By SCOTT M. JOHNSON
KIRKLAND – Trying to put a title on the game films of this season has been like opening a can of worms. “Scary Movie” perhaps? Or how about “Lost Souls?”
Then there are even worse – however, fitting – titles for this Seattle Seahawks’ season, like “Gone In 60 Seconds,” “Loser,” and maybe even “Coyote Ugly.”
Yet within the walls of the Seahawks’ practice facility, the Y2K motto has been “Keeping the Faith.”
How else can you describe the widespread optimism of a team that has won just three of its past 15 games (including a loss to Miami in last season’s playoffs)? The Arizona Cardinals won six games in that span, and they fired their coach Monday. The Cincinnati Bengals have won four of their last 15 games, and they also canned the signal caller.
So how is it that coach Mike Holmgren has kept these Seahawks from questioning the man up top?
“It’s pretty easy to keep guys in your corner when you’re the one with the Super Bowl ring on your finger,” quarterback Jon Kitna said Monday. “We know he knows how to get there, and we know he has a plan. We just have to stick with it.”
Holmgren’s Seahawks have been among the worst teams in football over the past 11 months. Only Seattle, the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears have lost 12 of their past 15 games. It’s been a spiral downward that has some outsiders wondering whether or not Holmgren still has a magic touch.
“I’m sorry they don’t see it the way I do, but someone has to make the decision, and that’s what I was hired to do,” Holmgren said Monday when asked about growing criticism because of a 2-6 start. “Most of what I talk to you about is construed, I think, by the fans and public as a potential excuse. And that’s not what I’m doing. I’m just trying to explain why we do and why we have done what we did.
“I just didn’t think there was any other way to go about this,” he added, referring to the decision to build with youth. “I felt after last season, either you continue to put Band-Aids on the thing and be 8-8 all the time; or you kind of really prune the tree, really do something – and maybe take a step backward – but in the long run, two, three, four years from now, then you really have something. You’ve got a chance to go. And so we made the decision. People are entitled to their opinion, certainly.”
Starting left guard Pete Kendall also left the game after getting hit in the head in the fourth quarter, but he was fine by the time the final whistle blew.
“They examined him and I was standing right there right after the game, and he was clearly OK,” Holmgren told a group of about 20 media members Monday. “One of the tests they do is: ‘OK, start at 100, subtract seven and keep going down.’ Now, if I asked you to do that real fast, there’s not a lot of people in this room who could whip that out – and you’re fine. He’d just went right through it.”
Holmgren added that Kendall will practice this week.
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