RENTON, Wash. —If only Jim Mora could create as many wins as messages right now.
Seattle's new coach just released some veterans, including Edgerrin James, the NFL's active leading rusher. He promoted running back Louis Rankin, formerly released by the equally woeful Raiders, from the practice squad. The moves warned those who aren't producing to start doing so.
He sent another clear message to his flopping team last weekend when he left quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in for the entire blowout loss at Dallas - even though the three-time Pro Bowl passer still has broken ribs and was crumpled on the Cowboys' turf in the third quarter after getting crunched in the chest.
"I think you send the wrong message to your football team if you pull him out," Mora said. "I'm not going to take Matt Hasselbeck out when we're down like that and there's probably very little chance that we're going to win. I'm not going to send that message to this football team or our fans."
Instead, this is what Mora is sending: I'm not quitting on this season. You'd better not either.
That message worked in his first season with Atlanta in 2004.
"We were 6-2, and we went to Kansas City. They were up 35-3 on us at halftime," Mora said. "And I went in and I told the team at halftime, I said, 'We are not punting. I don't care where the football is. We're going to go for two. We're going to try to block every punt. We absolutely will not give in.'
"And we got beat 56-10."
After the game, Mora got a call from his father, who has the same name. The former NFL coach told his son: "Hey Jim, sometimes it's OK to punt."
"I'm trying to make a point here," Mora told his father. "My point is: we will not quit, we will not give in."
The following week, Mora's Falcons went to Denver. They fell behind 14-3 after one quarter.