Renton – With a revolving door at receiver so far this season, Seattle coach Mike Holmgren’s vaunted passing attack has been mostly ineffective.
The Seahawks’ inability to throw the ball has led the West Coast offense guru to consider changing his philosophy after a disappointing 1-3 start. Holmgren says he may use the running game more for the time being, leaning on a rebuilt ground game led by free agent acquisition Julius Jones to move the chains.
“A huge emphasis has to be on continuing to get better running the football,” Holmgren said during his Monday press conference with reporters. “It appears as though that’s going to have to be a big part of success for us this year. We ran it decently in spots (Sunday). But the game changed and it didn’t work.”
Seattle couldn’t run the ball effectively last season and because of that threw the ball nearly 58 percent of the time in 2007. This season, with an improved running game the Seahawks are running the ball about 50 percent of the time.
Even though Seattle struggled running the ball against the Giants, Seattle ranks sixth in the league in rushing with 143.2 yards per game. Holmgren said with inconsistency in the passing game, Seattle may have to play more of a ball-control offense – similar to teams such as Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Tennessee that rely on ball control and defense.
“We have never kind of been that type of team,” Holmgren said. “And it’s not the kind of football typically that I embrace, necessarily. But (if) you have that type of defense you can do that.”
Right now, Seattle’s defense isn’t ready to win games that way. With all 11 starters back, Seattle’s defense was supposed to be the team’s strength. But so far Seattle has given up an average of 31 points a contest. The Seahawks are ranked 26th overall on defense, and big plays have killed them. Seattle has given up 24 plays from scrimmage of 20 yards or more, including nine such plays against the Giants.
Seattle’s defensive players spent Monday watching film and trying to figure out why their execution is so bad.
Linebacker Leroy Hill, who leads Seattle in tackles, said it boils down to one thing – confidence.
“Football and every sport is about swagger,” Hill said. “You have to walk with a swagger and you have to play with a swagger. Right now we are on our heels and not playing with our swagger. We have to find a way to get that back and it all starts with practice.”
“The thing is to instill some confidence in the players,” he said. “That will be my approach with them. It’s the same group we had last year, pretty much. And we played good defensive football last year. So there is hope.”
Holmgren said quarterback Matt Hasselbeck’s knee is OK and he should be ready to practice this week. Wide receiver Deion Branch is another matter, however. Branch, who just returned from an ACL knee injury, suffered a bruised heel, according to Holmgren. Branch’s status this week is uncertain. However, Holmgren said he thinks Branch’s knee is OK. Cornerback Kelly Jennings, who suffered a concussion on Sunday, should be ready to go this week. … After watching the film Holmgren restated what most Seahawks’ observers already knew – the Seahawks didn’t play very well. Missed tackles and big plays allowed by the defense hurt Seattle, he said. Also, Holmgren said the defense needs to get a better pass rush. Particularly, guys in one-on-one situations need to get to the quarterback. Holmgren also said Seattle needs to execute its blitz packages more effectively, with guys not running into each other or running through the same gap. … Holmgren said changes will be made, including the possibility of personnel changes on both sides of the ball.
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The Seahawks forced Buffalo to punt after three-and-outs the first four times the Bills had the ball in the season opener. Since then, Seattle’s defense has surrendered 24 big plays of 20 or more yards. The list:
BillsTrent Edwards pass to Lee Evans32
BillsMarshawn Lynch touchdown run21
BillsEdwards pass to Josh Reed24
BillsEdwards pass to Evans41
BillsEdwards touchdown pass to Robert Royal30
49ersJ.T. O’Sullivan pass to Arnaz Battle25
49ersFrank Gore run23
49ersO’Sullivan pass to Bryant Johnson25
49ersO’Sullivan pass to Isaac Bruce27
49ersO’Sullivan pass to Bruce63
49ersO’Sullivan pass to Bruce30
49ersO’Sullivan pass to Bruce33
RamsMarc Bulger pass to Steven Jackson50
RamsBulger touchdown pass to Dane Looker21
RamsBulger pass to Torry Holt22
GiantsBrandon Jacobs run44
GiantsEli Manning touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon32
GiantsManning pass to Amani Toomer22
GiantsManning pass to Toomer29
GiantsManning pass to Hixon41
GiantsDerrick Ward run21
GiantsManning touchdown pass to Sinorice Moss23
GiantsAhmad Bradshaw run32