Holmgren hoping to solve defensive woes

  • SCOTT M. JOHNSON / Herald Writer
  • Monday, October 16, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

By SCOTT M. JOHNSON

Herald Writer

KIRKLAND – After giving up 219 yards to Indianapolis running back Edgerrin James and preparing to face the ninth-ranked Oakland Raiders rushing offense this week, the Seattle Seahawks run defense is getting back to basics.

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said technique is the most obvious missing link in a run defense that ranks 26th in the NFL after seven games.

“Technically, we played a very average game,” Holmgren said of Sunday’s 37-24 loss to the Colts. “Effort was good, that was a positive. Guys were trying. But if you’re going to be responsible for a gap, that’s your responsibility. Too many times, that was not covered precisely the way it was supposed to. That’s not scheme. That’s just not getting it done.”

Uncharacteristically, Holmgren spent Monday morning watching the defensive game film with his assistants. Holmgren, an offensive specialist, was trying to get a feel for what has been going wrong on a defense that ranks 29th overall in the NFL this season.

Holmgren and his staff found some technical things that could be improved upon, but generally the poor play seems baffling. When asked if it was a personnel problem, Holmgren defended his players.

“It’s the players we have, so we play with those guys,” Holmgren said. “Are they good enough to get it done? I believe they are. But we have got to be right in what we do. … There’s not a lot of wiggle room right now because we are not that deep.”

Holmgren went on to defend defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, whose age came into question during the Monday press conference. Holmgren did not want to point a finger solely at Kennedy because of the defensive deficiencies – especially up the middle – but he did drop five words that said a lot.

“He’s played a long time,” Holmgren said, referring to the 31-year-old Kennedy.

  • Circling the drain: After three consecutive losses, the Seahawks hope to duplicate a feat that has happened only four times in NFL history. That is, bounce back from a 2-5 start and make the playoffs.

    The most recent team to rebound from 2-5 and go on to the postseason was the 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars, who made it all the way to the AFC championship game that year.

    Also turning around their fortunes were the 1995 Detroit Lions (10-6), the 1990 New Orleans Saints (8-8) and the 1965 Dallas Cowboys (7-7). The 1970 Cincinnati Bengals rebounded from a 1-6 start, winning their final seven games to qualify for the playoffs.

    “Right now, we’ve just got to win a game,” Holmgren said. “We really can’t think any farther than the Raider game. The numerical stuff, I’ll leave it to (the media).”

  • No comparison: Don’t ask Seahawks cornerback Shawn Springs about comparisons with the Raiders’ Charles Woodson. He wants none of it this week.

    “Neither one of us is doing (expletive) right now,” Springs said. “So I don’t get all into that. I never got into that Charles Woodson-Shawn Springs thing. If you’re going to compare me to someone, compare me to someone who’s won some Super Bowls. Not like he’s not a good player, but compare me to the Deions or the Ronnie Lotts. And I think he probably feels the same way.

    “We’re not really against each other. We kind of feel like we’re in the same battle: trying to stop the receivers in the NFL.”

  • Quick slants: Holmgren said he doesn’t expect any lineup changes this week, and that Kerry Joseph will probably make his second consecutive start at strong safety. The health of quarterback Brock Huard and tight end Christian Fauria (groin) may dictate whether Holmgren sticks with the same lineup on back-to-back weeks for the first time since Sept. 17 &24. … Defensive end Matt LaBounty rejoined the team Monday after missing the past three games due to a family emergency. … Wide receiver Derrick Mayes is expected to resume practicing this week despite having the middle finger on his left hand in a splint. … The Seahawks rank in the NFL’s top 10 in only one non-special teams category, ranking seventh in rushing yards-per-carry (4.5). … The only team with fewer wins than the Seahawks over its past 13 games is the Cleveland Browns (two). Seattle, Cincinnati, Chicago and San Francisco are 3-10 during that span.
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