Holmgren ready to get to work to fix Seahawks

After a tough 35-28 loss on the road to the Kansas City Chiefs, Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren and his staff had the privilege of viewing the dismantling of his defense and the play of his young backup quarterback. Holmgren also got an update on some players who are recovering from injuries.

"After viewing the film, it was kind of like what we thought right after the football game, Holmgren told the media in attendance at Monday's press conference. "We are a much better defensive team than we played; than we executed in that game. (We) missed too many tackles, we missed some assignments and that was uncharacteristic of some of the players.

"That coupled with the fact that Kansas City is really getting their offense together in my opinion, they have an outstanding back, they had a good day offensively. But still, I expect our team to play better than that."

Another problem was third downs. Seattle allowed 6 of 13 conversions on third down and Holmgren said that was frustrating.

"We couldn't get off the field on third down; we couldn't get off the field," Holmgren said. "Ryan Plackemeier made some really nice kicks; we had them down in there a few times. Give them credit they came out and they made plays. Damon Huard had a heck of a game.

"I talked to the coaches this morning and it is very clear after reviewing the film, the areas that we struggle with, and it is their job to coach their guys and plan accordingly and get that thing going in the right direction.

"We won a game with our defense, the first game of the year 9-6; I believe our defense is capable of playing a lot better. I believe if you ask the players, that they would say the same thing. They are upstanding guys, they are not hiding anything, and they're going to tell you.

"As to why any phase of our football team; offense, defense or special teams, breaks down in a particular game, there are a few reasons, different reasons, and you just have to be honest about it and try and fix it, and that is what were going to try and do."

And that was just the defense.

He also shared his thoughts on how his offense performed.

"On offense for us, I was very proud of the job Seneca (Wallace) did," Holmgren noted. "Now, can he improve in some areas? Certainly. But the part that is troublesome is we're not running the ball the way we're used to and it just is a problem right now that we have to try and fix. You can't be one dimensional in this league and right now we can't run worth a darn. We're working really hard on that phase of our football this week."

The hope was that reigning NFL MVP Shaun Alexander might be available for this week's game against the Oakland Raiders, but Holmgren said that may not be the case.

"He had pictures taken today and the doctors, the medical people, are reluctant to give me the green light on Shaun after what they saw in the pictures," Holmgren said. "He is getting better, he's feeling better, and his crack has healed a bunch, but they were not ready to hand him over to me, so to speak this week. It appears as though it will be at least another week."

With Alexander out, the Seahawks have managed only 75.5 yards in four games with RB Maurice Morris putting up only 45.8 yards per game – a 2.9 yard per carry average – and no touchdowns. Holmgren said it's a combination of many things, not just one breakdown that is causing the Seahawks to struggle and he's doing his best to move the offense by playing to its strength – the wide receivers.

"The strength of our football team right now is our receivers and I want strive for balance but at the same time I have to move the football somehow some way," Holmgren admitted. "To do that, we have to become more effective in our rushing. We have to work hard at that. We have to make it happen; we have to almost will it to happen right now. That is why the emphasis will be there this week."

One player who showed well this week was rookie guard Rob Sims who rotated with second-year lineman Chris Spencer, a converted center, throughout the game.

"He had a pretty good half a game, and for that matter so did Chris Spencer," Holmgren said. "They are both capable young guys, so when Sims got in the game, he did some good things, yes he certainly did. We will probably just platoon those guys some more, I have to see how (Floyd Womack) feels coming back in right now, it is a decision we will make at the end of the week."

The return this week of RT Sean Locklear from a league-mandated suspension is also a good thing for the offense.

As far as Wallace is concerned, Holmgren said he was happy with the play of his young quarterback, but he still has a ways to improve and he expects that to continue.

"I thought his poise was excellent," Holmgren said. "I think, by his own admission, he missed a couple throws. That would be one of my criticisms. I think he made some tough throws and there were a couple easy throws he missed. That is just relaxing and doing what he can do.

"We can point out technically why he missed the throws and that will be a good learning tool for him. The run of two minute offense at the end of the game, to be involved in that, and your decision making while you're involved in that, that will be a good learning thing for him. There was only one play I can remember where we lined up wrong, we got a little discombobulated, and that is not bad for your first game out of the chute in that environment."

After two losses in a row for the first time in three years, Holmgren said the psyche of the team is still positive and they are confident they can get the problems fixed and start winning again and it's going to take some hard-nosed play to get back to the playoffs again this season.

"I think last season when we set a record for winning all those games in a row, that is the exception, not the rule," Holmgren admitted. "Normally, most seasons, you're kind of battling and scraping and scratching for wins, that is how it normally goes.

"We're in one of those things right now and I think there are reasons that we're kind of the way we are right now, but we have a chance at the halfway mark to be 5-3. We're still leading the division, we're tied for the division lead, but we're still up there. We're positioned ok, we're all a little disappointed in the last two ball games, but we're positioned ok, hopefully now we start getting some guys back and then we can start playing again the way I think we can play.

"But health doesn't answer the questions of mistakes, you know. I don't want to mislead you and I don't want our coaches to think ‘ok, when these guys, everything is fine,' there are guys on the field that have to start doing things correctly. Look, every play I call isn't the greatest play in the world, and I will start with myself, I look at myself too. It is the play we called and it is the defense we called, run it to the best of your ability, run it or do it. Either we're giving them too much stuff or they're not studying enough or whatever. We have to look at it and fix that.

"It appears it is going to be one of those seasons where we're battling, we're biting, we're scratching, and already it is different that it was last year, already. We're going to show up and keep battling."

Holmgren said he expects to make no lineup changes this week and that the team will have both today and Tuesday off before returning on Wednesday to prepare for their game on Monday night against the Raiders.

Scott Eklund writes and reports for Seahawks.NET and Dawgman.com. Feel free to contact him at sctthawk@yahoo.com.

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