Opponent Opinions: Coach Mike Holmgren

When Mike Holmgren announced this would be his last season as Seattle head coach, he surely didn't envision that things would go so terribly awry. A rash of injuries has left his team, winner of the NFC West the last four years, in disarray as it travels to South Florida sporting a 2-6 record. Holmgren addressed his team's issues as well as Sunday's matchup in Miami in a conference call this week.

Here's what Holmgren had to say about various topics:

On what he sees from André Goodman and Will Allen on film: "I see the same thing as you guys do. I've been very impressed with Miami's defense for the most part. I think they're playing real solid, real sound just like you would expect. Right now, we can't pick on anybody. We're a little bit of a different football team than we were at the beginning in training camp. We just have to figure out ways to see if we can jump start our offense. I'm not really looking at too much matchups. I just have to make sure that we're doing the right thing. We have a lot of guys that are new and some guys that are young, so that's how we have to approach it."

On which Dolphins receiver has impressed him the most this season: "I really haven't watched that much of the offensive film. I keep my hands full and stay pretty busy looking at the defensive film. Anything I'd say, I didn't study enough. Which one do you think is?"

On if he feels his team has been competitive every week and has a shot to be a playoff team: "I think that's a pretty broad spectrum. I think, first of all, I think that we have been victimized by big plays in the last few games and our inability to make the big play. Last week against Philadelphia, we had a play in the end zone we needed to make. Right now because of our unique situation and on our roster, we almost have to play a perfect game. When we get a chance to make a big play, we have to make it. We're not good enough right now, offensively, to sustain anything for very long and make up for a dropped ball or a bad penalty or a bad call by the officials maybe. That's too bad. As a result, our defense is staying on the field too long. I'll tell you what, they're playing real hard. I'm very proud of the team that way because they're going at it hard. It's just that we haven't been able to help our defense enough with any sustainable stuff offensively. I'm hopeful in the second half of the season that we can flip it a little bit if we get some of these guys back. My training staff and my doctors are not cooperating with me very well."

On his assessment of Joey Porter's performance: "I've always had tremendous respect for Joey. My last time going against him is in the Super Bowl and he had a heck of a game when he was with Pittsburgh. He's an outstanding player. When you look at the defense on any team, you target certain players that you know you have to kind of take care of or try to do a job against, otherwise, they can be disruptive all by themselves. I think I'd put him in that category, he's that type of player, he's a good player. In their defensive scheme that they use where he drops and rushes the passer and can do a number of things, he's a load. He's a load for a running back. He's a load for an offensive lineman. I'm impressed with how he's played so far. I think every good defense in football has a guy like that who can really kind of get them going. He's emotional, he's intense. I have a lot of respect for Joey Porter."

On if (former Dolphins kicker) Olindo Mare has been one of his bright spots this year: "You know what, he has. He's done a nice job for us. We drafted a young kicker and Olindo had come off surgery not long ago. He has come in and been very, very professional. [He's] been very, very steady and as you know, he does a nice job of kicking the ball in the end zone for the most part. It has been a good spot this season for us."

On if the wins come tougher now and if the intensity goes up in the second half of the season: "I think it does. I've always divided the regular season into quarters. When you hit the stretch and you kind of see how things are settling in, it makes it different. The other thing that makes it different is often times within your division, now all of a sudden you're getting that team a second time through and anything that was surprising perhaps in the first game, now all of a sudden both teams kind of know. It's a different type of game typically. It really separates the want-to-bees from the teams that are going to be there. I found it that way. It's a wonderful thing as far as how our league is set up where the regular season means a lot. It really means a lot to get into the playoffs. It's always an exciting thing for the fans."

On if he has any regrets announcing that this would be his final season: "I've been asked that before because of what our record is and how we've played so far this year. I don't think so. Before I announced it, I think I thought long and hard about it. I believe I did it for the correct reasons. I didn't want me to be the story this year if I didn't announce it. You lived through that too: Is he coming back? Is he not? What's he going to do? That takes away from your team. I thought if I announced it that that would take that way. I think that has taken that away. Unfortunately, we've been injured a little bit and we haven't played up to our expectation level. No, I don't regret it. If I hadn't given it enough thought, and I wasn't pretty sure about what I was going to do then I never would've said it."

On how much credence he lends to the theory about West Coast teams struggling when they play at 1:00 pm on the East Coast: "I think there is something to it, I really do. Although, I will say this, if you have a good enough team, you can overcome that. I've had the experience of being with the 49ers years ago, as well as Seattle and when we went to the Super Bowl in Seattle, we didn't play as many games on the east coast, but we were better. If your team is better, you can overcome it. I do think however, there is something to it. That's why we leave on a Friday, try to get into the city on a Friday to get them somewhat acclimated if you can in a short period of time to the actual start of the game. I don't have an answer for you as to how to correct it. I think it's been suggested that those games start at four o'clock or whatever. I think there's probably a scheduling problem with that."

On if it is fatigue from the flight about why West Coast teams struggle on the east coast: "Yeah, you suffer from jetlag I'm sure yourselves traveling a certain way. If you live on the east and come west, it's not so bad. But if you go that way, you get up, your body's time clock that you get used to has to change. We get up on Saturday morning at nine o'clock; it's really six in the morning. We get into the city, we get in there late on Friday night, we put them to bed at midnight, and it's really nine o'clock and they're not tired. There are all these little things that they're not used to. I think your body, whether you want to admit it or not, kind of reacts to that stuff."


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