9/9/07 Seattle Quotes

HEAD COACH MIKE HOLMGREN

(opening)…It was a typical first game, I thought.  You don't know quite what to expect from the opponent, and [also] in some cases some of the guys that haven't played too much for you.  I have tremendous respect for Tampa Bay and their coaching staff and Jon [Gruden] and Monte Kiffin do a great job of getting their team ready to play.  And they came in here and it was a battle.  I was proud of our team and how they hung in there.  We overcame some adversity.  I thought we finished the game strong, I felt we got better as the game went along.  It is always nice to win the first one, so we are going to be very happy about this one.

(On the call on the touchdown pass to Maurice Morris…)  We had not done a great job on third down during the game.  So, I called a time out, because I wanted to think a little bit more about the call, and Matt came over, and we talked upstairs about what we thought we were going to get, coverage wise, and they told me.  I picked the play.  What we had done during the week, we had talked about anytime a back goes outside anybody, they don't really ignore him, but it's not quite the the same as a wide receiver.  Mo was not primary on the play.  I would like to tell you that I said throw the ball to Mo, but I didn't do that.  Matt, during the week, I had talked to him about plays like this, where they sometimes ignore that guy.  Bless his hard, he made a great play, and then Mo made a great catch.  So, you have two athletes who prepared themselves well during the week and came through when we needed them to come through.  It was a huge play in the game.

(On the whistle from the stands…)   I've had a lot of people whistling at me over the years.  A different kind of whistle.  But that one shocked me.  Did I hear it?  No.  It's loud.  And there is a lot of noise.  No, I did not hear the whistle.  The punter apparently heard the whistle, because he stopped.  And everybody kind of stopped.  Then, Larry Nemmers, who is the referee he came over and said in fairness I can't let this play go on.  It really hurt us, but had it been my punter in a stadium away, I would hope that if that happened, I would hope they would handle it that way.  I thought the referees handled it pretty well, actually.  I know it went against me, but in fairness it was probably the right thing to do.  I don't know if by their rules it was the right thing, but in fairness it was.

(On whether the defense is ahead of the offense…)  I think so.  In Tampa's development, right now, their defense is ahead of their offense, I think.  It doesn't surprise me that the game went like that.  Our guys came to play defense today.  They are still getting to know one another.  We have some new people in there.  I thought we were very physical, and I liked that part of it.  I thought we rushed the passer pretty well, and, yes, our defense played a good game today.

(On Marcus Pollard…)  Marcus is a good player.  My challenge is not to wear him out.  He's not a rookie any more.  He is good for us, he is a nice fit for us, and he's a good person.  Today he really contributed, as did our second and third tight ends, because they had a pretty good game I think.

(On the wide receiver play… )  Hacket was our one injury.  I can't give you a time on his return.  He hurt his ankle and we will know more tomorrow.  The plan going in was to platoon Burleson and Hackett anyway, so when Hackett went down, Nate just played a lot more.  He played the rest of the game.  As far as running those plays, that's just part of what pops up when we call the play.  I think it is partly the style of defense that Tampa runs.  If you look at our hit chart, our backs caught a few more passes than they normally do, our tight end caught balls.  They are crowding our outside guys, so our quick game was a little problematic.  They had a plan on how to do that, so instead of forcing the ball, I was really pleased that Matt didn't force the ball.  Because they can frustrate you just a little bit.  For that matter, Deion Branch, as an example, what a professional.  A good receiver going through a game and not seeing that many touches, sometimes they get a little cranky, and he was the biggest cheerleader I had on the sidelines.  That showed a lot about that young man, too.

(On Shawn Alexander…)  I thought he ran hard today, and I like it when he does that.  He wants to have a good year.  He came into camp prepared to have a good year and in very good shape, I thought.  If he could have a year close to his 2005 year, I think we will probably have a pretty good year as a team.

(On the defensive line…)  I thought they were pretty active.  They rushed the passer pretty well, and I thought they were physical.  It's the first game, and so we are going to dissect the film.  And there were some things I didn't like.  I didn't like how we did things offensively in short yardage.  I didn't like our third down conversion rate.  There were a couple of throws where it didn't look like we had anybody playing defense.  So, we have to fix those things, which we will.

(On Deion Branch not getting many touches…)  In our system right now, Deion should touch the ball more than any of the other receivers, he really should.  We have done this with teams as well.  We'll come in and we'll say that we're not going to let him touch the ball quite as much, and clearly they had that as part of their plan.

(On comparing last year's defensive line to this year's defensive line…)  It's a little early to say.  I think I'm going to like what I see.  I thought they were very active.  They are kind of thrashing around.  If they don't make the play, they are gumming things up, and creating problems.  But, it is really way too early to determine that.  If they had a good game and they have a good season; Bryce and Wistrom they played well for us, and we'll see.  And, of course, Bryce is in that rotation as well.

