Seahawks Talk Colts - 12/20/05

During his Tuesday press conference, Mike Holmgren spent quite a bit of time discussing the Seahawks' upcoming opponent, the Indianapolis Colts. Matt Hasselbeck and Marcus Trufant chimed in with their thoughts on how Seattle matches up against the NFL's best team.

HEAD COACH MIKE HOLMGREN

(On the importance of the upcoming game…)
“As far as the Seahawks are concerned, we are still shooting for the next goal and our next goal is to be guaranteed the home field advantage throughout the playoffs, which is a big deal. We are going to approach it just like we have attempted to approach every game we have played this season. It is a very important game for us. You have a wonderful team you are playing against. All the things people are saying about them are true. They have a great football team. We have to play our absolute best Saturday.”

(On comparing the Colts' offense to the Seahawks'…)
“They have been doing what they are doing for quite awhile with the same guys basically. You start with their quarterback; he has been fantastic since he came into the league. He has been phenomenal the last few years. Their key guys have been pretty much their key guys for the last few years. We have just kind of gotten to that point where we are functioning. Comparing the two, they have been doing it for awhile longer than we have. I think we are playing pretty good offensive football right now and I think our quarterback is playing very well. I think our running back is doing very well and catching the ball. But, the style of offense is different. They run a lot of two tight-ends on offense, almost all single back offense. We move Matt (Hasselbeck) a little bit more I think than they move Peyton (Manning) out of the pocket. The numbers are comparable this year.”

(On the Colts’ offensive line…)
“First of all, Howard Mudd does a great job, he's a great coach. They have a veteran group that has been together, and I think Peyton (Manning) does a great job of getting rid of the ball. There have been a couple of quarterbacks since I’ve been in the league that they just don't get sacked very much. Dan Marino was one and Peyton is the other one. He just doesn't get hit very much. One of the reasons is they have a very good offensive line. He gets back there and throws it somewhere most of the time.”

(On San Diego's win over the Colts...)
“I wasn't all that excited to see them come in here undefeated, to be honest with you. I think anyone that was going for history as they were going for, there's a part of me, Tony (Dungy) is a good friend of mine, but it is what it is in this business, in this league. I think Marty did a great job getting his team ready to play, to play a great football game on the road. More than my feelings about the win or the loss, I was anxious to get the film and study the film and see. Indianapolis has been remarkable all season long, no one has really touched them. So I was curious.

It was interesting to see Don Shula's comments. I saw (his) comments on television. Don had quite a history with the Colts as a player and a coach, and don said some interesting things. Of course they take a lot of pride in what they accomplished with the dolphins, but it was hard for him to root against the colts. He’s not like that naturally anyway. He watched a good football game and he knows both Tony and Marty very well, and he watched a good football game, and that's kind of how I looked at it. I didn't care, I wasn't thinking about what their record would be when they came in, honestly I was not. In fact, I tried really hard to think about Tennessee until the actual week, and here we are.”

(On Tony Dungy having been overlooked overlooked as a coach…)
“He is a very bright guy. he comes from a defensive background. I put myself in the same category this way, I am smart enough to know I shouldn't mess around with my defensive coordinator too much. I have my plate full trying to help us move the football. You hire a really good man to be the defensive coordinator. Other than general things like blitz more or don't worry let’s go after them or other comments like that, I don't go in and design defenses and I think, I don't know this, but I think Tony approaches it the same way. I think he lets tom and the offensive guys do their thing and then he ... I think people know about Tony Dungy now. But he's a very quiet, very Christian man, who is not flamboyant. There are coaches in the league that get more attention that way. But I think he is very, very consistent and steady. I have always said the players, our own players included, you don't want your players off balance, so whatever you are, be who you are and be that guy all the time. We all can't be like Tony, but I think one of his strengths is they know exactly where he is. He’s a brilliant defensive guy and a good leader and all those things, but as a coach I think they know where he is and he's been very consistent in his career.”

(On whether he has reflected back on how long it’s taken for the Seahawks to become a Super Bowl contender…)
“Yes I have. I don’t know if I’ve ever thought anything in this business was going to be easy; I wouldn’t admit to that. But I’ve always felt that if you get certain things in place, and I really believe in our system in football and how we do things – I think it’s kind of a proven system – if you get the right players and maintain some sort of continuity on your coaching staff, then you should have a chance to do some good things. Thinking back to my first press conference, when I said my goal was to get the team to the Super Bowl, I think if I hadn’t said that, you guys would have been disappointed with me. I think most guys come in, and that’s their goal. The timetable is a different thing. The timetable, depending on any number of things, that changes. Sometimes it changes so you’re not even the guy anymore.

My good fortune is that, along the way, when I had the choice, I decided to stay, and when it appeared not to be my choice, Mr. Allen decided to stick with me. It’s been an interesting seven years. In Green Bay, we were able to get to the Super Bowl in five. I’ve thought of the differences in the timetable, and one of the things was settling in with your quarterback. That’s one thing. That might be as important as anything. Sometimes the coach, in an organization that you’re new to, it’s just kind of tough and you’ve got to get things in order before you start to go. I have thought about it, to answer your question. It’s a long answer, but I have thought about it. I’ll tell you what I’ve told you before: Kathy and I were very, very happy that we stayed, we love Seattle. This is an exciting time, for all of us right now. We want to continue it, keep it going, and go as far as we can go.”

