We'll cover Mack Strong first. Holmgren said though he has not finalized anything or worked out details, he said he would like to have Mack continue to have some role with the team. Whether that is coaching or whatever, Holmgren doesn't know. But he said Mack feels like he has a lot invested in the organization and doesn't want his ties with the team to end so abruptly.
As for Leonard Weaver, Holmgren said he will be the starting fullback. Holmgren said newly acquired Fred McCrary has some of the same qualities as Strong, but it is now Leonard's job. How he will respond, he doesn't know. SOme guys respond very well going from irregular contributors to The Man, as Holmgren called him, some choke. He has to wait and see with Weaver, though he said one of the positive aspects are that Weaver gives them the option of catching passes out of the backfield. His primary responsibility, though, is lead blocking for Shaun. To that end, Holmgren said there will be a learning curve for Alexander and Weaver because Alexander and Strong had a feel for one another built up over time. He said Weaver will need to get used to the notion that he is not a halfback that will be running the ball.
Re: Boone Stutz, Holmgren said he has such good velocity that they brought him in for a tryout to make sure that Ryan Plackemeier could handle the change in snaps. He was able to, and that was the reason he was signed. He never said anything about Rackley, but the implication is that his velocity was so poor that it was at least part of the reason that Plackemeier's had two punts blocked.
Never miss a local story.
Holmgren would not say what the decision was re: a wide receiver replacement for Deion Branch, though he did say that Bobby Engram came into his office yesterday and said he is ready for more reps and more balls thrown his way. I assume we will see at practice today who is getting the majority of the reps with the first team. But Holmgren said he has the confidence in Engram, Ben Obomanu and Courtney Taylor that they can get the job done until Branch and DJ Hackett return from injuries.
Re: New Orleans, Holmgren said he thinks they are a much better team than their record indicates and that they have been the victims of some bad luck. He said he respects Reggie Bush, but wishes Bush hadn't been inducted into Canton before he even played a game. He thinks there was a lot of undue pressure placed on the kid before he was ready for it, and it is even more difficult now because Deuce McAllister is not there to relieve some of the pressure.
He also spoke about the strategy of freezing a field goal kicker, as the Bills tried to do to Dallas on Monday night. Holmgren said he is not a big fan of the ploy, particularly since the rule that allows coaches to call timeouts was not instituted for that purpose. He said he does not believe in freezing kickers as a general rule; just let him kick it and if he makes it shake his hand and say nice job. He also brought up an interesting point though: What if the guy misses the first FG, the coach calls the timeout, and that gives the kicker a second chance and he makes it? How angry would fans be if that happens?