Ray Rhodes: Garbo Speaks!

For the first time in many moons, Seahawks defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes faced the media to discuss his defense's freefall from 1st overall to 26th in the NFL in three months. All local reporters with team access were ready with their stories this morning...

Clare Farnsworth (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) - "Seahawks' slide has Rhodes 'hurting'"
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Frustrated, if not furious, by the performance of the Seahawks defense?

Try crawling inside the head of coordinator Ray Rhodes.

"I'm frustrated and more than disappointed, because as a defensive coordinator I feel that I can put anything together and get things done," Rhodes said yesterday, when he talked with reporters for the first time since the week of the season opener.

"I'm one of those guys that might be bleeding and hurting inside, but I don't share it with nobody. Right now, I'm hurting because this is foreign territory for me. You don't go through a season like this without it just taking something out of you."

Rhodes has made a career of turning in quick fixes -- taking bottom-feeding units and molding them into top-10 defenses. It happened in Green Bay (1992-93), San Francisco (1994), Washington (2000) and Denver (2001-02), in between gigs as the head coach in Philadelphia (1995-98) and Green Bay (1999).

But not here. Not this year, anyway.

Last season, the Seahawks improved from No. 28 to No. 19 in their first season under Rhodes. This year, they ranked as high as No. 3 during the team's 3-0 start.

Entering the game Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field, however, the Seahawks have fallen to No. 26 and appear unable to get up.

It's not because Rhodes has resigned himself to the fact that his injury-ravaged defense is doing the best it can with the players at his disposal. To the contrary.

"This year's been probably the toughest year that I've had coaching," said Rhodes, in his 24th season in the NFL. "Personally, I feel like I've let this whole team down."

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Steve Kelley (Seattle Times): "Hawks' hurting Rhodes opens up"
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Often this season, Ray Rhodes says, he arrives home after midnight, and his wife Carmen wakes up and comes to the living room to talk to him, armed with the kind of concerned questions a loving wife asks about her husband's day.

But too often this season, more often than ever, Rhodes hasn't wanted to talk about it.

"How was your day?" Carmen will ask.

"My day was crummy," Rhodes will answer -- or words to that effect. "As a matter of fact, the last couple of weeks have been real crummy, so don't ask any more questions."

On the 16th week of the NFL season, Ray Rhodes spoke. And for the first time, he revealed the pain he has been feeling underneath his grumpy exterior. For the first time this season he put a human face on Seattle's defensive frustrations.

"I might be one of those guys who's bleeding and hurting inside, but I don't share it with anybody," Seahawks defensive coordinator Rhodes, 54, said after yesterday's practice. "Right now, I'm a hurtin' man, because this is foreign territory for me."

You think this Seahawks season has been hard on you? Just imagine how hard it has been on the coordinator, who has seen his defense sink to 14th in the 16-team NFC. A coordinator who hasn't found a way to make his blitz packages work. A coordinator who saw his team allow 37 points last week to the New York Jets.

Rhodes is used to finding solutions. He takes pride in the hours he works and the success he has had. But this season the defense hasn't worked. And the frustration eats at him like battery acid.

"You don't go through a season like this without it taking something away from you, taking something out of you," he said. "I've been coaching a long time. Don't know how much longer I'm going to live, but bottom line, I'm going to keep beating the bushes until we get this thing right..."

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Mike Sando (Tacoma News-Tribune): "No end to nightmare for Rhodes"
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There is always the next game to turn things around. Ray Rhodes has that going for him, and quite possibly against him, too.

The Seattle Seahawks’ veteran defensive coordinator is living a professional nightmare, sinking with a defense whose NFL ranking has fallen from first to 26th in three horrid months.

“Believe me, I’m frustrated and more than disappointed because, as defensive coordinator, I feel that I can put anything together and get things done,” Rhodes said Thursday in a rare post-practice media session.

Rhodes offered no excuses, only regrets. Lose-from-ahead meltdowns against St. Louis and Dallas still haunt the 54-year-old veteran.

And when his defense failed to force a single punt during a blowout loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, Rhodes experienced something he couldn’t recall happening in his 30 NFL seasons, including seven as a player.

“I just feel bad because personally I feel like I let this whole team down because I didn’t get it done,” Rhodes said. “That’s something that is tough to live with.

“It’s not something where you can go home and go to sleep every night and feel good about anything. There have been a lot of restless nights.

“I’m one of those guys who is not looking for excuses. The bottom line is not getting it done.”

Rhodes did not mention injuries to key players in explaining what has gone wrong. Grant Wistrom, Chad Brown, Anthony Simmons, Rocky Bernard and Bobby Taylor have missed 28 games between them.

Of those five players, only Brown missed the pivotal Oct. 10 loss to St. Louis. That was the NFL’s top-ranked defense that allowed the Rams to overcome a 17-point deficit in the final six minutes...

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