QB MATT HASSELBECK

(On spreading the ball around…)    That's how we like to do things anyway.  We spread it around.  Losing Hackett early on, was not a good thing.  It took away our four-wides package and took away a lot of what we came into this game hoping to do.  I thought they other guys stepped up.  They played us differently than I expected them to.  They threw the ball underneath a bunch and our running backs and our tight ends did a nice job of catching the ball and getting a little bit, and being patient that way.

(On whether Tampa's defense did what he expected…)  No, I didn't.  I expected to see a lot of Cover-2, a lot of single safety fire zone, some man to man coverage with press technique, but they are very well coached.  We know them, they know us.  They threw some new looks at us, and we handled some of them OK, and we didn't handle others very well.  All in all, it was typical of a first game.  We were a little sloppy at times.  We had opportunities and sometimes we made the play, and sometimes we missed the play.  I think it is a good starting point for our offense.  We just have a lot of stuff to correct.  I think it will be easy to correct, and we'll just move forward.

(On the touchdown pass to Maurice Morris…)   His job is to clear that out, and I have been saying to Mo for a long time, and the coaches are saying it to him as well, to be alive, you could actually get the ball.  I think it has been about four years, and he has never gotten the ball.  So, I don't know if he's lost faith or not, but he had an opportunity there.  It was 3rd and 5, I think, and we were trying to get the ball to Engram, and they doubled him, and we had tight man to man coverage, and we gave it a shot.  I think we were in field goal range, so if it doesn't work out, we have Josh Brown to get us 3 points, but if it does, it's a great play. 

(On the throw…)  I wanted to give him some air.  There was part of me saying that I hope that he looks.  He truly has been a decoy for us.  He's very fast, and very talented and he is good at running people off.  I am happy for him, it was a good play for us.

(On the flea flicker…)  I think that stuff is in our game plan, especially through training camp, it just never gets called.  We are not really a trick play team.  The play could have worked, we just happened to catch them in a tough defense, with the safety on the line of scrimmage and man to man coverage, and he made a nice play.  I think he was covering the tight end, and the tight end blocked, and he was just a football player, and he blitzed.  It was a good play by him.  We should call it again; no one will be expecting it.

(On the offensive changes…)  It's a huge game plan, so what's in the game plan, and what gets called, those are sometimes two different things.  I think you can kind of see a different look to our offense.  It looks a little bit different than the last two years.  We are fighting our way through that.  We are trying some stuff, I'm sure some stuff will stay and some stuff won't.  Like I said, losing 4 wides changed things a little bit, and it changed a little bit of what we were trying to do, especially in the red zone, we had some things and on third down we had some things.  It happens.

(On the temperature…)   I was fine.  I think I did a pretty good job of staying hydrated during the week.

(On the running game…)  We need that running game to go, and he is the guy who gets the ball, so we need him to get positive yards, especially on first down.  We are trying to that.  I thought he ran hard on that first drive where we got it going.  He ran downhill, and I thought our guys up front did a nice job.  We didn't capitalize, we didn't score touchdowns on those drives, but it kept our defense off the field, it got us going a little bit, and hopefully we can get back to the kind of team that we can get our tempo going and just run downhill, throw it, and run downhill, throw it, and get our bootlegs going a little bit.  It was tough; they made it hard for us today.

(On seeing a little frustration in the first half…)  We were just a little sloppy, and we didn't convert on third downs, and then we put ourselves in tough third downs to make, also.  From the first series, we didn't do anything on first down, we didn't do our thing on the second play of the game, and that third down could have gone either way, but Ronde Barber did a nice play.  I feel like that sort of set the tone for us being out of rhythm a little bit.  We got it going here and there, but you have to convert those third downs, and we're going to look at the tape, and we're going to get better. 

(On the later stages of the game…)  I'm not going to do too much differently, but I'm sure that as a coaching staff, we were playing at home, our defense was playing well, as an example we were up by 14 with 7 or 8 minutes to go, and we were talking at that point about when we get the ball back, let's use the clock and let's run Shaun and let's pound him and pound him and hold on to the ball and keep the clock running.

(On Marcus Pollard…)  They tried to take Deion out of the game, and they took our receivers out a little bit in terms of deeper throws, and so we got our check downs underneath, we hit our backs, we hit our tight ends.  One of the big plays that he had was a hot play, when we were backed up, they blitzed, and we can't pick it up, and he made a nice adjustment, and a nice catch, so we got 9 yards on the play.  It's a big play, it's a big swing, because they blitzed, they are hoping for a big play for them; we hit 9 yards for us, and it's a 15 yard swing right there.  He made some really nice plays, he's been around he's a good addition.

