What Will Holmgren Do?

The first question the Seattle Seahawks need to answer as they head into their offseason is the future of head coach Mike Holmgren. Holmgren, who turns 60 this year, has hinted in the recent past that retirement is a possibility after spending nine seasons with the Seahawks, 17 overall as a head coach.

Holmgren did not have a direct answer in the hours after the Seahawks lost to the Green Bay Packers, 42-20, in the NFC divisional playoff game.

"Kathy (his wife) and I are going to take off for a while and let the dust settle on this season," Holmgren said. "It's hard when you lose. The emotion of this sport makes it great to play and go to. I'm one of the luckiest guys in the world.

"So you need time, time to get away from things and think clearly."

Holmgren's wife has hinted that she cares more about her husband's health than she does about his coaching career, even though Holmgren has only one year remaining on a contract that is believed to pay him in excess of $8 million.

The coach has said that as he gets older, the losses are more difficult to take and he has less patience with some of the non-coaching aspects of the game, something that many coaches, including Vince Lombardi and Bill Parcells, were often quoted as saying. Still, the pull of coaching can be so strong that some will come back to less then optimal situations after ostensibly retiring, just to be back in the hunt.

The Seahawks, it could be argued, are a few offensive line pieces, one good running back, and an extra home playoff game or two away from a Super Bowl berth. There is a team president/general manager in Tim Ruskell who has build a very solid defense and now needs to turn his attention to the offensive side of the ball, which is Holmgren's first love. It's one of the better situations in the game.

However, Holmgren has also has maintained that he would like to try to redeem himself as a general manager, which he was relieved of doing from the Seahawks a few years back, replaced by Ruskell. Holmgren has said he is envious of Parcells' new position with Miami, calling it a dream job.

However, he is very close with his family, all of whom - four daughters - have moved to Seattle to be close to their parents.

And, perhaps more than anything, Holmgren still likes to coach.

"I think he is young," said offensive coordinator Gil Haskell, who has been with Holmgren for 13 years. "He is 59. He really enjoys coaching. He has a good quarterback. We have a good team. And we have good young players coming up too. We are having some troubles in a couple spots, but that is because they are young and we are building. But it is working in the right direction. Our defense is much better than it was in 2005. It is a good situation. Why would you walk away from it?"


--CB Marcus Trufant is the Seahawks' biggest offseason free agent, a first-time Pro Bowler who had seven interceptions this season. He is from nearby Tacoma, but said that will not play a role in his decision to remain with Seattle. Money will. "I know how I feel about the organization, I love the organization," Trufant said. "I know the organization loves me. But that only goes so far. There's always a business side of it. We may want things to be done exactly how we want them to be done, but it can't always be that way."

--PK Josh Brown got the team's franchise tag last year. He said he hopes to get a deal worked out this offseason but isn't against taking the franchise tag again. "I'm not against it," he said. "It's guaranteed money. And it's more than the typical money a kicker would make."

--OT Sean Locklear also becomes a free agent. Because of the team's issues along the offensive line, Locklear, the second-best player on the line this year behind Pro Bowler Walter Jones, is likely a priority. "I think I'm a good fit here, and I like this team and I think I can help this team," Locklear said. "I'd like to be here, but it's not up to me."

--Seahawks assistant head coach Jim Mora has been contacted about the vacant Washington Redskins head coach position.


--Various reports have indicated that WR Deion Branch may have suffered ligament damage to his left knee in Saturday's loss to Green Bay. Nothing is confirmed at this time.
--RB Josh Scobey broke the fibula in his left leg and will require surgery to repair the damage. Scobey was signed late in the season so it is unclear what his future with Seattle is.
--RB Shaun Alexander likely will have to have offseason surgery to repair a cracked bone in his left wrist that plagued him all season.
--QB Matt Hasselbeck, who had left (non-throwing) shoulder surgery last offseason, said he does not have to re-visit with Dr. James Andrews, who performed the surgery.
--OT Walter Jones may have to have the sore shoulders that bothered him all season, and limited his practices, repaired in the offseason.


PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus - Matt Hasselbeck was just 19 of 33 for 194 yards, but it coul be argued that those meager numbers were not his fault. With visibility low and the ball slick, at least five balls were dropped by his receivers, including two by tight end Marcus Pollard, who let a sure touchdown go through his fingers. Green Bay's defensive backs were allowed to play more phically at times than the rules would seem to allow -- consecutive holding penalties on Charles Woodson and Al Harris late in the game semed almost compensatory. Also not helping Hasselbeck was that starting flanker Deion Branch was lost in the first quarter with what is believed to be ligament damage to his knee.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F - The thing that has plagued the Seahawks' offense all season came up empty at the most important time, The Seahawks gained only 28 yards on 18 carries, the lowest total of the Holmgren era. The backs could have used the snow as an excuse were it not for the fact that Packers running back Ryan Grant ran for 201 yards. Shaun Alexander capped off the worst season of his career with 20 yards on nine carries.

PASS DEFENSE: F - Facing a starting quarterback for the first time in two months, the Seahawks' secondary could not contend with the experience of Brett Favre and the pass rush could not touch him. The Seahawks had only one sack, and that was a no-gain sack when Favre was scrambling. Favre was 18 of 23 for 173 yards and five touchdowns, but most damaging is he was 7 of 10 on third-down conversions.

RUSH DEFENSE: F - Bad time for the run defense to have its worst game of the season, giving up a season-high 201 yards to first-year back Ryan Grant. Grant used hard running and quick cutbacks to turn in four runs over 15 yards, plus scoring three touchdowns to more than atone for two early fumbles that gave Seattle a 14-0 lead. The Seahawks defense gave up the most postseason points in franchise history.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- PK Josh Brown was 2 for 2 on field-goal attempts in the driving snow, and punter Ryan Plackemeier averaged 40.3 yards on four punts. Nate Burleson never was able to get loose on a return, averaging 17.7 yards per kickoff return.

COACHING: C-minus - Defensive coordinator John Marshall was clearly outcoached on this day, his pass rush unable to get close to Brett Favre, his coverages getting picked apart and his run defense giving up a season high in yardage. Players were often out of position, and Marshall had no answer for Green Bay's many effective blocking schemes. Mike Holmgren's play-calling was limited by the snowy conditions, and once the Seahawks fell behind 28-17 at the half they were forced to throw.

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