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Mike Holmgren's Wednesday Media Session

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; http://www.seahawks.com/ArDisplay.aspx?ID=2862 Mike Holmgren's Wednesday Media Session 9/3/2003 Opening remarks: "Well, here we go. We're excited about the prospects of this season and I'm excited about the football team. They worked hard in training camp and now it's time to see ...

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Old 09-03-2003, 10:02 PM   #1
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Mike Holmgren's Wednesday Media Session


Mike Holmgren's Wednesday Media Session

Opening remarks: "Well, here we go. We're excited about the prospects of this season and I'm excited about the football team. They worked hard in training camp and now it's time to see what we have. Again, it's cautious optimism, don't ask me for any predictions either during the course of the day."
Q: Any concerns about Marcus Trufant starting?
Mike: "Well, not specifically, because I think he's going to be fine. He's a good player and he has not done anything in training camp that has changed my mind on the type of player that we thought we drafted. He is a young man playing corner in this league and that's a tough go. He has a lot of confidence and he has the ability to bounce back after bad things happen, which is something corners have to able to do. He's looking forward to the game, I know he is."

Q: What did you mean in your opening remarks?
Mike: "Well, more than that, last year I came in I was real excited about the season as well, I usually am about every season we enter. Then last year didn't go the way I wanted it to and we talked for many hours about why. What I mean by that is, this year we're just going to play and see how it goes. We always set the bar high for this team and I set it high for myself. This year we're just going to keep quiet about what our expectations are and hopefully the record and team can speak for itself."

Q: How does the defense look?
Mike: "The pre-season is difficult because you're not playing your starting group a lot and then you couple that with some injuries that we were struck with in the pre-season, but I believe that I know what type of defense that we're going to have. It was tough to see that in the pre-season because a lot of times you didn't have the right combinations in there or we substituted after the first part of the game. I think we'll have a defense with improved team speed if we're lucky enough to keep guys healthier than they were last year where none of our starting linebackers were playing. Our starting line backing group is very athletic, very fast, and very talented and I trust that those guys can stay in there. Our secondary is stronger even after losing Shawn; we have more depth there than we've had in the past. We're playing some young people on defense, particularly in the secondary. Ken Hamlin is going to play and call our defense and be the quarterback of the secondary, and that's asking a lot of a young guy. But he's really an outstanding prospect and he's earned the right to play. Damien Robinson gives us good depth at safety. He was penciled in to start at free-safety and then he got hurt, which was unfortunate, but it opened it up for Ken and now he's going to start. We have more depth on the defensive line than we've had in the past, but that's an area where they have to be productive. We have to get more pressure on the quarterback and be sound against the run. Those are areas where we must improve over last year, so that's what we'll be hoping for and looking at."

Q: What makes you believe you can stop the run?
Mike: "I'll say this, we have to be better than we were last year and I realize that's not saying a whole lot. We will be improved over last year because Norman Hand will be a physical presence in there. In his career he's done an excellent job against the run. Every team that Randall Godfrey has played on has done a good job stopping the run, that's his game. Also, having John Randle in there as a disruptive force, he's not the biggest guy in the world and people try to run the ball at him a little bit, has to help. John and Rocky are going to split some time because Rocky is a little bigger of a guy and we want to see how he plays. Down the middle of the defense is where I thought we didn't play well last year. Down the middle of the defense I think we have players now that can play the middle better. At the defensive end positions on the line, we've moved Cochran to another position and Brandon Mitchell is pushing Antonio, there's not a big space between those two. Chike, our new acquisition on the other end, has been hurt a lot of the pre-season and part of the reason we didn't have the continuity that I wanted to see. He's healed now and he's an active player. I will say this, on the defensive line it's show you-show me, let's see how they do this."

