Hawks looking to spice up offense

  • SCOTT M. JOHNSON / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, September 27, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

By SCOTT M. JOHNSON

Herald Writer

KIRKLAND – Maybe the Seattle Seahawks’ offense seems kind of predictable, perhaps even a little boring. Soon enough, that will change.

Coach Mike Holmgren readily admits that he has taken a more conservative approach since six turnovers doomed the Seahawks in a Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins, combined with the fact that the last two opponents pride themselves on defense. Few deep pass patterns have been called, and the ones that have did not always turn out as planned.

Holmgren said two long pass plays called in a win over New Orleans two weeks ago weren’t run correctly, and four patterns designed to go deep last Sunday never panned out because of pressure on quarterback Jon Kitna.

That doesn’t mean the Seahawks have given up on long passes.

“We have a fair amount of stuff that we’re going to go long with,” Holmgren said Wednesday. “We have big plays. We have special plays. I have all sorts of little things on that (play) sheet of mine. Typically, as the game unfolds, that’s when I decide how to play the game.

“Against the Rams (in Week 2), we threw it a fair amount of times and moved the ball. It was that type of game. If all of a sudden a mistake takes place or we don’t handle something very well, then these plays that I had planned to call maybe I pull back as the game unfolds. And that’s really what has happened the last couple weeks.”

Holmgren’s conservatism has revolved around Kitna, who threw four interceptions in the season opener. Although Kitna seemed to bounce back in a 37-34 loss the next week, Holmgren has been careful not to throw caution to the wind.

As a result of the safe play-calling, Kitna’s passer rating – 18.3 after Week 1 – has been 84.1 over the past three weeks.

“For these last three games, we’ve just kind of calmed down on balls being thrown downfield because we want to get our rhythm back,” said Kitna, who now has an overall rating of 63.2. “We want to get our completion percentage up, we want to get first downs and keep our defense off the field right now.”

  • A Tongue of knowledge: Perhaps the most valuable player of the first half of Seattle’s practice week has been safety Reggie Tongue. The ex-Kansas City Chief, who signed with the Seahawks as a free agent last winter, has helped coaches and teammates just by knowing the tendencies of his former team.

    “If you get a free safety or safety, sometimes they know a lot,” Holmgren said. “You get a defensive tackle, he knows nothing except what happened in his little world right here.”

    Among the players who asked Tongue for advice was Kitna.

    “Jon asked me a couple questions about it, and I told him what I remembered,” Tongue said. “But they’ve changed it up a little bit. I really have to just focus on my game and keep it simple.

    “I know them and they know me, so they’re going to be trying me. Good, I hope they do.”

  • Mayes practices: For the first time in more than two weeks, wide receiver Derrick Mayes practiced with his teammates Wednesday.

    Mayes underwent an MRI on his ankle Monday, and was cleared to practice. The test showed no structural damage, and Holmgren said the injury actually appears to be lower in his foot. Mayes is listed as questionable for Monday’s game at Kansas City.

    Now that Mayes is back practicing, Holmgren hopes he can get back to being the player he was a year ago.

    “I don’t think Derrick prepared this offseason like he did the last offseason,” Holmgren said. “He would sit right here and tell you that he did, but I know he didn’t. As a result, injuries happen.”

  • New leg: New kicker Rian Lindell practiced with the Seahawks for the first time Wednesday, and he’ll get thrown into the fire on Monday Night Football. The game will mark Lindell’s official NFL debut after he spent the preseason kicking for the Dallas Cowboys.

    The Vancouver, Wash., native and former Washington State University kicker was glad to be back in the Pacific Northwest.

    “It’s a weird feeling,” Lindell said. “I’ve been watching them on TV forever, whether I wanted to or not. They’re always on the local channel, so I’ve been watching them forever. Now here I am putting on the helmet and the pads and everything, so it’s great.”

    On Tuesday, Lindell was signed to a free-agent contract after rookie Kris Heppner was released.

    “I was not happy with how we had been kicking the ball, and it wasn’t just one field goal,” Holmgren said Wednesday. “Unfortunately, that’s kind of a tough part about the business. Particularly in the area, it’s pretty cut and dried as to what that man’s role is. I didn’t see it getting any better and so we made the switch.”

  • Volunteer nominations needed: The NFL Community Quarterback Award is accepting applications for community and youth volunteers in each market throughout the league. Applicants must be above the age of 16 and are eligible to receive as much as $10,000 in grants.

    For an application, write the Seahawks’ Community Outreach Department at 11220 NE 53rd St. Kirkland, WA 98033.

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