(On memories of Christmas Eve or Christmas Day game experiences…)
“I’m trying to remember. This Christmas Eve, I don’t remember playing a game on Christmas Day. Now, I may have, but I don’t remember it. I really get a big kick out of opening presents with my grandkids, you know. It’s just wild. Those of you with children know. You spend – well I don’t spend – well, I don’t wrap the presents myself. Kathy does most of that. But the stuff just flies. I mean, it’s wild. To see the joy, I love it. It allows me this year we’ll be able to go church on Christmas Day, which is special, giving everybody off on Sunday. I will be able to next year answer that question great because it will be what happened this year.

(On how the Seahawks will defend the Colts…)
“We’re going to look at it. I’m not going to say exactly how we’re going to try and do that, but I think you have to be careful of saying, ‘We’re going to try and stop this or that.’ Because they have a good running attack, they have a premier back and then they also have an outstanding passing attack. So they can hurt you either way. But we’ll do the best we can. They’re an outstanding offensive group, an outstanding team. Their defense is playing great this year. Their defense is really playing very, very well. It will be an interesting game.”

(On injuries…)
“We're not bad. Who do we have back? We might have (John) Howell back, which is good. (Kelly) Herndon, another week maybe. The only one from the game that I'm concerned about it is (Chuck) Darby. I don’t think it's bad, but it's concerning.”

(On WR Darrell Jackson’s injury status after the game…)
“He came out of the game OK. We're going to rest him in practice today. He's not going to practice today. But we might have to do that with him the rest of the season.”


QUARTERBACK MATT HASSELBECK

(On the Colts possibly not playing their starters the entire game…)
“They have to do what they have to do. We are going to go out and try to play as hard as we can. I’m sure that they are going to play hard. This is football and whoever is out on the field is going to be trying as hard as they can. They are professionals. They get paid a lot of money. It is going to be a good football game no matter what.”

(On staying focused through the regular season, and the first-round postseason bye …)
“I think there is something about being near the end here. You can almost see the top of the mountain and the light at the end of the tunnel. It has been a long, long year and our bodies are sore. We are tired and all that stuff. You just have to dig deep. The finish line is right there and we just have to keep going at it.”

(On the goal of home field advantage…)
“It is a huge incentive. The opportunity as an offense to not play on the road, and for a defense to be home with that 12th man crowd noise on your side, the adrenaline, not having to travel. Your opponent has to travel. All that kind of stuff. That is big. That helps you actually win the game I think. That kind of advantage that we have here is something to fight for.”

(On not letting up against the Colts…)
“Why would we? We have a lot to play for right now.”

(On if he is jealous of Peyton Manning calling the plays himself…)
“No, I don’t get jealous of that. That seems like a very hard job. He is a great quarterback leading maybe one of the best offenses of all-time, playing on one of the best teams on all time. You admire a team like this.”

(On if he is controlling more of the play-calling…)
“Yes, but I don’t think we will ever get there to the stuff that they do. I don’t even know what they do. It just looks like they do a lot of stuff. I really don’t concern myself with that too much. What concerns me is their defense and the speed that they have. The swarming style of defense that they play with and how to attack that defense the best way we can.”

(On how much he has improved at calling audibles over the years…)
“Night and day. Part of it is we really practice it, we talk about it and we communicate much better at the line of scrimmage. I think another part of it is that I am doing what the coaching staff wants me to do before I feel like I was maybe guessing what the coaching staff wanted me to do. Now, I know for sure. I have to give them a lot of credit too, they don’t really second guess me a lot. Sometimes you are right, sometimes you are wrong. I don’t get second guessed as much. That gives me the ability to make checks and stuff like that with confidence and know that things are going to be good.”

(On thinking like Coach Holmgren…)
“Absolutely, without a doubt. I think that is probably the biggest reason for improvement in my play and the play of our offense is just that I am able to better understand what he wants on the football field.”


CORNERBACK MARCUS TRUFANT

(On if the Colts are the best offense and being tested against them…)
“I think they are the best and they have been showing it all year. They have been racking up a lot of points and they’ve been winning almost every game. They said it’s going to be a big test for us so we have to come out with our ‘A’ game and be ready to play all four quarters.”

(On the holes in the secondary…)
“I don’t think its anything really big, it just comes down to little things like techniques, leverage here and there, getting the right kind of drops and back pedaling, little stuff like that. Stuff like that can be worked on every day in practice and we’re going to make sure we work on that every day during the week so we can be ready for the game.”

(On if last week’s game can light a fire under the defense…)
“I think so. As a defense, everybody wants to play well and we want to come out and shut teams out and not let anybody score. But some teams are going to have some success. You don’t want teams to rack up a lot of points or a lot of yards, but sometimes it happens and you just have to come back the next week and fix what you didn’t do as well last week and be ready next week.”

(On the national spotlight on the game…)
“To be quite honest, I don’t really think it matters. For us we’re going to still go out and play our kind of football and everybody is going to come out and play hard whether they lost a game or they were undefeated, we still would have had to come play ball.”

(On possibly getting home-field advantage…)
“There is going to be a lot on the line. Like I said, we have to come out and play our type of football all game and try to get the victory.”

(On having things in their own hands…)
“I think that is a big thing. When you’re in control of your own destiny and what you do in the playoffs and home field and all that kind of stuff, it makes you feel a little bit better. You’re not sitting and waiting to see if this teams wins or this team loses. It makes you feel a little bit better. It puts you at ease a little bit.”


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