Q: How has the defense gotten used to Ray Rhodes' system?
Mike: "It's very difficult to determine. To grasp a system and to have the same guys run it for you and play is a luxury in this day and age. You look at camp as an example: Warren Sapp, Brooks, and John Lynch have been there forever. They know the defense as well as their coordinator and they really know the defense. They have that groove that is going to make that thing start there and it's going to work for you. We've had four defensive coordinators in five years. Ray's an outstanding coach and the players are listening to him, that's very obvious to me, but it takes some time to implement your system and how long that will take before we're really rolling, I don't know. I've always said on offense that for a quarterback it takes three years to understand what we're doing and function at an optimum level. I don't know the defensive equivalent for that, it's not three years though, it's shorter, but I'm not sure how long it will take."

Q: What's hard about Walter Jones returning late?
Mike: “The first thing is football shape. Regardless of how a guy works out in the off-season and stays in shape, you can tell when they come into minicamp if the guy has been working hard, when you get to playing football games it's different. It's just different and your adrenalin is pumping and you get tired faster, so it's a big factor and one we have to watch very carefully with Walter. He is in good shape for a guy who was, you know, just kind of working out at the local high school. The kind of shape he needs to be in to play a football game, that's quite different. I think technique-wise, the best players, the greatest players, they can come in and function and play the game. They can do that. Can they be as great as they should be? I think it's very hard. It's very, very hard. I can remember Joe Montana coming in after missing minicamps or missing a week of practice because of injury or something, and then playing in the game. While he was good - he was always going to be good - was he as great as he could be or should be? No. because he missed those days. I think all athletes are the same that way. Almost all of them. So Walter is no different. Now, moving Pork Chop over to the right side from the left side, he played the right side last year. He tells me it's not that big a deal technique-wise. He's had to juggle and play guard and a lot of different positions, so it's not like he hasn't moved before. I'm not quite as concerned about that as maybe I am about Walt's stamina.�

Q: Does pushing trucks help?
Mike: “You got me there. That's a good cardio-vascular. Are we bringing trucks in? No.�

Q: What if Walt comes out of the game?
Mike: “If Walt doesn't come in, Chopper would start at left tackle and Matt Hill would have started at right tackle. So if Walter needs a blow we'll move Chop over there and put Matt Hill at right tackle.�

Q: Did Walt play all of the first game last year?
Mike: “Maybe one less series, but I think he played the whole game.�

Q: Will you play games differently based on the new-look roster with six RBs and four WRs?
Mike: “Um, that's a good question. The four wide receiver thing, I can't say I'm totally comfortable with that. We had good reasons for doing that. I think our running backs, the two young kids, are good players and will be good special teams players. We had an injury situation at linebacker that I couldn't avoid, so we kind of had to do some things, but that could change. The numbers could change during the course of the season, not dramatically, but I could add a receiver and take a linebacker out of there or something.�

Q: You still have two running-backs on offense.
Mike: “Yeah, Shaun and Mo. Look at Kerry Carter and Chris Davis as really core special teams players; good special teams players for us. Good insurance, but two young guys for us. Shaun and Mo Morris will be our halfbacks.�

Q: Did the special teams problems in Denver get it ironed out?
Mike: �I was very upset after the last ball game with our special teams. When I calmed down, the wind there it was tough. It was tough. Now, once you tee it up for real, there are no excuses. So you have to catch the ball when it's windy and when it's calm. We just did not handle the ball very well. On special teams, that's the one thing you have to do. Engram will catch every punt, I don't worry about that. Mo will be our kickoff return guy and he has dropped a couple back there. I think he just has to do it more. He's an excellent prospect doing that. Our special teams, if you look at the roster of our special teams, they're young guys. We're very young on special teams. Particularly when Kacyvenski is hurt and Huff is hurt and Bierria is hurt. Those are three guys that were special teams players that have been pretty good for us. Pete doesn't have those guys to play in this game, so we have to play young people. But I'll say the same thing, and I'll tell you the same thing I told them, I said, 'You're playing, and you've got to get the job done.' I don't care if you're young, old. It doesn't matter. And so our play in the Denver game you could attribute to all the things you mentioned: youth, inexperience, health. But the simple fact is, we've got to eliminate that. So we dealt with that this week, talked a lot about it. If you are on special teams for us and not a starter, and you don't uphold your end of the bargain here you're not going to stay here. You go out and I'll bring another guy in. There is a certain amount of pressure on those guys, young guys, to do the right thing.�

