A few programming notes to start. Over the past few weeks, a couple folks have asked me to ask some specific questions in the locker room. The problem with that is timing. When I post the score of the game to start a postgame thread, I have already left to go to the locker room. I do not see the blog again until I return, by which time access to the players or coaches is long gone. So it is impossible for me to see what the questions are or, obviously, ask them. Just a thought.
Long and short of Holmgren: Happy about the win, not happy about the run offense, special teams needs work. Good night, everybody.
Actually, much more than that. He said he does not know how much he plans on using Seneca Wallace but that it is not much because he has mixed emotions, he knows he is a weapon but he also gets nervous about Wallace getting hurt. I think he will be used in the future, but it seems like it will be a diet of three or four plays, not 8 or 10. Another point he brought up is that if you use Seneca, you are taking one of the other receivers off the field and they are pretty good in their own right.
Boling asked Holmgren if there are players in particular who have stood out to him this year. He singled out Matt Hasselbeck, Marcus Trufant, Lofa Tatupu and Bobby Engram, and also said Kelly Jennings has done a very solid job. Later, he circled back to the question and said that Leonard Weaver, after having a rough training camp, is becoming a pleasant surprise and somebody that he feels comfortable using.
Holmgren talked about the coaches setting up a very specific defensive scheme to take advantage of Julian Peterson's pass rushing ability. He did not speak at length about it, but it was pretty clear that they saw something they thought they could exploit in San Francisco's bigger, slower offensive line by using Peterson's strength and quickness.
One of Boling's favorite topics: Derek Rackley. Holmgren pointed out that part of the tipped punt issue was that the snap was bad, and that wasn't the only bad snap on the day. Holmgren said it is an issue that needs to get straightened out.
The run game is an issue, Holmgren said, because of blown assignments. He said he understands bad technique or sometimes physical breakdowns, but just flat-out blocking the wrong guy or missing an assignment is something that really bothers him. I asked him if he would consider using Hasselbeck, who is off to such a hot start, to set up the run, and he said that's not really ever been his philosophy. He ascribes to a balanced attack rather than one setting up the other.
The other thing that really bothered him was the inability to convert on third-and-short.
Asked to grade the first quarter of the season, Holmgren gave the team a B, "because of our record." But he also said he thinks their best football is still ahead of them. "Pretty good start, not perfect," he said. "Some things we have to fix."