They Said What?

Mike Holmgren and Matt Hasselback answer media questions about the upcoming game.

Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Mike Holmgren

On what differences does he see between this Seattle team and the team from 2005:

"The 2005 team, we were a little more balanced. We were running the ball very well. I think we wound up first in the League in rushing in 2005. This year it has been less of that certainly. We haven't been as consistent as I would like. That is one of the things, so we are not quite as balanced as we were then. Defensively we have a whole flock of new guys playing. We have been very good at times and then sometimes probably a little disappointing on defense. All in all I like the effort of our guys. We have pretty good team speed on defense, but a lot of new faces. Special teams we have the same kicker. I would say the biggest difference is on offense."

On the Redskins playing with only one safety and a lot of man defense with their corners:

"I have tremendous respect for Gregg (Williams, Assistant Head Coach- Defense) and the job he does as a coordinator there. They have a good defensive football team. I think when we played them before we saw all sorts of stuff. It seems to me during this season in the film I've seen he adjusts to whoever he is playing. They can play coverage, they can blitz, they can do it all, it is just what he decides to do, so that will be the chess match in the game. I suspect we are not going to see a heavy dose of any one thing. I am kind of being prepared for having him change it up quite a bit."

On if there is less pressure in this playoff game than there was in 2005:

"It was brought up, as you might imagine, by my press guys here all week about not winning a playoff game in 20 years and all that, and that kind of builds a little bit to be honest. We were fortunate enough to win the game. We have won playoff games since then. That is kind of a non-issue now. Now you can focus more on who the opponent is and playing the best you can play. I think having the home field in your first playoff game, I know Washington would feel the same way, is very important to us, but you still have to go out and play a good football game. We are well aware of how well Washington is playing right now. We are the type of team where we have to have our A game going, otherwise it doesn't work too well for us."

On if he feels that they are not as tested as the Redskins are in the regular season:

"I don't worry about being tested too much during the year. I'm tested every game regardless of our opponent. The goal is to get to the Super Bowl. The first step of that is getting into the playoffs. When the schedule comes out every year and I don't think I'm that much different in the League, you look at the schedule and you get a little nervous about stuff. We have had to play three of our last four games on the east coast, which for us is a tremendous thing. Who could have guessed what Carolina, Baltimore and Atlanta would have had the seasons that they had. They were all picked to be fairly high, so you don't know. You can't really dwell on that. What you have to do is take every game one at a time and try to win enough to get you into the playoffs."

On if they are playing their best football:

"Well we lost last week to Atlanta, so that doesn't turn you on too much. I think we are capable of playing very well and it all depends. We have to see. I know this, we have to play our best football to win the football game."

On how is their offense different this year:

"We have had a slight shift in emphasis and it started when Shaun Alexander (RB, #37) got hurt. Now, he is healthy again. His wrist is still a little problematic, but he is healthy again. Now we have the full arsenal so to speak, if we choose to do that. We have good receivers. The quarterbacks are experienced enough to handle it. It kind of boils down to how our offensive line is going to play, which is no different than anybody else, so we will just see. I talk about the chess match of the game, we will play. Sometimes the defense gives you a little something and sometimes they take something away and you have to adjust."

On what kind of difference has Patrick Kerney (DE, #97) made in the defense:

"He gave us a legitimate sack guy. We haven't been poor in sacking the quarterback in years past, but it has usually been by committee more than having one guy- I think Pat had 14 ½ sacks, or 14 sacks something like that. The other guys feed off of that. If an offense has to pay a little bit more attention to one particular player then maybe you have a little bit of chance of getting home some place else. That is one thing. The second thing he has great energy and then his teammates feed off of that. He is a wonderful young man and I am glad we got him."

On Julian Peterson's (OLB, #59) season:

"I think Julian has had a good year. I think a lot was expected of him. He is such a fabulous athlete and kind of a unique physical specimen in the fact that he can do some things and still rush the passer. He is going to the Pro Bowl. Like our other good players, those guys have to be at their best, absolutely at their best, in the playoffs for you to win these playoff games."

On how much different is the Redskins offense when Santana Moss (WR, #89) is playing well:

"He is a legitimate deep threat and an outstanding receiver. I think he is important to their style of play right now because you have to commit people to stop the run, because they like to run and they have a great running back. Sometimes Santana gets in those single - coverage situations and he usually can take advantage of that, so we have to be careful of that."

On Todd Collins (QB, #15):

"It is one of those great stories. I hope he doesn't have a great game against us, but I think when you have a guy who has come in at his age and gotten a chance to play and really has led his team now into the playoffs. As a fan, I'm a coach, but as a football fan I enjoy stories like that. It is a good story. He looks to be very poised and very good also."

Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Matt Hasselback (#8)

On if the crowd and the vibe at Qwest Field helps them:

"Yeah it does. I think it helps every home team. That is nothing that is special to us. Our crowd, they are great. They take a lot of pride in being fired up and being loud and we appreciate them very much. It is a challenge for any offense going on the road and trying to play in a loud stadium."

