"It's a funny thing,"
Holmgren said. "It will be talked about, not just with us, but a lot of
teams, this week, on how to do this. I thought a lot about it. I'm not sure
there's a right way to do it. I believe in momentum going into the playoffs.
I do believe in that. At the same time, everyone holds their breath that no
one gets hurt. So how do you balance that? So what we're going to do, we're
going to practice hard this week. We're going to play the guys hard. They are
approaching it that way and keep our fingers crossed."
Holmgren said that part
of his motivation for playing his starters is to continue to build on the running
game that finally seemed to emerge last week against Baltimore.
For the entire season, Holmgren
has been seeking consistency from the running game. He finally got it against
the Ravens, the second-ranked run defense, with 144 yards, including 73 from
To go away from that against
the Falcons, who have the 25th-ranked run defense in the league, relinquishing
125 yards a game, would be foolhardy, Holmgren feels.
"The running game,
we were teased a little bit there and I kind of like some of the things we did,"
Holmgren said. "That's absolutely one thing I'm looking at."
Holmgren also is looking
at the practical side of things.
"I think when you start
wholesale substitutions before the game or early in the game, there really is
a tremendous domino effect on the special teams," Holmgren said. "Take
the linebackers as an example. Your backup linebackers in the game, if they're
active, you've got six or seven. The three backup guys are your core special
teams guys. If you make mass substitutions, now they're playing every play and
special teams. You're not going to take your other guys and have them play on
special teams. Now you're real thin there. You open yourself up, even a little
bit more to injury, in those situations so there's a lot of little things to
Holmgren did say that players
with injuries, like Rocky Bernard and Walter Jones, will not practice at all
this week, and he will make a decision on their availability later in the week.
He also said that if the
Seahawks get an early lead against a Falcons team in the midst of a six-game
losing streak, he would rest quarterback Matt Hasselbeck for the remainder of
Other than that, though,
this week will be, for the most part, like Week 5.
"When we got to the
halfway point, we were 4-4," Holmgren said. "I challenged the football
team to take it one at a time and let's try to win eight in a row. Let's run
the table one game at a time and we almost did that. I did not like the feeling
that we had two weeks ago (in a loss to Carolina) so we're going to play the
SERIES HISTORY: 11th meeting
with the Falcons. Seahawks lead series, 8-2, including the last four meetings.
The last three games have been decided by a combined 11 points, and one of the
games went into overtime.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--Seahawks running back
Shaun Alexander wants to play as much as he can in Sunday's game because it
is almost like he is going home. "You never want to go back (to) the south
and watch," Alexander said. "It's a good middle spot between my college
and my home. So there will be people from Florence, Kentucky there. Pretty much
the whole state of Kentucky is invited, and the whole state of Alabama. It'll
be exciting for me, no matter what coach says."
--Seahawks defensive backs
coach Jim Mora Jr. is returning to face his former team for the first time since
he was fired last season. "He's very much looking forward to the game,"
Mike Holmgren said. "But without overstating it, I believe he's moved on
now and he's having fun coaching this year. I believe he's glad he's in Seattle.
Would he still like to be a head coach? Yeah, certainly. That's obvious. But
now he's moving forward so I think going back there, he's going to coach like
he always does. He's going to get his guys ready to play."
--Seahawks defensive end
Patrick Kerney, who spent eight years with the Falcons, said Atlanta's Keith Brooking is the player after whom he models himself. "He was the perfect
model to follow," Kerney said. "A five-time Pro Bowler who walked
the line day in, day out. He parked in the right place, did every lift, practiced
hard, played with a broken back. That's not a joke either. He played with a
broken back and he was a tough guy, a great guy to model yourself after so I
was really lucky to have him around."
--PK Josh Brown needs three
field goals to pass Todd Peterson and into second place on the team's all-time
scoring list. Peterson was Atlanta's kicker the last time the teams played,
in the season opener in 2005.
--Alexander said that his
wife runs such a tight household that he had to go retrieve his daughter from
her room at 8 in the morning on Christmas.
--If the Seahawks allow
13 points or fewer, they will set a club record for fewest points allowed in
--Holmgren said he was not
very impressed with the way Bobby Petrino left the Falcons earlier this year.
"I am not going to cast judgment on that because I don't know all the ins
and outs or things there," Holmgren said. "All I can say, that is
bad. For me, I couldn't do that. If I ever reached the point to where it was
as hard as it appeared to be, you just got to say, 'hey, you can't.' I couldn't
do it. It wouldn't be any fun though, but I couldn't do it."
BY THE NUMBERS: 40 -- Number
of yards Nate Burleson needs to set a franchise record for punt return yardage.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "They've
just had an unbelievably bad run of luck starting back with what happened this
summer with Michael (Vick) right on down to injury situations with both offensive,
both defensive tackles. It's just about too much for any team to overcome."
-- Patrick Kerney, on his former team, the Atlanta Falcons.
Even though Mike Holmgren
says that he will approach this game like any other, there is a chance that
he rests some of his veteran starters with injuries. Most likely to sit are
offensive tackle Walter Jones, who would be replaced by Floyd Womack to rest
Jones' sore shoulder; Rocky Bernard, who sat out last week with a sore groin
and was replaced by Craig Terrill; and, after getting a lead, quarterback Matt
Hasselbeck, who was replaced in last week's victory with eight minutes left
by backup Seneca Wallace.
PLAYER PERSONNEL NOTES
--OT Walter Jones did not
practice on Wednesday because of a sore shoulder and is questionable for Sunday.
--DT Rocky Bernard did not
practice because of a sore groin and is questionable for Sunday's game.
--WR D.J. Hackett participated
in Wednesday's practice and could be available to play on Sunday. Hackett has
missed the last three games with a high-ankle sprain.
--CB Josh Wilson had limited
participation in Wednesday's practice because of a quad injury and is questionable
to play in Sunday's game.
--S Mike Green did not practice
because of a knee injury but is probable to play in Sunday's game against the
--WR Deion Branch had limited
participation in practice because of a calf strain but is probable to play on
GAME PLAN: Against a team
that has lost six straight and endured one of the most difficult seasons in
recent memory, the Seahawks should be able to win this game just by stepping
on the field. They are likely, however, to focus on their run game, which got
untracked last week against Baltimore and is facing the 25th-ranked run defense
this week. If that is not successful, Matt Hasselbeck will likely get some throws
to get a lead, then be rested in the second half.
INJURY IMPACT: OT Walter
Jones will not practice all week and is a game-time decision. Even if he plays,
he is not likely to play the entire game. He is good enough to skip the game
and be ready for the first round of the playoffs.
DT Rocky Bernard will not
practice all week to rest a sore groin that kept him sidelined last week and
is not likely to play against the Falcons. He will be replaced by Craig Terrill
if he does not play. Bernard never practices so to skip the game would not be
a big deal for the veteran.