Monday, August 20, 2007
Holmgren lighting fire under sloppy Seahawks
KIRKLAND, Wash. -- Mike Holmgren was ticked.
On the sidelines. In the locker room. On the airplane ride home.
And Seattle's coach was still upset Monday, two days after
starters and reserves alike missed assignments, lost three fumbles,
threw three interceptions and committed 10 penalties in a 48-13
loss at Green Bay that got more embarrassing the more the Seahawks
thought about it.
Fullback Mack Strong, in his 15th season, called it "a slap in
the face." Defensive leader Lofa Tatupu said, "I don't care who
was in there, who was not in there."
It's the preseason? Monday felt like the Seahawks had just
gotten steamrolled in a key December game.
"You can rationalize and justify and spin it any way you want,
but we had it stuck to us pretty good," Holmgren said after
barking at his players during a subdued morning practice in a
"You could make an argument that we gave them 27 points, just
kind of -- here," he said, extending both hands. "I've never been
in one of those before."
Tatupu is the Pro Bowl middle linebacker on a defense that is
carrying over last season's problem of stopping big plays on third
down. He agreed that the three-time defending NFC West champions
got a wake-up call from a snoozy summer.
"I don't care if it's August, if it's preseason ...," he said,
Strong added: "You can say, 'It's exhibition. It doesn't mean
anything.' But it exposed a lot of weaknesses that we have right
now. And those are things that you have to take personally."
Tatupu began challenging teammates on the sidelines Saturday in
Green Bay. Whether his message got through will be better known
this coming Saturday when Seattle hosts the Minnesota Vikings in
the next-to-last preseason game.
"We are counting on guys to get it done. I'm not going to name
names," Tatupu said. "Everyone's one or two plays away from
"We expect to be excellent. Anytime you step on the field,
you've got to have pride."
Holmgren turned 59 in June and is entering his 16th season as an
NFL head coach. So he knows as well as anyone the relative value of
a preseason game -- especially one in which quarterback Matt
Hasselbeck and both starting offensive tackles didn't play.
Still, Holmgren's a perfectionist. It was his most-lopsided
preseason defeat as a head coach, and the Seahawks' worst
exhibition loss since Denver beat them 52-7 in 1976, in their first
month of existence.
"I hate it. Big, huge internal conflict. That's why I have
heart palpitations," Holmgren said. "It's hard sometimes, yes it
is. Sometimes I don't control it very well. I think I did an OK job
the other night.
"Fortunately, it doesn't count -- that's the little speech I
give to myself."
Setting an early curfew is no longer an option as Holmgren seeks
to ratchet up training camp intensity. His players have moved out
of their dorm rooms and are going home to luxury each night.
Students at Northwest University, which borders team headquarters,
are returning from summer break and need their rooms back.
"The biggest thing is that they are out of the dorms,"
Holmgren said with a sigh.
"This seems like not a big thing; I think it's a big thing.
They are going home, but it's still training camp. We still have
two sessions a day. And they've got to get their minds right on
that and still approach it the way they approach it -- which I think
they did (Monday).
"I told them it was going to be quite a week this week."
Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace started because Holmgren
didn't want to expose Hasselbeck to defenders who could target his
surgically repaired non-throwing shoulder without starting tackles
Walter Jones (sore shoulder) and Sean Locklear (sore knee) to block
them. Instead, the Packers battered Wallace. He finished 6-for-15
passing and was sacked four times while playing into the second
"Seneca, I think he's a brave guy, and a very tough guy,
because he got hit like no one should get hit in that game, and he
bounced right back up," Holmgren said. "Goodness gracious, the
walls collapsed on him a couple times."
Backup tackles Tom Ashworth and Floyd Womack plus fullback
Leonard Weaver -- Strong's heir at fullback -- all got run over. So
Jones and Locklear are now even more valuable than they already
Locklear returned to practice after sitting out last week.
Jones, whom Holmgren said "could play now," likely won't until
the games get real Sept. 9 against Tampa Bay.