The Ties that Bind the Browns and Seahawks

After a week of rest, the Seahawks and their head coach Mike Holmgren got back to work earlier this week in preparing for the Cleveland Browns this Sunday. Holmgren met with the Cleveland media today and he talked about a plethora of subjects, including two players who are former Browns, as well as his young left guard who hails from the Buckeye State.

After years of dominating along the line of scrimmage, the Seahawks have struggled to run the ball in recent weeks and currently ranked ninth in the NFC and 22nd in the NFL at 92.6 yards per game and some of that blame has fallen, unjustly according to Holmgren, on second year left guard Rob Sims.

"(The criticism) is not coming from me and I'm the only one that really counts with who is going to play," Holmgren told the assembled media. "We are disappointed with how we have run the ball. We have high expectations and we have a good running back in my opinion. It hasn't been working like it's been working in the past.

"We've had some decent games but overall, I have not been pleased. That's never one guy. It's never the offensive line and certainly, not one offensive lineman. Rob is a good football player and I'm happy that we have Rob Sims. He was thrust in there as a young player last year – he and Chris Spencer, our center. He is still learning how to play. I wouldn't trade him for anybody."

Two players that are former Browns came up in the press conference – S Brian Russell and QB Charlie Frye – and Holmgren was asked about their progress with the Seahawks.

"Brian has done a heck of a job," Holmgren said of the man who has become a leader in the secondary. "He's been a real solid player for us in the first half of the season. He has done what we really needed our safety position to do – get people lined up, be disciplined, make tackles and not miss tackles, those types of things.

"I couldn't be more pleased with the way Brian is playing. He's a leader on our football team even though he hasn't been here for a while."

Someone in attendance even brought up the fact that Frye was compared to a former protégé of Holmgren's – Brett Favre.

"I haven't been around or he hasn't been around me long enough to make that judgment," Holmgren quipped. "At first impression, he's very quiet. Charlie, around me, is very quiet. Favre was always real noisy. Right away, those are different.

"As far as toughness, being a leader, guys like them, try-hard type of guys that always give everything they have, those are similar. Those are actually similar. But I would be reluctant to compare them right now."

And Frye's familiarity with the Browns system can't do anything but help Seattle with their preparations for Sunday's game.

"I think the one position that can really help a team prepare for another team is the quarterback position," Holmgren noted. "He has a much better grasp about the whole program than other position players.

"You might talk to them about things and it might help a little bit but it doesn't help a lot. Now the quarterback is different. We've of course talked to Charlie about it.

"What you have to be careful of is when you get the information, that's not what you rely on solely. You must go off the films and the things you would go off of if you didn't have that player. You can't take short cuts just because you have a player."

Seattle's acquisition of Frye was a bit of a surprise to Seattle fans when the deal went down back in September and there were rumors that one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league not named Tom Brady or Peyton Manning happened to also be on the block as well – Cleveland's Derek Anderson.

"That word never got to me," Holmgren recalled. "We were going to go – earlier on I felt we were going to go another direction with another quarterback from another team, to be honest with you. When that did not happen and we were pretty sure that our third guy who had been with us – great kid (David Greene) – we were pretty sure that wasn't going to be the answer. Then the other thing heated up as far as Charlie's situation.

"As far as Anderson, that never got to me, to be quite honest. The discussions may have taken place, I'm not saying that. We knew we had to get somebody and when Charlie became available I knew that was a good way to go."

Anderson has teamed with WR Braylon Edwards to form one of the more dynamic pass-catching duos in the league so far this year, connecting for 37 receptions for 669 yards and an outstanding nine touchdowns.

"They're having a great year," Holmgren said. "I've been very impressed with Cleveland's offensive football team and team in general. From an outsider looking in – and we haven't played the Browns in a couple of years – the injury situation there was a little unusual. Now all of a sudden everyone has hung in there and they're playing much better.

"Their tight end is healthy and Braylon Edwards, I think, is a special player. He has tremendous skill. The quarterback is obviously capable of making big plays. He has a big arm. They are just very good and they are playing with a lot of confidence. It's a tremendous challenge for us."

Seattle will also have to deal with rookie LT Joe Thomas who has also gotten off to an outstanding start to his career as well as the rest of an underrated offensive line.

"In the improvement of the Browns team you can point to the offensive line – (OL Eric Steinbach) from free agency and Joe Thomas from the draft," Holmgren said. "He's going to be one of those guys that are going to be good for a long time, goes to a lot of Pro Bowls and has good size and a great work ethic.

"We really liked him coming out of college just like everybody else did. If he wants to watch Walter Jones and look at Walter and be like Walter, I think that's a pretty good guy to be like. We're very happy with our guy, too. He's played a lot of years in the league and Joe is just starting. But he's a good football player and a nice guy to build your offensive line around."

Seattle will be hoping to solve Cleveland's offense this Sunday while playing one of the surprise teams of the NFL and hope to come away with a victory – any way that they can.

Scott Eklund writes for Seahawks.NET and He's also the pointman on our weekly "Saturday Spotlight" podcasts, which preview the weekend's best college games. You can e-mail Scott here. Top Stories