Wednesday, September 28, 2005
MIKE HOLMGREN PRESS CONFERENCE
I just got back from the Wednesday Mike Holmgren press conference. Here is a re-cap of the news and notes from the presser.
On the injury front Peter Warrick will sit out practice today with a groin injury. DJ Hackett will take his spot in the passing game and Jimmy Williams will return punts. Itula Mili is still not at full strength and may be another week before he is ready. Pork Chop Womack is still a week away, but will be the left tackle when he returns.
Holmgren talked about the Skins’ defense as a very aggressive unit that plays true pressure defense and bring the blitz more then most teams in the NFL. Specifically, they like to bring former Hawk Shawn Springs off the edge in a blitz. Springs v. D-Jack will be a big time match-up on Sunday.
In regards to D-Jack, I asked what he does to get so open. Holmgren talked about his tremendous quickness, that he is faster then people give him credit for and that he really is terrific in the first 5 yards of a route.
Offensively the Skins, offensive line will just maul you. They play a very similar system to what Joe Gibbs ran when he was the head coach the first time. He will pound, pound, pound and they shoot for one deep.
I brought up Holmgren’s passing on first down, he said you really have to have great confidence in your QB to make those calls. He admitted that running on first down is the hardest down to run on so if they can he is more then willing to pass on first down. In addition, he mentioned that they chart their own tendencies and will try to change his patterns.
Crowd noise is always a factor on the road. The obvious problem is audibles. Hasselbeck no differently then any other QB gets flustered when he can’t change out of bad plays and then no longer feels comfortable or in a rhythm.
The Hawks 3rd down defense has been amazing thus far. Holmgren credits it with a young defense that just flys around. He also talked about the depth of the roster and the rotation of players they are able to use. I wonder how much John Marshall calling the defense may be responsible for this change.
This year’s defense is different because of the depth. I wrote about this today in the Seattle PI and Holmgren discussed it at the press conference. In the past the starters got hurt and their was no second line, this year there is no such class distinction, they are all interchangeable parts. All the players feel they are contributing.
I credit a great deal of this to the influence of Tim Ruskell on this football team.
Lastly, I asked why the Hawks use Mack Strong in the 2-minute drill rather then Alexander. Holmgren said they have numerous personnel groups that can be used. However, he added that he usually asks Matt what he wants to use. Interesting, if I was Matt I wouldn’t want to have a back in the game that I couldn’t check to as a blocker or dump off to in the passing game.