Holmgren talks Hawks

He's been here before – twice in fact – but this is the first time he has been here with the Seahawks and the first time with this group of players. Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren is a steadying force in the storm that is the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl XL and he spoke to the media about a myriad of subjects, including his offensive line and the mental preparations the team is undergoing.

"I think we have a couple of very special players, I mean great, great players which we have built the line around," Holmgren said about arguably the best offensive line in the league. "The things you don't see is how well they get along with one another. This is really a close knit group and it's been my experience that when you get an offensive line that really likes each other and has fun with each other like that then you really have something going, particularly when they have that much talent."

LT Walter Jones and LG Steve Hutchinson are the "great" players that anchor the Hawks offensive line (both are headed to the Pro Bowl the week after the Super Bowl), but C Robbie Tobeck, RT Sean Locklear and RG Chris Gray complete a cohesive unit that maximizes their ability and have helped pave the way to the teams success this season.

"It's the best group I've ever had," Holmgren said. "Our guys, as far as being able to run the ball and being able to pass protect and keep that balance, I think they're pretty good."

The west coast offense that the Seahawks run is widely considered the most pure version of the scheme Bill Walsh invented in the early 1980's while he was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

"I think Coach Walsh didn't substitute as many personnel groups as we do now," Holmgren said, referencing a conversation he had with his mentor earlier this week. "It was pretty much a tight end, two backs and two receivers pretty much. But I think the game has evolved a little bit more to situational substitution and wide receivers. We screen a little bit more than we used to in San Francisco."

The Hawks latest challenge is the 3-4 defensive scheme of the Pittsburgh Steelers and how they blitz relentlessly on almost every play. But instead of talking about how his team plans to deal with it's upcoming opponent, Holmgren was more than eager to talk about a storied franchise run by the Rooney family since it's inception in 1933.

"You have two ends of the spectrum because they have been to Super Bowls, they have been to a number of Super Bowls they have won Super Bowls and they have a tradition with Super Bowls and we don't, this is our first go round. That is quite different" Holmgren said.

"I have tremendous respect for Bill Cowher and Mr. Rooney and the entire organization. They are great, they really are and they deserve to be in this football game and so do we. There are differences. Now what that has to do with the game next Sunday I'm not sure. I've always approached every single game as an entity in itself. It's a very important game."

Holmgren obviously wants to win this upcoming game against the AFC Champions, but he also made sure that no one overlooks what his team accomplished during the regular season and so far in the playoffs.

"This team has shown the ability to focus in on the game at hand and not skip over and look ahead this year. Now we're here at the last game," Holmgren said. "I will get asked the question I'm sure in Detroit, I've been asked it before, about what happens if we don't win the game and all that kind of stuff and how do you view the season? And I'll answer the same way; we desperately would want to win this football game. Don't misunderstand anything I say but at the same time, these guys already have accomplished quite a bit and had a great year.

"The crowning achievement would be winning the game, but I would never discount the seven months of their life and my life and what they've accomplished so far. I think its great but we're not finished."

They won't be finished until sometime Sunday evening, but no matter what, this team has endeared itself to a collection of fans who have longed for their franchise to see some success.

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