Monday, November 10, 2008

Holmgren Press Conference

by: Michael Steffes

Here is the link if you want to watch.

Holmgren talked to the team today. They had a chance to win against a tough opponent, in the eastern time zone, all the things people write about. He wants them to start looking towards next week as soon as possible.

Holmgren says the team must execute better. They must cut down on the mistakes. And up until yesterday he thought the receivers had done a pretty good job, but the dropped passes hurt.

To Continue . . .

Matt is is expected back. However, if he can't play, they will probably have to start Charlie. Seneca hurt himself early in the game, and coach was tempted to sub for him, but Seneca wanted to continue.

Seneca and Leonard Weaver would be listed as questionable. Kerney is doubtful.

If Deion Branch makes it through practice this week he will start. Farnsworth asked how that affects Bobby. Holmgren says that Bobby has been receiving a lot of attention during the games, and with Deion back that should open it up a bit more.

Danny O'Neil asked if the close games are tougher on the team than the games like the past couple of weeks which weren't so close. He said it just makes him go over his role a little more closely because he wants the team to get the win so bad, and when it is close a certain call here or there could have made the difference.

Talking about the dropped passes, he said it surprises him when it happens. He said the receivers made some nice catches. He singled out Koren on the sideline, Bobby diving, and Carlson across the middle. He said then when they are open they drop it. It surprises him, but there is no excuse for that.

He talked about special teams getting better. He thought yesterday was maybe their best game yet. The kickoff return coverage was okay, but the return game is really doing well. He said Wilson and Forsett are courageous kids who are really helping to give the team a boost.

The Hawks are in a different situation this week because usually the other division opponents have extra motivation to beat the Hawks. Since the Hawks are "running uphill" they will put some extra emphasis on this week's game. They always put extra emphasis on divisional games, and this one will be no different.

Asked if he ever sits back and looks at the bad breaks the team has had with injuries this year, Holmgren says he can't. There is somebody in the league who compiles that stuff. He can't afford to. Everyone is looking for him to set the tone, players and coaches alike. Obviously he hasn't been able to do a lot of what he has done in the past. The situation is what it is. This is kind of a unique situation. The team has had some good and even great years, and that will happen again. He is very proud of the way the guys are handling it, but for now they just have to execute better.

Ray Willis, filling in for Chop, graded out really well yesterday. Coach was surprised that Womack couldn't play. He has to see where Chop is, and if he is healthy he assumes Womack will be starting again. He likes Willis a lot, but he likes him better at tackle.

Danny asked about what it means when a lineman grades out well. What goes into that? It is a combination of two things: are the player's assignments correct, and did he block well? If you grade out at 85%, then you did the right thing 85% of the time. The personnel guys and the coaches both grade people out, and then they discuss it if there are differences. Typically there isn't a lot of difference.

Coach was asked what his conversations with John Carlson are like, how he keeps a rookie from getting down on himself with the critical dropped passes in recent games. He said he coaches everyone differently. Carlson is very quiet and intelligent. He is also mentally tough. Because of where he went to school and what is expected of him, he coaches John hard, but John gets it. You don't have to worry about wrecking his psyche. Coach wishes he had Carlson ten years ago. He is going to be a special guy around here for a long time.

Asked about the losses taking their toll, Holmgren says he is doing his best to keep his head above water because that is important for the team, but inwardly you will never know how much this is hurting. He said the old truism is that the longer you coach, the tougher the losses get.

[commentary] It is really a shame how this season has turned out, and I hate to see coach go out like this. However, it is very, very rare that somebody goes out with a storybook ending, unless of course you have Bill Leavy in your pocket. Hopefully the team plays well down the stretch and we get to see a smile on Mike's face before he goes.