Thursday, December 3, 2009
Thoughts from Ruskell's news session
By Mike Sando
RENTON, Wash. -- Thoughts and observations from the news conference to announce Tim Ruskell's resignation as Seahawks president and general manager:
- Ruskell's top personnel lieutenant, Ruston Webster, takes over as interim GM. Webster is a candidate for the full-time position. The team will begin a comprehensive audit of the strengths and weaknesses of the football operation. The search for a replacement begins right away.
- "We will not join them. They are going to join us." That was what CEO Tod Leiweke said about the next GM. In other words, the team would like to maintain as much continuity as possible, pending that comprehensive audit, perhaps.
- Leiweke said the team envisions retaining coach Jim Mora and staff. That is surely true right now, but the fact remains that Mora will likely work for someone less invested in him than Ruskell was, perhaps giving Mora less margin for error in the future.
- Leiweke would not comment on whether Mike Holmgren might be a candidate for the job, saying he was "not going to go there" at this time. I would expect the team to consider Holmgren in some capacity, but there's little chance, in my view, that the team would give him total control without checks and balances.
- Ruskell was emotional in the beginning, particularly after Leiweke said nice things about him and his family. Ruskell was emotional again later in the news conference when recounting some of the team's accomplishments. There was also humor. Ruskell, mindful that Steve Hutchinson's departure after the 2005 season might one day be written on his managerial tombstone, joked that he would consider cremation as an alternative.
- Ruskell said he had a "fantastic" relationship with Holmgren. He slipped up a little, I thought, when he said the relationship was excellent even though he had heard "the only general manager (Holmgren) had gotten along with was himself." On second thought, Ruskell was probably entitled to say something such as that given the way Holmgren has publicly promoted his potential candidacy for the job.
- Ruskell forced the organization's hand about whether the team would extend his contract beyond this season. Leiweke said the organization wasn't ready to do that because the team simply had not won enough games lately. Making the decision now helps the Seahawks conduct a more thorough analysis and search.
- Ruskell said he underestimated the struggles that might have resulted from changing the head coach, both coordinators, both schemes and multiple starters in one offseason. He said the process simply did not play out quickly enough.
Those were some of the key points. I'm heading home from Seahawks headquarters and will resume regular blog programming as soon as possible.