overall record as an NFL head coach, and his throwing various players under the bus after losses this season, there shouldn't be many objections to this.
Arizona Cardinals Director of Player Personnel Steve Keim is one of the names on the list of GM candidates, and if he wants to bring in Russ Grimm, a Hall of Fame offensive linemen who nearly got the Pittsburgh Steelers' head coaching job a few years ago, to replace Mora, who can rightfully object to that?
Philadelphia Eagles General Manager Tom Heckert, another name on the list of candidates, may want to hire Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who ESPN Magazine named as the "Next Great NFL Head Coach".
If the powers that be at Vulcan absolutely, positively insist on a second season for Mora, and the new general manager is agreeable to that, then Mora should do some self-preservation by separating himself from offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
#3. Draft a Left Tackle – The Seahawks haven't drafted an offensive tackle since 2005, opting instead to go with a "Walter Jones shall never, ever age and if he does, Sean Locklear will suffice" approach, which nearly got Matt Hasselbeck killed this season.
This isn't meant to disparage Locklear, who is a solid right tackle and has a contract that's commensurate with what solid right tackles should make. ($4.85M base salary in '10) It's just become clear that after a 12+ game audition between 2008 and 2009, Locklear is not an NFL left tackle and is better suited for the right side.
The verb used above is important: Seattle must draft the left tackle, not look for one via free agency. NFL teams simply do not allow left tackles to enter free agency, so any that are available come March, are out there for a reason (age, injury, declining skills) and should be avoided like it's contagious. Teams have traded for an elite left tackle (it's how the Philadelphia Eagles acquired Jason Peters), but the cost of doing so is usually a first-round pick, as well as a monster-sized free agent contract.
Seattle has the 6th and 14th picks in the 2010 NFL Draft, either of which are too valuable to trade away in what may be the deepest NFL Draft class in recent memory.
Picking that highly in the draft means the Seahawks are in prime position to snag one of the top tackles of this year's draft class, and if they get the right guy at left tackle, Seattle's offensive line will have a good nucleus going forward at left tackle, center (Max Unger), and right tackle (Locklear). Mike Solari, or whoever the offensive line coach is, can then pick and choose among the plethora of guard prospects Tim Ruskell and interim general manager Ruston Webster have clogged the roster with these past few years to fill out the rest of the offensive line.
Give Matt Hasselbeck a few play-makers on offense with the other 1st round pick, as well as the early pick in rounds two, and get John Carlson and Deon Butler more involved in the passing game to free up T.J. Houshmandzadeh and perhaps Nate Burleson, and the Seahawks will be putting touchdowns—not field goals—on the scoreboard and won't be asking an under-sized defense to spend nearly 33 minutes per game on the field.
Bonus Item - Not nearly as important to the football product as items 1-3, but the new general manager needs to banish all lime-green from the on-field product.
Sell as much lime-green gear as you can make in the Pro Shop, and cover all 67,000+ fans from head-to-toe in the stuff, but seeing 300+ pound linemen in lime-green shoes and gloves has reached the point of absurdity, and if you don't think it affects the on-field product, you're wrong.
How else were the officials able to see where Houshmandzadeh's hands were on a very ticky-tack holding call that negated a 20+ yard run by Justin Forsett? And you've got offensive linemen wearing these things?
Go back and watch any game from 2004-07, and you won't see nearly as much lime-green as you will in the last 32 stinkfests. Even if the two are unrelated, why risk it?
Just because you're not a winner, doesn't mean you can't dress like one.
While we're on the subject, would it kill the Seahawks to bring back the blue end zones?
In addition to writing for NorthwestFootball.net, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you'd like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.