Holmgren press conference

The Seahawks host the New Orleans Saints Sunday as both teams tries to start the season on a positive note. Head Coach Mike Holmgren talked about his defense and special teams play as the team tries to improve on last years league worst run defense.


On the upcoming Season: "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."


Type of defense he will have: "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."


Can the defense stop the run: "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 its show you-show me, and let's see how they do this."


Did the special team problems get addressed: "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."

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