Q: Will Rouen be the holder or Matt?
Mike: “Right now, Matt will be the holder. See, that was a classic example of a fourth preseason game. Matt Hasselbeck is acknowledged to be the best holder in the league, or one of the best holders in football. In fact, the long field goal, it was way over here and he got it down and he kicked it. The one right to him, he dropped. But he also spun the wrong way on a draw play and had to run. What that tells me, when you have a really bright guy who really knows what's going on make two mistakes on pretty fundamental things, that tells me the fourth preseason game, his mind is elsewhere on those two plays. That exaggerates the point that you have got to tune in to play this game any time you play it. So it allowed me to make some points with him.�

Q: Is there a danger of having your starting QB as the holder?
Mike: “In my experience, Montana held for the 49ers when I was there. We're going to talk about it. Rouen, I didn't know if Rouen was going to be our punter. So Rouen is also a very good holder. There's a chance he could hold. There is still that chance, but right now Matt is the holder. We could change that.�

Q: How about Hamlin starting and making the calls in the secondary as a rookie?
Mike: “There's a lot on his shoulders, you know. If you haven't had a chance to talk to him, interview him, you should do it. He's a great kid. I mean, he really is. He's come in here and the emphasis was on another part of his life rather than the fact that he's a great player and a good kid. We're giving him a tremendous amount of responsibility. I just think he is one of those guys who have a bright, bright future in this league. So we'll see how it works. If he shows he can't handle it, we have other ways to go. But right now, he's doing fine. Ray has confidence in him, so that's how you do it.�

Q: Can you compare him to anyone else who's played in the league?
Mike: “It’s too early to do that and I'd rather not do that right now. I will say, however, he's good size for a safety. He's pretty big for a safety. He's a physical safety. He likes the physical part of the game, yet he has great range. He's just not a slugger. Let's let him play a few games and then I'll try to deal with that question later on in the season.�

Q: What the rundown on the injured players?
Mike: Kacyvenski, Hannam and Huff, I believe, will be close to being ready next week. Bierria, they're going to look at it next week. He's probably a little farther down the road. Depending on how his next checkup goes we might be able to upgrade that a little bit. But I would say the three guys that have a real good chance of playing next week are Huff, Kacyvenski and Hannam. Jerramy Stevens missed four weeks of training camp. But he was running well yesterday. He's practicing. So he and Mili will split time. We only have two tight ends active for this game, probably. Damien Robinson, he's on all the special teams. I think all the guys will play. Just how much he's going to play I don't know. I can't tell you that.�

Q: Can you compare this team to others you've had here?
Mike: “I'm usually optimistic, as you guys know, but I think that one of the differences is with Matt at the quarterback situation, which has been an interesting situation here. I think we're where we're supposed to be. I think he is playing with a lot of confidence, he had a good preseason, he finished last season strong. Trent is back healthy again; I think we're pretty strong at the quarterback position in the kind of way I envisioned it being. I hope injury doesn't factor into this, but if we stay healthy, I think that's the way it's going to work and I think it's probably going to be that way for a long time. That's a difference. I think our offensive skill people have had success, now, even though they're young guys that have had success. In the past couple years I've referred to the fact that we're pretty young and we were. But now those guys have had a chance to play, the Alexanders, Darrell Jackson, Koren Robinson, and not Jerramy so much, but those other guys, and so they come in with more confidence and a better working relationship with the quarterback. The offensive line, now that Walt's in, our left side is as good as any left side in football; it really is with him and Hutchinson. Defensively, now we're counting on some young guys on defense to come through, which is a difference.�

Q: Do you deal with the young guys differently now as compared to before?
Mike: “Hopefully I'm a little more patient with them. I suppose I'm trying to give them a little more room. As you know I don't mess with the defense too much, so I'm just kind of working behind the scenes with the young guys on more a one-to-one basis now. Encouraging them more than anything else. I've tried to do that a little bit over the years, but maybe more so now than in years past.�

