Looking back

Former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Holmgren spoke with the New York media on Wednesday. The Seattle Seahawks coach and general manager had this to say about his team this year and his stay in Green Bay, where he coached the Packers from 1992 through 1998:<p>

What does your club have to do better to get a win?

I think we have to start with playing better run defense. We've just been gashed in the first two games. That's one thing and the second thing is when we have opportunities to score we have to score. Last week, in particular, we had a number of missed opportunities We got into the red zone and we dropped a pass or did whatever. We just didn't execute quit well enough. Part of that was Trent (Dilfer) coming back off of his injury and he was a little rusty. Part of it was, we just have a lot of young people on offense that every once and a while they don't do it exactly right. Down the road they are going to come of age. Actually I was encouraged by some of the things we did but we didn't execute when we had chances to score. Thirdly, to get (Shaun) Alexander going just a little bit, we really haven't blocked well enough for him. Those are the three areas that we are trying to improve on and we must improve on.

When you took the job in Seattle did you think it would be this difficult to get things turned around?

Well, we're going into our fourth year now and I thought, actually last year's game in New York kept us out of the playoffs. I knew it would be tough, but how tough? I don't know. What you realize when you get to a position where you get to call all the shots is things can be fragile sometimes. You lose a player or two and your team changes. Unfortunately, this is very much a bottom line business. I'm not discouraged at all but rather encouraged. I think we have a chance to be a really fine team this year. We haven't played our best football, I don't feel good about that but we are a better team now than we were last year. Hopefully we'll get (Anthony) Simmons and (John) Randle back who are some of our key guys. I'm not sure we're good enough to take the hit on some of those good guys that have been injured.

Are you feeling pressure from ownership to win?

Mr. Allen doesn't talk to me like that. Clearly he wants the team to do well and he's use to running successful organizations. He was here and we met on Saturday. He's been nothing but supportive. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I totally think we should be better than we were last year and I'd be very disappointed if we didn't have a better record than we did last year. Outside pressure from him, no.

Does you experience in Seattle make you appreciate Brett Favre more as well as Ron Wolf?

Well, I didn't need to come to Seattle for that to happen. We you look back and mention those two fellas, first of all with Brett, I really knew how good he was when we had him. We went through some growing pains together as you know. I think coaches at sometimes don't quite appreciate how good a great quarterback is. I think I did with Brett. With Ron, I miss our talks about certain things. When things get tough or the team doesn't play well, that is when he was, with me, at his absolute best. I really do like the opportunity to make my own player personnel decisions. That I like. Do I miss my talks with Ron? Yeah I do. He had been in this league a long, long time and I really learned a lot from him.

Are there ever days when you say to yourself, I wish I could be just a coach right now?

On occasion, sure, but this is an emotional business and an emotional game. Then when I settle down, it's this is what I wanted to try and this is a challenge and I like the challenge of it. I like the opportunity to build a team. I don't do it by myself, you know that. Mike Reinfeldt and Ted Thompson are two vice president here, financial and personnel, who have a lot to say with what goes on here and are very good. I don't feel like I have to do it myself but the challenge of it was very, very appealing and I'm still glad I tried it.

What do you say to critics who say that you needed Brett Favre to win?

I say give us a little bit more time. We have had a very uncertain situation at quarterback, that is true. But to have a Brett Favre, there are not many Brett Favre's running around. That is also true. My record in Green Bay my first year was 9-7, here it was 9-7. My third year in Green Bay was 9-7, here it was 9-7, as well as my second year here when we had to get our salary cap in line when our salary cap wasn't very good. But we fixed the salary cap situation. Now I hope we can have a better record to match what we did in Green Bay, if possible. I think our quarterback situation is a little bit more solidified with Trent. There are not many Brett Favre's running around. Teams win without a quarterback like Brett Favre, but having a guy like him sure makes it easier.

Is there anything you would do differently as a general manager? Is there anything you would want to do differently?

Eventually, I would like to back up a little bit from calling the plays with the football team and divide my pie a little bit differently. Certainly during the season, the majority of my time is spent on the field coaching and Ted Thompson, we have meetings regarding personnel, but he kind of takes care of that stuff during the season. Maybe down the road I'll divide the pie up a little bit differently for my time. I very much wanted the challenge of this. I like it. I have a good staff now. No one is leaving take other jobs. We went through a little bit of that my first two years. And if we continue to do a decent job in the draft, and if think we have...maybe they have not been spectacular but we have a lot of people three years and under. If we can continue to build the team that way, we are going to be fine.

If Ron Wolf had made his decision to leave a year earlier, could you have seen yourself staying in Green Bay?

Oh, I think that would have been something. Sure. I made the statement at the time that I would have never have left Green Bay for another coaching job and I was honest about that. I don't think anyone at the time could have anticipated Ron retiring. I certainly didn't think that was a possibility. Like I said, I wasn't in a big, anxious hurry to leave. A nice opportunity was afforded to me here in Seattle. My wife, Cathy, and I love it here in Seattle. We very much want to get this thing done here in Seattle. I don't think we are that far away.


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