HEAD COACH MIKE HOLMGREN
(Opening…) Needless to say, it is a very happy locker room. It is my understanding that we are the division champs, and that was our first goal for this season. But I cautioned the team, that as happy as they are right now, and I believe we played pretty well against what I consider to be a very fine Arizona team, a team that is one the rise, and very well coached, but we have three games left in the regular season, two on the road. We have to finish the regular season strong. I think we have built up something, and we are building on something that we established halfway through the season, and now we must continue to keep doing that. That was my message. Some great individual efforts, and I am very, very proud of the team. They did a nice job today
(On clinching the division at the first opportunity this year, as opposed to last year…) We had our chances like this last year, exactly like this year. Almost the identical record, the same part of the season, playing at home, if I remember correctly. We stumbled it around just a little bit. Now, last season was last season, a different team. This is a different team, a different season. The injury situation is different. When you get into comparisons like that, it's not always the same thing, rarely is it exactly the same thing. What was at stake was the same. Today's game, we had a chance to get the division if we won today. They went out and did a good job.
(On Matt Hasselbeck…) I thought he had a good day passing the ball. The receivers did a great job, too. Pollard's touchdowns, Engram's was beautiful, in the corner of the end zone. The receivers, since we have changed the emphasis a little bit, have been doing a fabulous job I think, really a good job catching the ball, and that is what you have to have. If you're going to pass a little bit more than you run, that is what you have to have.
(On surpassing Chuck Knox's victory total…) It's pretty cool. Mr. Allen just gave me the game ball, which is very special. Chuck Knox, I will say it again: When I came into the league there were a few of the coaches that had already really established themselves, that took time for a rookie head coach, to give advice and talk to me seriously about what I might expect, and he was one of them. And I have always appreciated that. I have admired him greatly, and what he did as a coach. So, just to be mentioned in the same breath with Chuck Knox is pretty neat. It was very special for me today. It gave me the opportunity today to point out to the team the same thing that I preach to them on almost a daily basis, is that individual accomplishments are absolutely tied in with other people. Coaches, other coaches. Players, certainly. They have a lot to do with all that stuff. It was very special to get the ball from Paul today.
(On Matt Hasselbeck…) He was the quarterback that got us to the Super Bowl, so that's pretty special. He is having a great year. He is doing everything that I am asking him to do, and probably a little bit more.
(On winning the division for the fourth year in a row…) I tip my hat to the players. In this day and age of free agency, I think that if you can do it right and hold onto your core people and get the right quarterback, that's key. We have always put an emphasis on our division opponents and division games, and that's the first step, getting into the playoffs, and maybe getting a home game in the playoffs, that's the first step. The credit goes to the players, and my assistant coaches do a great job. I am just fortunate enough to get the game balls, but they do all of the hard work.
(On team leadership…) When I first came here, I searched for an actually tried to create some leadership. Even though at times it is overstated, I suppose, I think it is very, very important to have a successful team, for that team and the players to grab hold of the football team and lead their teammates. The coaches; I can kind of direct traffic and they will listen to me a little bit, and follow me a little bit, but you really need the guys on the team, like Hasselbeck and Tatupu and Kerney is doing that, and Deion Branch, and we have a number of them, like Walter Jones in a quiet way, and Mack Strong, all those guys. So, I think that has been the key, that core group have been good football players—Bobby Engram—but really good people. For young players to come in, the type of person you want to follow, I think we have that here now.
(On looking for areas to improve…) One of my messages is that we have three games left in the regular season, and we are searching for our best football, all around. That is offense, defense, special teams, put the entire package together. I think when you win a football game, and start getting close the playoffs, you are very critical as a coaching staff, with the players, of what we can improve upon, and knowing it is necessary to go all the way. The little things. Our kicking game. Getting off the field on third downs. Converting short yardage. Figuring out how to put the game away, when I know I'm going to run, so let's cram three runs in and get the first down. Those types of things. We are going to look at it, and there will be some things I grouse about, certainly.
(On Marcus Trufant…) I have never thought there has been a tremendous drop in his play, since we got him. I think he has been one of the more solid players, during my time here. I think he has improved each year, quite honestly. I think he is having a fine year. He's real steady. Early on in his career, the confidence you need to play the position, he had it but then to sustain that on every play is something you have to learn just a little bit because you are going against good guys all the time. And I think now he has put things all together, and he is one of the better corners in football in my opinion.
(On the importance of having veterans…) They have been there before. If you look at the football season, you have the preseason, and you have the regular season, and you have the playoffs, and then you have the Super Bowl. Really, the intensity level of each, it ratchets up the closer you get to that game. The guys that have been there before, and that sudden death feeling that is with every game in the playoffs, if you have enough guys that have been there before, the approach and how they practice, and how they study, and those things, they know what it takes, and it helps in the leadership part of it, and bringing the other guys along with them.
(On injuries…) We are pretty good, injury wise.
(On Patrick Kerney…) He is doing a great job. I've been asked on the difference between early on and now and those types of things, and I think he is feeling really healthy and good and strong and then, Patrick is the type of player, and those of you who have talked to him, he really goes the same speed all the time. Some people are wearing down at the end of games, he is still the same guy. As a result, it's an all day deal when you are playing against him, and you have to gear up and play the game that way. He gets some of his sacks just on his relentless play. Aside from his ability, and he has great ability.