BillT On Ruskell

Hey gang. It’s been asked in the comments when I was going to weigh in on the Ruskell resignation. I wanted to let the furor die down a little first but for those who wanted to hear what I had to say about it, here it is.



It’s no secret that I admired Tim Ruskell and thought he did a good job with the Seattle Seahawks. According to the rest of the Seahawk’s front office, so did they. It just came down to not enough wins. Tim Ruskell acknowledged that in his press conference. It certainly wasn’t from a lack of trying. Ruskell did everything he could to pull this franchise up and came up short.

There were a lot of mitigating factors that most people inside the organization are aware of and although some feel that he was a victim of circumstances, the buck does stop at his desk and he’s a big enough man to take the responsibility. Tim Ruskell wasn’t fired. He resigned. In fact, the last two guys who were fired from Seattle were Dennis Erickson and Bob Whitsitt. Holmgren and Ruskell both resigned.

Ruskell came to the Seattle Seahawks when they relieved Holmgren of his GM duties and his job was to support Holmgren with the players needed to get the team over the hump. He did so immediately bringing in defensive help that remade the defense and one receiver who made all the difference in the world on offense. Seattle finally made the big show with that collaboration of Holmgren’s offense and Ruskell’s defense. Then age and injury caught up with the Seahawks. To continue reading, please press “Read More“. 

It probably wouldn’t have mattered who had been brought in as the GM in 2005, the team was in for a rough four years in what is a natural cycle in the NFL of working to get a core group of players together to be a contender and then as they age or are lost to injury, rebuilding and finding the next core group. In short order they lost the interior of their offensive line. Hutch, Tobeck, and Gray were all gone two years later. Mack Strong and the running back he led to the MVP title in 2005 left a huge hole in the running game when they too departed. The big receiver Ruskell signed, Joe Jurevicius, who was so instrumental in the Super Bowl run left for his home town team. Two years later, Holmgren decided to take a year’s sabbatical and the team suffered the worst run of injuries in it’s history. Then this year, the team was beset by a new head coach, new coordinators, new schemes on offense and defense, and new position coaches. Ruskell admitted that they hadn’t counted on the change having such a drastic effect on the team but in retrospect, maybe they should have phased things in more slowly although I don’t know how you do that in that situation. It has been pretty much acknowledged by even the Seahawks that no GM could have survived all the things that happened in the last four years however the fact that the Seahawks haven’t made progress means someone has to pay regardless of the futility of the job. Ruskell took that responsibility and made it his own and faced the bottom line with the Seahawks and did what he felt was best for the team like he’s been doing for the last four years.

Now the Ruskell era is over and the Seahawks are trying to figure out the best course of action for the team. The Seahawks haven’t had a clean break with a previous regime since Holmgren took over in 1999. When Holmgren stepped down from the GM position, they hired Tim Ruskell to come in and work with the existing coaching staff. Then they hired the coach to replace Holmgren two years before his departure and tried to keep as many coaches from Holmgren’s staff as they could. Now the word is that they’re looking for a GM to join them rather than they joining him. In other words, once again, they want to keep half the front office/coaching staff tandem intact and they’re looking for a GM willing to come in and work with an existing coaching staff and philosophy. One thing that’s sure to do and that’s make any of the big guns who have earned the right to come in and call their own shots wary. There’s been speculation that Holmgren might be willing to come in and accept Mora and his staff but that really doesn’t sound like Mike to me. If there’s anything I know about Holmgren, it’s that he likes to have things his way. Regardless of what the Seahawks say, if I were Mora, I’d be feeling the squeeze coming. If the Seahawks uncover a candidate they feel is the right man for the job and he insists on bringing in his own coach and staff, all bets could be off as far as Mora’s security is concerned.

Right now, the future is uncertain. We could be looking at slipping a new GM into the mix unobtrusively and Mora and Staff have another year to make good on their schemes with a better offensive line. That will only play out if the new GM believes in Mora and his plan. We’ve seen how conflict between the front office and coaching staff can have dire consequences for the team. We could be looking at a new high profile GM who will insist on having it his way and Mora and staff are toast. In that case, there could be significant player turnover too. Whatever happens, I doubt the Seahawks are going to be contenders again for another year or two perhaps longer if we make a complete break. I wonder how long the new guy has before fans start calling for his head if they don’t put an immediate winner on the field. They called for the end of Holmgren the GM, then Holmgren the coach in his last days. They started calling for Ruskell’s head right after Hutch defected and Mora, Knapp, and Bradley have been under fire all season. Seattle fans seem to have a low tolerance for building a team through the draft a few pieces at a time. They want instant gratification. I hope whoever comes in is given a chance to get things organized to his liking before he gets run out of town as a failure because it might be another 5 year plan we’re looking at and that’s going to take a lot of patience from all concerned.