Dear Coach Mora,
It was one thing when you threw your Pro Bowl-caliber kicker under the bus in a fit of passion, but last night’s presser was just obnoxious. Basically calling into question the integrity of Chris Spencer, intimating strongly that his cast should be off by now, his thumb should be better by now, the snaps should be perfect by now… Well, guess whose fault it is that they aren’t perfect, Jim?
You are the head football coach of a professional football team. You are. You control who starts and sits. You control the personnel. If your center isn’t ready to start, if he has a cast on his damn snapping hand, you are 100% capable of starting “the other guy.” If you think your player is wimping out, playing up an injury for some non-sensical reason just to work on his ambidexterity, then YOU sit him and put his replacement in. If that doesn’t get him feeling better, maybe it’s a legit injury. But ultimately, Jim, this is your issue to deal with and it does not belong anywhere near the media.
The press conference is not a time to blow off steam. If you’re not ready to go out there, then be silent. Take questions at your Monday presser. Say “We’re going to have to watch the tape” 15 times if thats what it takes. You do not throw your player under a bus. Threaten their jobs, fine, say there may be changes coming, say your quarterback must be protected — that’s all fine. But you can’t mock your center, you can’t call into question the integrity of a player publicly like you’re running for senior class president. This is a business and you are a boss, so act like one.
Most telling of all, to me at least, is the people the Mora has thrown under the bus. So far, we’ve had two: Olindo Mare and Chris Spencer. Mare has done nothing but perform admirably for two years. He missed two kicks in a game, and that stunk, but your team put him in a position to have to kick six times. Your defense couldn’t stop the awful Bears. Your offense couldn’t get anything started against them. Yeah, you came out and apologized (sort of) the next day, congratulations, but you tarnished your image in a lot of our minds. And now, Chris Spencer?
You call out a man who is playing injured. A man whom you have said gives the Seahawks the best chance to win. He breaks his right thumb — OW! — and doesn’t complain about the pain. Doesn’t even miss a game. Instead, he busts his ass to learn how to snap with his non-dominant hand, no easy task. He does this because the team believes he is the best center right now, and he wants to give his all to be out on the field to help the team win. If he isn’t helping the team to win, tell him that, sit him down, and let him heal. Instead, you play him for four straight games with a broken thumb — wonder why it isn’t healing, couldn’t be the constant blocking of 330 lb defensive tackles, could it? — and then criticize him for still having the cast on? You’ve never laid an NFL block in your life, Jim, let alone with a broken thumb. The fact that Spencer forced himself out there and played shows his character and his integrity.
The fact that you called him out and insulted him shows yours, and it isn’t pretty. It’s time to grow up and act like an NFL coach, because this might be your last hurrah.