Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.
March 23, 2009 10:48 AM
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Fullback Leonard Weaver has left for a one-year contract in Philadlephia, and in a video interview with the team's official Web site, and he was asked about the difficulty of this past season with Mike Holmgren in his last season and Jim Mora already named the coach-in-waiting.
It's the first time I've seen a player say the situation became divisive. Here's the quote:
"I think it affected us as a team a lot. Some players, I think in some sense, it kind of got divided. The team divided a little bit, some guys were for Mike, some guys were for Jim. And, you know, I think when you make a move like that, that's not the best move for a team. However, it was what it was."
-- Leonard Weaver, March 19
Here's a link to the video interview in a separate window.
Weaver was also asked how he expects to fit into the Eagles' offense:
"Number one, I think that I can be bring a lot of versatility to the game," he said. "I think I can be another threat on the offense where a defensive coordinator has to say, 'You know what, we have to account for this guy.' "
Commentary: It's important to remember what position Weaver played and the players he spent the most time with in meetings in so forth: the running backs. There was no position where there was such a clear delineation of players signed for the future and players who had been there for coach Mike Holmgren's past.
Take T.J. Duckett. Here's a guy the Seahawks were interested in in 2007, signed in 2008 and then Holmgren said as early as training camp that he didn't really know what role there would be for Duckett. He ended up being the short-yardage back and that was about it. It was pretty evident that Duckett was signed with an eye toward the next coaching staff and an offense that would consist of one smaller, one-cut back and a larger guy like Duckett.
As for the halfback position, Holmgren split time between Julius Jones -- the player signed in 2008 -- and Maurice Morris, the long-trusted backup. Holmgren even admitted during last season that he wasn't in favor of cutting Shaun Alexander in the offseason and he ended up alternating the starting halfback between Jones and Morris until Jones lost a couple fumbles in the second half of the season.
The possibility that the coaching switch created discontinuity within the team was the elephant in the room during last year's season. It was asked about and everyone would say it wasn't an issue, and I still think that Seattle's biggest problems -- the health of wide receivers, the back condition of Matt Hasselbeck and the inability to pressure opposing quarterbacks -- had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that there was a coach in his last season and a new coach already on staff.
I think the ways that tension manifested itself were on those positions where there were players signed with an eye toward the future -- i.e. Jones and Duckett -- and those who were trusted veterans for Holmgren -- i.e. Morris. Weaver had a bird's-eye view of that, which probably was the source of the comment.