Q: Does having Coach Rhodes take pressure off that?
Mike: “Yeah, Ray and I have known each other for so long that I kind of know how he thinks a little bit and how he does things. But I haven't messed with the defensive coaches too much over the years, whether it's Fritz or Steve or Jim Lind when he had to step in, Ray when he was first in Green Bay. As a head coach I've kind of been busy with the other side of the ball, actively involved, and tried to hire the best defensive coordinator I could find and let him coach the defense. Where I step in a little bit is during the game itself with strategy. I'm like asking to do this or this or let's do this. But as far as setting up the defense and calling the defenses and things like that, I let them do that. It's an area that must improve for us to be successful, there's no question about that, and until we show it, the questions will be asked.

Q: Walter at left tackle one game and Womack at right tackle, reaction was to rein it in on offense (at the New York Giants last season). Are you past that this year?
Mike: I think so. I will tell you this, I thought about that exactly about three days ago. I said, I don't even believe this, we're going to go into our first game again without our starting tackles. And that's a big deal. No one wants to do that. And then we played games like the one we did against the New York Giants last year, not only did we have that, but the new kid that we put in there at right tackle, you remember, had a big club on his hand, so he’s playing one hand against Michael Strahan. And I firmly believed that in that game if we played a normal game, Strahan might have set the world's record in sacks, he might get 11 or something if we just tried to throw the ball. I just didn't know how we were going to stop him, so we played the game a certain way and lost the game 9-6 against a good team. I think I'll always do that. I'll continue to analyze an opponent and see where we are injury-wise and see how we do and try to win the game some way, somehow. But we had so much fun, particularly on offense the last six, seven games last year where we could just call it, wing it around and throw it and let them run. The quarterback had confidence, I had confidence, and the guys were making plays. I'd much rather play the game that way. But I will always try and win the game somehow.

Q: Without Chris Terry and with Jones, do you do that this year?
Mike: “It's hard to say. I'm not going to talk specifically about how we're going to approach this opponent, certainly on offense, but I'd much rather play the game wide open. We also at the same time have to be smart. We're missing a very outstanding player at right tackle. I said it last year, I think he was one of the keys to our change on offense. But we don't have him, so we'll have to see how that shapes up.�

Q: What does New Orleans bring?
Mike: “I think they're very aggressive and they're a pretty good movement defense. They have good pass-rush ends and they have a couple of big honkers; Johnathan Sullivan is a rookie, but inside. They lost two good players, a starting safety and a starting outside linebacker to injury and the other was to suspension. But Jim Haslett's teams are very aggressive and very physical defensive teams, so we have to match that. We have to make sure we understand we're going to be in a physical game and deal with that appropriately. Scheme-wise, they like to mix it up and give you a lot of different looks when you substitute your personnel groupings in there. When you're in base offense, they do two or three things and they do it pretty well. If you had to put a name on it, their defense is physical and aggressive. They like to hit you and hit you hard.�

Q: What's your reaction to the Roosevelt Barnes quote in the paper?
Mike: I don't know what he means by that. Who is quoted? Roosevelt Barnes? Oh, well, you know. Roosevelt is a wonderful guy, but quotes by Roosevelt kind of go vroom-vroom. (makes in-one-ear-and-out-the-other motion)

Q: Is there a big concern about the non-sellout this Sunday?
Mike: “There's no pressure, but, yeah, it concerns me. There's nothing that can help lift a team more than going into a packed stadium when your fans are there, when they're there for you. And that will never change in athletics. Football, basketball, whatever, when you fill your stadium and they're on your side, that helps your team. That helps your team. I would encourage people to come, if they haven't seen us before, come and see us play. It's a great new stadium to watch a football game in. It's a wonderful place to watch a game. And we need them. We need our fans there. We're no different from any other team. The players need them, the coaches need them. It really helps. I just hope that when they come, they like what they see and they come back. The last five ball games we played in that stadium we won and they were kind of exciting games and fun games to watch. As we get better, it's something people enjoy coming to see. We've played good football in there lately. Do I think about it? Yes. Is it a concern? Yes, it is. A full stadium helps us. It helps us win. Our fans help us win, and we need them there.�

