Holmgren happy with Seahawks at 6-3

After a big win on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, elated Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren gave his team both Monday and Tuesday off, but the coaches don't get that same perk as they are preparing for their game this week against a suddenly competitive San Francisco 49ers squad.

Holmgren addressed the media today and spoke on some players getting close to being recovered from injuries and the pride he takes from yesterday's win especially in his beleaguered special teams units.

"Bob (Casullo) does a nice job with them," Holmgren told the assembled media today at the team's headquarters. "You have to have some leadership there. You have to have some guys who are just, never say die, sort of kamikaze type of guys. (Josh) Scobey is like that, (Isaiah) Kacyvenski was like that, (Niko) Koutouvides now is doing a nice job, (Kevin) Bentley is doing a pretty good job in there, those guys, you need a core that you build around then you fill in.

"I am hard on Bob, but I will be the first to admit, that is a difficult job. You could have, I don't know how many special teams plays you have in a game, say you have 15 total, maybe 20, well all it takes is one guy missing a tackle on a punt return and you could have 19 great plays, 19 perfect plays, and someone returns a punt on you or a kickoff on you and the head coach is all over you, I mean just all over you. It is a tough job, and I know that, but you want it perfect, it is a hugely important job."

Also important to those units is a solid kicking game and the Seahawks have one of the best clutch kickers in the entire league in Josh Brown.

"I've had a bunch of them, he is pretty honest about stuff, I appreciate that," Holmgren said about his fourth-year kicker. "He goes ‘hey I just missed it.' The kick he kicked out of bounds, that absolutely is the cardinal sin number one you don't do and he did it, I didn't have to say anything. He just came off and I looked at him. He knew and he's up front about it.

"He doesn't seem to dwell on stuff. That kick doesn't affect his next one, he seems to be able to, and that's the life of the kicker."

Being 6-3 while having two of their leaders – QB Matt Hasselbeck and RB Shaun Alexander – on the sidelines also is a source of pride for the head man.

"I am very proud of the football team in the last few weeks when we have been kind of holding them together with band aids, particularly on offense," Holmgren noted. "The guys have stepped up and really gave great efforts I think. We dinked it around a little bit and haven't been as efficient as I would like, but we managed to scrape out a couple wins. That is all good, that is a good thing. When we get these guys back, including Bobby Engram, I throw him into the pile because he has always been a key player for us, it might come just at the right time, as long as we are able to kind of hang in there given our set of circumstances.

"While I haven't liked what we have done offensively all that much, I am a little bit too much of a perfectionist to see some of the stuff we do, we have managed to scrape enough points to win a couple games and that is all good."

On the injury front, Holmgren noted that several players my be returning from injuries this week including QB Matt Hasselbeck and RB Shaun Alexander who have both been cleared to practice this week.

"Matt worked out this morning and he has pretty good movement," Holmgren said. "There are some limitations in his going around the cones and doing some things, but it is Monday and he has a chance to play this week. I can't say for sure that he will, but he has a chance. What I have said is that if he can't move, then I'm probably not going to stick him back there."

Alexander is expected to practice on Wednesday, the Seahawks' first practice day this week, and Holmgren also addressed the status of several other players who are still recovering from various dings and illnesses.

LB D.D. Lewis – "D.D.'s status is still a toe injury. You tell people that or they read that and you go ‘how could that be, a big strong guy and they have a toe injury.' Well the simple fact is, it is one of the ones that really affects you. It doesn't seem to be getting better very fast. They're going to take some more pictures today or tomorrow and just see what is going on there, but it hasn't healed up very fast."

C Robbie Tobeck – "He is awful, he is in bed right now and he has the flu. He just has the flu. I feel bad for him I really do. He is one of my favorite guys and he just can't, he is always so clever with these little one liners, he feels so bad, he cant even, has no comebacks, no nothing. He is just laying there. I hope he gets back though, we need him."

WR Bobby Engram – "Engram is feeling better. On these things it is just a week to week, honest to goodness. Bobby, if you have a chance to talk to him, I am sure he will tell you the same thing, he is feeling better, but doesn't have the stamina he needs he feels to play in a game. It is getting better, he is practicing more, he is on new medication, it is clearing his mind what the problem is, he is dealing with it."

RT Sean Locklear – "Once I found out what the injury was, it was a high ankle sprain; I thought it was the basketball side, which comes back faster. Once they told me it was not, it was this other type, then those things can linger. We've had those, we've had players that have had those and it just takes a long time. He played the rest of that game on it without telling anybody. That probably wasn't the best thing he could have done, but he is a tough guy, he is a tough guy and he just did it, and it probably made the injury hurt a little bit worse. I am hopeful we're going to see what he can do this week, but I don't hold that much hope that he is going to be ready for this game."

DT Marcus Tubbs – "His knee, we were trying to baby him through it. He had a knee situation, it would swell up, we'd drain it, it would feel better, he'd play, it would swell up; we got into one of those cycles. So we said, well to have him for the stretch or have him for the playoffs perhaps if we got in, we have to rest him for a couple weeks straight. We were in the process of doing that and he wasn't doing anything except treatment, then one morning he came in and it puffed up again and he had not done anything. He was going to have to have some sort of surgery at the end of the season anyway, we felt. We were just trying to see if we could somehow get him through him the year where he could function as a player. When it wasn't getting any better even when we rested him, we said, well maybe we better do this."

One player who struggled with injuries during the offseason was WR Darrell Jackson – he didn't participate in any preseason games or any of the training camp workouts – but he's been lightning in a bottle for the Seahawks and Holmgren couldn't be happier.

"I think Darrell is playing well, I think he is playing well," Holmgren noted. "Our receivers, (DJ) Hackett, (Deion) Branch, Jerramy (Stevens) yesterday, they have kind of held the thing together offensively a little bit, they really have. Darrell seems to be having fun playing; he and Deion are a nice combination.

"I think Deion came in and everyone was ‘if I am a receiver here, you sign Deion Branch, I'm going to wait and see how this works out because right away, I know some of my balls are going to him.' That is normal human nature I think. Deion is really a special young man. He immediately got in there with those guys, they like him, he's a good football player, they respect what he does on the field, he's a good teammate, all that stuff is good.

"Everyone kind of relaxed and they were able to play. I think that is what is happening with Darrell. Darrell was the guy who would catch the most passes around here, he was the go-to-guy, even though we didn't have one of those things where you catch over 100 passes, but he was a very effective receiver for us, it has made him better I think."

The players will have Tuesday off and return on Wednesday to prepare for their game against the 49ers on the road.

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

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