Holmgren the GM moves to the background

  • Scott M. Johnson / Pro Football Report
  • Thursday, November 9, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

The national theme this week was indecision at the top, and things were no different at Seattle Seahawks headquarters in Kirkland.

Mike Holmgren is still in charge here, but for the first time in his tenure with the Seahawks, the job titles seemingly got crossed. In the process, Holmgren admittedly lost touch with his longest-standing title: that of a human being.

In a rare moment of second-guessing earlier this week, Holmgren offered that “the human side … drifted away from me just a little bit” when dealing with his young quarterbacks.

So Holmgren sat down with his quarterbacks and explained what he’s thinking, asking for input from the players in return. Two days later, he sat down with the media and tried to reel in the ongoing thoughts of the future.

Holmgren, the general manager, has put away his blueprints so Holmgren, the coach, can get back to what he does best.

In an odd week of waffling, an emotional Holmgren started by admitting publicly that he would “address” the quarterback position in the offseason. In the next few hours, he had a meeting with his current quarterbacks and came out of it with the realization that they were off balance and confused about the future.

Something in that meeting touched Holmgren’s human side, and he came away with a different attitude. By Wednesday, the future was no longer Holmgren’s immediate priority.

All of a sudden, Holmgren was warning the media not to count out his current quarterbacks from the big picture. He was talking about running the table and making the playoffs. (Hey, if a deceased senator can take Missouri … ) There was a different theme to his message, filled with more coachspeak.

For seven more games, it seems the GM is fading out of public view in favor of the coach.

For the fans and media, that’s frustrating. We want to know where all this is going, what the future holds for the Seattle Seahawks.

For Holmgren, however, there is no choice but to deal with the present. Even if Jon Kitna doesn’t fit into the big picture, Holmgren has to make sure he’s ready for Sunday’s game. Even if some of the older players might be gone by 2001, Holmgren has to give them his undivided attention in 2000. He owes the team that much. It’s part of the human element.

Amazingly, the Seahawks still seem to be giving their all each and every Sunday. Some are playing for jobs, others just for the so-called love of the game. So how must it sound when Holmgren starts talking about the future? About finding a quarterback in the offseason? About replacing the old with the new?

Don’t get us wrong here. The “It’s NOW time” banners will remain stored away at the team’s Kirkland practice complex. And Holmgren still admits that his goal is to get this franchise to a Super Bowl at some point.

But he’s not ready to give up on this group yet.

After all, they haven’t given up on him.

  • Kickoff: 10 a.m. Sunday at Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.

  • TV/Radio: CBS (Channel 7), KIRO radio (710 AM).

  • Stars to watch: Seahawks – RB Ricky Watters is seventh in the AFC in rushing, with 714 yards. Although he has been taken out of the starting lineup, rookie WR Darrell Jackson still seems to find a way to make the clutch catch when the Seahawks need it. LB Anthony Simmons has had at least seven tackles in seven of the past eight games, and he has intercepted a pass two weeks in a row. In the past four weeks, FS Jay Bellamy has two interceptions, a sack and a forced fumble.

    Jaguars – QB Mark Brunell is a two-dimensional threat who can run and pass, plus he has two of the AFC’s best receivers in Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell. RB Fred Taylor missed the first three weeks with a knee injury, but he’s got 478 rushing yards through six games. LB Kevin Hardy, a Pro Bowler last season, leads the Jags with 88 tackles but is still looking for his first sack.

  • Breaking down the game: Possibly the two most disappointing teams in the NFL, Seattle and Jacksonville have followed up division titles with horrific starts.

    Jacksonville’s problems have revolved around injuries, and this week is no different. Starting MLB Hardy Nickerson and OT Leon Searcy are out, while OLB Lonnie Marts is hobbled.

    But one of Jacksonville’s main offensive weapons, RB Fred Taylor, is back and playing well. Plus, the Jags have two of the AFC’s top receivers and an emerging tight end. If the banged-up offensive line can hold its own, this should be one of the most consistent offenses in the league.

    That’s not good news for a Seattle defense that gave up 398 yards to San Diego last week, the highest total the Chargers have posted in 15 games. The Seahawks’ offense hasn’t done much better recently, but the loss of Nickerson may work to its favor.

    Perhaps Jags DT Gary Walker put it best when he told the Orlando Sentinel: “They are a team that has a lot of superstars and hasn’t had as many key injuries as we have.”

    Look for Taylor to have a big day against Seattle’s struggling run defense, while the East Coast woes continue.

  • Pick: Jaguars, 27-10.

  • Injury report: Seahawks – QB Brock Huard (concussion) and WR Sean Dawkins (quadriceps) are questionable. Jaguars – LB Hardy Nickerson (knee) and T Leon Searcy (leg) are out; LB Lonnie Marts (groin), RB Shyrone Stith (knee) and DE Renaldo Wynn (knee) are questionable; CB Aaron Beasley (back), LB Brant Boyer (groin), DE Joel Smeenge (calf), WR Jimmy Smith (hamstring) and DT Gary Walker (hamstring) are probable.

  • Little-known fact: Jacksonville has only lost once when coming off a bye week, but it was to the 1995 Seahawks.

  • St. Louis (7-2) at New York Giants (7-2), 1:15 p.m. Sunday: A matchup of the NFL’s best offense (St. Louis) and the NFC’s No. 3 defense (New York) won’t have all its weapons. The Rams will be without Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk, while the Giants’ pass defense might be without cornerback Jason Sehorn. Trent Green and Justin Watson might be enough to get it done. Pick: Rams, 26-10.

  • New York Jets (6-3) at Indianapolis (6-3), 5:35 p.m. Sunday: Anyone who questioned the NFL’s parity need look no further than last week’s Chicago win over the Colts. Any given Sunday, indeed. Considering Indianapolis hasn’t lost back-to-back games since 1998, we’ll take the Colts to rebound. Pick: Colts, 34-27.

  • Oakland (8-1) at Denver (5-4), 6 p.m. Monday: The last time the Raiders won nine games in a single season (1994), Sebastian Janikowski was a member of the Polish under-17 soccer team. Since then, he’s never seen a close division battle. This week, he could be watching from the sideline while the Raiders’ hopes for No. 9 get delayed. Pick: Broncos, 28-20.
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