Quick scribbles off the press conference and locker room, then I'll work on a news story and a column:
The big news is Nate Burleson's season-ending injury. Nobody thought it was that bad yesterday. It leaves the Hawks without the four top receivers heading into the season (Deion Branch, probably a week or two away; Bobby Engram, probably available after the bye week, and Ben Obomanu, broken collarbone, out for the season).
Holmgren had no immediate answers to the question of shoring up the receivers corps other than to say nothing will be overlooked. Seneca Wallace will "quite possibly" be more of an option, he said. Michael Bumpus is a logical choice, although adding another young receiver is not the complete answer for a situation that "is kinda drastic." Holmgren said he was going into a personnel meeting right after his press conference. Ideally, they'd like to find somebody with experience in this offense or a similar one. For those of you throwing out Koren Robinson's name already, I initially choked back laughter, but supposedly he's so well rehabilitated the league had him speak at the rookie symposium about how NOT to behave in the league. Still, doesn't seem a likely fit. Holmgren cited a time in Green Bay when he added free agent veteran Andre Rison. And don't forget the in-season addition of Jerry Rice in 2004.
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He said the personnel department keeps a "hot list" of available players at every position.
Mo Morris speculated he'd be out "a couple weeks." He initially thought his injury (a sprained knee) was just a bruise. Holmgren said Julius Jones will take over the bulk of the carries with T.J. Duckett being cycled in.
One of Holmgren's strongest statements was that he felt this "was as poor a game as my first game against Detroit (1999) in the Kingdome."
He said he was very surprised by assignment problems in the offensive line. He singled out Ray Willis as one player who did a nice job while filling in for injured Sean Locklear (who is probably still at least another week away from being back).
Will jobs be open for the taking? He said he thought it might be a little unfair to throw those open after just one game, but he stressed that players "haven't earned their spot for life … you have to earn it every week."
About the fake field goal that fooled the Hawks, Holmgren made a few statements about how the league has tried to discourage plays in which there's a degree of deception in substitution. He said that assistant Jim Mora, as a head coach at Atlanta, checked with the league about the legality of a similar play, and was told it would constitute unsportsmanlike conduct. So, he didn't say he thought the Bills were cheating, but that was left for the listener to infer if he wished. Still, "we have to be better than that."
Suspended players Rocky Bernard and Jordan Babineaux will be expected to resume their customary roles.
Lofa Tatupu will likely play with a soft cast over his injured thumb.
Receiver Logan Payne was one of many players to miss tackles on Bills returner Roscoe Parrish. I asked him when was the last time he saw regular-season game action on special teams and he speculated it was his first year in college. Most guys out there on NFL coverage teams were starters and stars in college, who were rarely asked to run down and make tackles. Rookie tight end John Carlson was another who missed a tackle on coverage.
Asked why Jeb Putzier (who had a couple drops and a weak effort going for a deep ball) was getting routes rather than Carlson, Holmgren said that Carlson had more snaps, but he thought Putzier was a guy who could catch the ball and he wanted to try him on some specific plays.
Matt Hasselbeck was excellent, as usual, assessing the team's situation. He said that players' families are as tough on them as are upset fans. The overwhelming emotion after such a defeat, he said, is "embarrassment." Yes, he said, losses are painful. But it's a little easier for players to get behind them because they're so quickly working on the plans for the next game.
Gotta transcribe now. Plan for the paper is a news story leading with the Burleson news, and a column based mostly on quotes from Holmgren and Hasselbeck about how they balance the reality that a loss in the opener is not fatal, but it certainly can feel like it at the time.