Q: Your thoughts on getting off to a good start.
Mike: “It's everything. But this year is no different than any other year. Teams that get off to a good start typically are in the playoffs, they get a little momentum built up, and you start feeling confident and it shows in your play. Conversely, the start we got off to last year did just the opposite, except for the fact that we finished strong, which was a credit to the players. They didn't tank it. We lost some close ball games, to the 49ers a couple times, the Giants. I applaud the players for hanging in there when it's really hard to coach and play when your record isn't very good. It means a lot. It means a lot to come out of the gate. I don't mean winning your first six games or anything like that. But to come out and play well, do the things you're supposed to be doing, and you win more than you lose. That's hugely important.�

Q: How long did you follow Kerry Carter?
Mike: “We looked at him as a junior, first of all. And then, of course, he was involved in the tragedy with the Washington player. He was the ball carrier. In our dealings with him, again, if you've ever had the chance to talk to him, he's a very interesting guy. He's a sensitive man, he's a good player. And that incident affected him dramatically his senior year in college. That, in some ways, impressed me because he's sensitive enough to let it bother him. Now I think time heals a lot of those things. If you look at him just as a football player, he's a good football player. He's a big, strong guy that didn't show as well his senior year, but I thought there were reasons for that. We were fortunate to get him. He certainly earned his spot on this team. When given the chance to play in the preseason, he was good. He was a good runner, he was strong, he blocked well, and he showed that on special teams. He did everything you're supposed to do when you come to camp. And so we had to find a spot for him on the football team. He's a good kid. He's still, like a lot of guys when they come in, special teams is their role now. But I expect him to play very well in that role Sunday.�

Q: Can you continue the momentum of last year?
Mike: “I would hope offensively you can build on that, and I think we have done that. Now, are we going to throw for 450 yards a game and things like that? Probably not. But you can certainly build on that and feel good about that. There is a carry-over there. Now this is a new season, though, and now we've got to crank it up and do it again. You can't live on anything that happened last year. And certainly it was too little too late. You have to understand that. But there's carryover there.�

Q: What do you make of the trends in the league, like 'Tampa's Cover 2'?
Mike: “You see that more and more. You have seen that more and more. In fact, you saw it before they won the Super Bowl. Tony Dungy was the coach there, and that's the defense he likes to run. Every team in the league runs a little of that when they get in their two-deep defense. We do. Everybody does because it's proven to be pretty good. Trends in the league, historically, it's like the guys who tried to copy the Buddy Ryan stuff with the Bears in 1985. You can draw it on the board, but you don't have quite the same guys. It's never quite the same. No one will play that defense as well as Tampa will. Some teams will play it well, and it's a good, sound, solid defense, but no one can play it as well as they will. They know how to teach it, and they have the players for it. But that's a trend. On offense, a lot of teams are doing what we do: throwing the ball quickly. You see teams like the Raiders throw the ball 55 times last year. And Pittsburgh, whoa, to see Bill and all of a sudden he's a passing guru, now you know the wheel is turning in the league. But we talked this off-season and it's awfully hard to run on a consistent basis against the defenses you see now.�

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Old 09-03-2003, 11:24 PM   #2
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Mike Holmgren's Wednesday Media Session

A Few Points Of Interest Here...........................................

1. No sellout! What do they do on sundays for fun in Seattle, birdwatch? They won their final 5 games last year at home in a new stadium! We\'ve only won 11 of 24 games at home the past 3 years (avg. 3.66 per yr.) and what about the prior 4 years of misery. Does anybody (want to ) remember the home record under Mora/Venturi final year and Ditka era? If so, please post those results. I don\'t recall many wins out of those 32 games played in the dome.

2. Take on Haslett/Saints defense - \"physical and very aggressive, hard hitting, a movement defense that shows a lot of looks.\"

3. \"It\'s awfully hard to run on a consistent basis on the defenses you see now.\"

Saints actually hold winning record against Seahawks with a 4-3 mark.

Just Chillin Checking Out The B&G Forum While Waiting For My Ship To Come In

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