(On Nate Burleson…)  Nate's a good player, he's been playing real hard, real fast.  He is very explosive.  He is doing a lot on kickoff and punt returns as well.  I'm not his coach, but it's very exciting to see him when he gets the ball.  It was unfortunate that he had the fumble, but I have also seen him break out of that stuff and take it for a lot of yards.  He's doing really well.

RB SHAUN ALEXANDER

(On the game today…)   They are a good defense.  Everyone knows that Tampa Bay is going to come and they are going to try to stop the run and pressure the quarterback.  They played their typical good defense today.  We have a good offense, and it took us a while to catch up.  Once we got it going it went better for us.

(On hitting his stride in the second half…)  We just play.  Our line just got up on people, and after a while they said, "Shaun, you'll figure it out."  That's part of the groove.  It takes a while for us to get used to putting our best against their weak spots.  Once we find it, things go well for us.  It just took us a while to figure it out.

(On the win today…)  It's always exciting anytime you give up field goals instead of touchdowns, that's a good thing.  Matt said earlier, you always feel upset whenever you have to punt the ball, especially in our case, because I am always trying to break for a long touchdown run on every play.  When you start calming down and saying, let's just get some yards and get things going, and we have to punt, it's OK because our defense will be able to handle it, your mindset changes a little bit, becauase now you are feeling a field position game instead of an outscoring game.  I think that will be good for us down the road.

(On Tampa's defense…)  I'll have to watch the film, I don't know who I was getting tackled by, or breaking tackles of.  They just have a good defense, so any time you play against them and you get 100 yards, it's a good feeling.

(On the play of the offensive line…)  I see a team that is young togther, but as we figure it out then we can be very, very dangerous in our ground game.  I think Tampa is the team that we would want to play against, because they are good.  I was really excited that we got 100 yards because I thought it would be hard to get.  We pulled it together there at the end.  The third and fourth quarter went well for us.

(On the running backs today…)  It always feels good to win, first of all, but to score points and have 100 yards rushing.  Any time the backs are catching balls and we threw some, to Mo, that always makes it exciting.  I thought Mack Strong and Leonard Weaver both played well at fullback.  I was really excited about the way our running back position played today.

RB MAURICE MORRIS

(On his touchdown catch…)  "First of all I was just happy that Eight (Matt Hasselbeck) threw the ball my way.  Second, I was fortunate enough to catch the ball.  Just thanking Eight that he took a chance on me.  Hopefully Coach Holmgren's not mad at that."

TE MARCUS POLLARD

(On the offensive timing…)  "I really think it was Nate's (Burleson) punt return.  He really blew that one down the field and gave us an opportunity to get some stuff done; feeling good about our confidence.  On the next possession, I don't know if we got a field goal, but we moved the changes and after that I think the guys just felt comfortable about making plays and that's what we did, made plays."

(On offensive cohesion…)  "It takes time.  It was our first game.  There are some things I'm sure we'll have to clean up.  Some things we didn't do as well as we think we did.  It's never as bad, but it's also never as good as we think it is either."

(On things to improve upon…)  "Blocking, some run plays that we could do a little bit better on, protecting the quarterback.  You can always do better at protecting the quarterback because that's how I make a living.  If he's on his back then I can't catch passes."

 

S DEON GRANT

 

(On being comfortable with defensive switches…)  "I felt good this week.  All the guys were together going over what we were going to do in the game.  Once we got to the game we had a good turnout.  I was just very anxious to see what it was going to be as a whole and I'm very comfortable with it."

DE PATRICK KERNEY

(On being nervous in his first home game in Seattle…)  "Well any game you have to calm down the nerves, and certainly a season opener there is a lot of anticipation and a lot of fire out there. It will take some time to settle into your own and start playing the way you're really capable of."

 

(On defensive movement…)  "We have a lot of very effective pass rushers in our linebackers and in our front four.  We do what we have to do to make sure that we have four fresh, good rushers on the field at all times.  That involves moving guys around and that's a good thing.  It makes the opposing team change their game plan in certain ways."

WR NATE BURLESON

(On his special teams play…)  "On that particular punt I just went to the sideline and they told me I had room so I was looking for gaps. You use your peripheral vision and start looking for creases and once I found one I was heading for the end zone. I thought I was going to score but somebody got me towards the end. Once I got passed the punter I was thinking about what touchdown celebration I'm going to come out with, but they got me."

(On his fumbled reception…)  "I did make a mistake on the ball, but I did come back later and make a catch , we got the victory and that's really all that counts."

LB JULIAN PETERSON

(On defensive performance…) "They made a couple of big plays; two or three plays, but for the most part we bent.  We bent but we didn't break.  We didn't want to give them any touchdowns and I think we did a good job of doing that.  We stuffed out in the red zone two times so that was good for us.  After that we came back in our heads and started playing relaxed.  Of course, in the beginning, being a defensive guy, we always want to be aggressive."

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