2006 has been a challenging year for Holmgren
It’s been a trying year for Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren. He lost several starters on both offense and defense to injuries and the team has struggled on defense as well. Now, as the team does its best to make a stretch run to the playoffs, they have finally started to get healthy and it couldn’t come at a better time as they travel to face an old nemesis on Sunday – the Denver Broncos.
“I think we have kind of weathered a little bit of a storm,” Holmgren told the assembled media on Friday. “Having said that though, injuries are a part of this business and you have to prepare for some of that happening. And the guys that you put in there you expect to play well. So I think we have weathered a little bit of a storm because of who was injured.
“The guys that stepped in there I think did a great job. More importantly we have to gain consistency down the stretch, and we have to play with a little more consistency then we showed this season so far. Hopefully we can do that now that we have most of the guys back.”
Even with the overall health of the team improving, Holmgren will still be missing two key parts heading into the game this weekend as RT Sean Locklear will be a game time decision whether he can even play on Sunday and WR Bobby Engram is still dealing with the side effects from medication to treat a thyroid condition doctors discovered shortly after the beginning of the season.
Starting in Locklear’s place will be Tom Ashworth for the fifth straight week and Holmgren said doctors plan to test Engram again on Monday to see where he’s at as well.
As far as players available to the Seahawks on Sunday, Holmgren said he and his redzone offense couldn’t be happier now that they have Alexander back in the fold.
“Well we had to approach things a little differently (with Alexander out),” Holmgren said. “Now he made a point of talking to me about that today as a matter of fact.
“Shaun, he likes to score down there, and I said ‘hey, I called it, I called you.’ He goes ‘you only called it twice’. ‘I said that I expect you to score, you didn’t score so I came away from you.’ ‘But I got it close’. So it was good natured. It’s good to have him back because he likes the red zone.”
The Broncos for their part are also on a precipice – they’ve benched QB Jake Plummer in favor of rookie Jay Cutler and have lost two in a row. With a loss to Seattle they could fall too far back in the AFC playoff race to make the post season and Holmgren is keenly aware that things are tenuous for both teams right now.
“They have their situation, we have ours,” Holmgren noted. “I look at ours every week as rather desperate too. All you can do is prepare and go in there with a lot of emotion, a lot of your own intensity, and play the game. And then see what happens.
“It’s an important game for both teams.”
Seattle makes their first regular season appearance in Denver since they left the AFC West in 2002 to join the restructured NFC West as part of the league re-alignment.
Scott Eklund writes and reports for Seahawks.NET and Dawgman.com. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.