Wednesday's press conference with Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren had the usual onslaught of different questions but three themes stood out: Talk about the Pro Bowl selections, the Seahawks struggling running game and how the team prepares the last two weeks heading into the playoffs.
On Pro Bowl related stuff, Holmgren said he's proud of the six Seahawks who were selected to the game. And, he's disappointed that a few other Hawks – Deion Grant and Bobby Engram – did not get in. That said, he understands how it works and that some deserving players get passed over. He notes that anyone who makes the game is deserving and that it was a treat to coach those guys, which he's done a couple of times in his career. He called Engram a special guy and he had did some "pushing" to get him in and that the honor would be "frosting on the cake" for Engram, who's having a career year one year after being KO'd by thyroid problems.
The running game.. gee, we haven't talked about that for a while. Well, Holmgren said that careful viewing of the film from Carolina shows that Shaun Alexander did not have any room to run. Holmgren continues to stick up for Alexander, noting the injuries have hurt him this season more than he's let on. On one question about Alexander slowing down now that he's 30, Holmgren said injuries more than age is the factor for any decline this year. And, that offensive line, too. Holmgren said Alexander has handled this season about as well as anybody could given the heat the former MVP has taken from the fans.
As far as the last two regular season games go, Holmgren said he's told the players they are playing and that any resting of guys won't occur until the final game. Even then, he said, it won't be wholesale. He said even though coaches fear having star players get hurt playing it safe and not playing guys goes against the competitive nature of him and other coaches. He said he wants the No. 3 seed because it means the Seahawks will have finished with momentum and help their cause to have a home game beyond the first round should the top seeds stumble. He said he's not going through different scenarios about whether it's better to be No. 3 or 4 and any potential matchups, saying whoever they play in the playoffs is who they play.