On Redskins players saying that Qwest Field is louder than any dome they have played in:

"Our fans should take that as a compliment. Our fans take a lot of pride in it. When I first got here in 2001 people talked about the kingdom and the twelfth man. I had no idea what they were talking about because at the time we were playing at Husky Stadium. The day before the University of Washington would be playing there and they would have a sell out- 75,000 people- and then the next day we would be playing the Dallas Cowboys and there are 20,000 people there and 12,000 of them are rooting for the Cowboys. It was not how it was when I first got here but we moved into Qwest Field, our new stadium. Eventually we started turning things around here. We started winning games. We brought in Todd Leiweke (CEO, Vulcan Sports and Entertainment) and he was in charge of fan development and stuff like that. He brought the raising of the twelfth man flag. He kind of brought the twelfth man back and ever since whatever year it was here when we went undefeated at home, our crowd had a lot to do with that."

On how much have they had to rely on their running game more so than in the past:

"The last two weeks we have really run the ball well. We had our highest output, I think, of the year last week and the week before we played Baltimore, who has the number one or number two run defense in the League and we ran the ball really well against them. We are getting to be balanced. We are working hard on our passing game. We are working hard on our running game. Whatever Mike Holmgren (Seattle Head Coach) decides to call up, that is what we have to do, whatever that is."

On the Redskins feeling like the key is to stop him and not the running game:

"Tell them they need to focus on the running game please. I think we are a little bit different than we have been in the past, but we don't want to be. We want to be a really good running football team. That is something we want to do. There came a point this year, because of injury and because we had not had success running the ball, where Mike (Holmgren, Seattle Head Coach) said let's just open it up. Let's get a little bit more aggressive in the passing game. Let's really put the onus on the offensive line. Those guys responded well. In time our running game has come around. I don't know what the numbers are, but I feel like we're pretty balanced. I feel like that balance is back but again you never really know which team is going to show up."

On if Shaun Alexander (RB, #37) is not himself physically right now:

"It has been a tough year for injuries with certain people, him being one of them. He broke a bone in his hand I think the first game of the season, or close to that. It is always tough. Shaun and myself went through that last

year where you are playing through injuries and it is tough. Each week he gets better. Each week his cast gets smaller. I don't even know if he wears one anymore. His health has come along at the right time, which is playoff time. Hopefully the entire team, we can all hit our stride and play our best football."

On if the Seahawks are playing their best football right now and the Redskins playing their best football right now:

"I don't know how much stock we put into last week, but we didn't play well against Carolina. For whatever reason we have never really played well on east coast games. I think we are playing great. In terms of getting better, I think there is a really good feeling in our locker room and our organization and everyone feels good about it. I would agree with you, I don't think there is a team that is hotter right now, or that is playing better than the Washington Redskins. They are on fire. They are the team that nobody wants to play. They are the team that everyone is wanting to pick for the Super Bowl right now and it is understandable. They are playing really good football. They have made a shift in their defensive philosophy. They are just saying hey, we are not necessarily going to try to trick you, we are just better than you. We are more physical than you. We are going to play harder and smarter. They have really done a nice job doing that. I'm not sure what has gone on the offensive side of the ball, but they are putting points on the board. This is going to be a very, very tough game. I don't know if we have played a game that is as tough as this one is going to be. This is going to be a challenge for every single guy- offense, defense, everybody to get this thing done because there is a lot of talent on that team and they are using it all. They are playing really well."

On does he wish that they were a little better tested before the playoffs because of the teams they play:

"You can only beat the teams you get to play. Back in '05 everyone said the exact same thing, but we beat every team in the NFC that year too. We will see. It is one of the things that we get out here because all the quarterbacks in our division got hurt and teams didn't have good records.We didn't play our best football at times and our schedule was not the toughest schedule in the League, but all of that is kind of out of the window. There is a pre-season, there is a regular season and now we are in the post-season. It is a fresh start. If the Redskins are favored in this game I wouldn't be surprised. I think they deserve it and they have earned it. How they played this regular season on a tough schedule and tough circumstances. We are just going to go out an do what we always do and give it our best and see what happens."

On if he feels like they are as good as they were two years ago:

"In certain areas we are better, in certain areas we are worse. We might have been more talented in places or maybe rolling a little bit more, or kind of in the zone a little bit more. I have to be honest, that game against the Redskins was a big game. There was a lot of pressure on us on that game. I don't think the Seahawks as an organization had won a playoff game since 1984 or something like that and it was the same kind of thing. If you guys don't win this game against the Redskins you are a failure, you're bums, the only reason you are doing well is because you division is weak, yadda, yadda, yadda, all the things people were saying. We were kind of a young team. We had never really been in many playoff games. We had never won a playoff game, so that was an important thing. This time around I think it is a little different. I think at least the guys there were here then. We know what to expect about a playoff atmosphere. We know what it takes to get it done- the level of focus that needs to be there, the attention to detail, eliminating distractions, all of the things that come with a playoff football game and so what maybe we lost in talent or production in certain positions or whatever I think, looking for positives, we have gained that in experience and knowing what it takes to end up in Tempe this year. I think there are still some positives on our team."

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