Q: How critical of a game is this for you guys in a situation where you are and where the 49ers are in the division?
Holmgren: There are a lot of reasons why this is a big game, but the most obvious is that the 49ers are 3-1 and we are 1-3 in the division. If we have any hopes of doing anything in the division this year I think we have to try and get this win…it's a huge football game for us.
Q: Is it sort of a balancing act to stress how important it is, but at the same time, not make it the end off?
Holmgren: Well, I think it will be hard to keep a lid on things that way. We didn't like how we started the season and we played a little bit better against Minnesota and got our first win. Hopefully, we can build on that, but it's Monday Night Football and it's the first time in 10 years that we've had a Monday night game in Seattle. We are going against a great team, the 49ers, who are leading the division. It is supposed to be a lovely night here in Seattle. The excitement is going to be there and try to downplay that for the team, I don't think I can do that. Of course you take one game at a time and of course it is a long season. Because of how we started, this is an important game for us.
Q: You are one of the few teams that completely left your division and have all new opponents. Are you embracing that with open arms or are you one of the teams in the league that has had to make a tough transition?
Holmgren: I don't think it was a big surprise to us. Right from the get-go we said we did not want to move. They had great rivalries in the AFC West, and they had established those over the years since they came into the league in '76. To have to move was not easy for our fans and was not easy for people here who have been organization for a long time. For me personally, I hadn't been here that long so I always looked at it as some things you have control over and some things you don't…if you don't have control over it, let's move onto the next thing. Going into the NFC West with the Rams, 49ers, and Arizona, to me, it's a great challenge. We'll have great rivalries with those teams…we just have to re-establish it. To do that, we have to get good. You know, we are still developing and I don't think anyone fears us too much right now, but we are on our way and we have to get good. That is what sparks rivalries.
Q: Because of your knowledge of the 49ers, have you viewed them like they've been a division foe for a long time?
Holmgren: Not really. Even though I have some personal feelings about the ball club and the organization, we really haven't played the 49ers all that much. We did in Green Bay…in big games of course, but all in all, lately we haven't played them. So we have to learn about the teams in our division all over again and learn them like we knew the teams in the NFC Central in Green Bay or the AFC West here.
Q: What was your personal timetable to get the organization to where you wanted and how has that meshed with management's view on how long it should take you to get there?
Holmgren: Well, I think everyone kind of steered clear from that. I certainly did. My own thing is that we were able to become very competitive and get to the playoffs in Green Bay under a similar set of circumstances in four years. We are in our fourth year here and I kind of put pressure on myself to do the same thing. What I mentioned to you earlier here is that I kind of set things back a little bit because of the salary cap in the second year and we kind of had to start a little bit over again. The second thing is that I was never able to solidify the quarterback position to my liking until now. But as far as our drafts, I think our drafts are solid, maybe not spectacular, but solid. We got good young people, a lot of young people playing on offense in particular. We got a great chemistry of spirit here. We are on our way. It's just I'm trying to stay away from timetables. You won't get a lot of time in this league. People are impatient. The good part about the situation here in Seattle is management in our owner and president. We talk all the time, they really understand what we're doing. Of course they want to win. Of course they want to go to the playoffs, but I think they also see the bigger picture, which helps us all.
Q: What's your new stadium like up there? Are you getting used to it?
Holmgren: Well, we are getting there. We've only played a couple of games there. But it is…you guys will see it. It is the best stadium in football, I'm sure it is. It's beautiful. The sidelines are great. You are close to the action. They did everything right when they built the thing. We have the field turf, which is a good surface for us up here.