Here’s the full transcript from Holmgren’s press conference.
Opening statement: "Well, after viewing the film, I don’t know if I feel worse than I did yesterday afternoon. It was hard to envision that, but we just didn’t play very well.
"Defensively, we missed some tackles. I’ll state the obvious: we missed some tackles. Big plays hurt us, and that’s something we’ve worked hard on. A couple years ago, that was our Achilles heel. Last year, we did a much better job of eliminating big plays in games, and yesterday, it got us again. We coach to it, we talk about it. We just have to try and do a better job of enforcing it, I suppose. But that hurt us yesterday. We couldn’t stop the run. I think when you go against that team, or the team we’re going to play this coming week, there are certain teams that that’s where you start. Otherwise, it gets to be too hard, and we impressed upon them that point. But they did a great job and they pounded us.
"Offensively, we had a couple of drives in the game but really couldn’t sustain anything. We got out of the game plan relatively early because we were behind rather quickly. That’s a bad formula for us right now. We don’t have the weapons, necessarily, to kind of go toe-to-toe and have a big, big scoring game, typically. So, the combination was a bad one, unfortunately.
"I talked to the team today and we’re going to do what we do and continue to try and get them thinking properly, get them believing in themselves again. I think the important thing here, the really important thing, is that they know that I still have confidence in them—which I do—and they must have confidence in each other and their ability to still get this thing done. So that’s what we’re going to be coaching on and working on all week."
On how quickly he was forced to stray from his initial offensive game plan: "I think it was 17-3 rather quickly, if I remember correctly. And then…if you get a couple stops…you get a sense that maybe you don’t have to [stray from the plan]. It’s still early, it’s still in the first half. But then…All their drives in the first half ended in points, and then they scored at the beginning of the second half. It was just difficult to stop them. I still want to win the game. Until you reach a point where you say, ‘Okay, I don’t have enough time to win the game,’ and then you alter your thinking, I’m still attempting to win the game and kind of get back into it. Right now, that’s not a great formula for us."
On what happened to Deion Branch: "Branch has a bruised heel. That’s my understanding. It’s a pain issue. That’s not a little thing for a guy who does what he does and relies on his quickness. He’s the one that’s most problematic, I think, of the whole group. Matt [Hasselbeck] came out of it okay. They took some pictures of his leg, and he did get it tweaked in the game but he’s going to be okay."
On whether the bruised heel is relatively good news: "It could’ve been worse. The options I was given last evening…Yeah, in fact, it’s probably the best news I could hear, to be honest. I can’t tell you when he’s going to be back to play, but it could’ve been a lot worse."
On how Branch’s knee held up during the game: "You know what? In all this that we’ve been thinking about, I haven’t even thought about his knee. So I think it held up fine."
On why the defense seems to be struggling: "Big plays. People have caught us sometimes when we blitzed. We’ve been in single coverage and we haven’t handled that very well. They got three yesterday, 21 points. That’s one thing.
“The second thing is that I’m not that excited about our pass rush particularly right now. I think we had some one-on-one situations yesterday, which is what you count on, and we didn’t get them.
“Third, I think in our blitz package, we have to be more precise. We have some nice blitzes in, but we didn’t execute them properly. We kind of ran into each other and had two guys over here and left a gap over here. Those types of things.
“In meeting with the defensive staff today, we’ve identified the problems, hopefully, and we’re going to condense some things, hopefully become good at a fewer number of things, but at least execute them correctly. I think the thing is to instill some confidence in the players. It’s the same group. That’s how my approach is going to be with them. It’s the same group we had last year, pretty much. And we played good defensive football last year, so there is hope. But yesterday we didn’t play very well, for whatever reason. You scratch your head about it, but I’m not losing faith in them. I’m a little ticked off that we didn’t play better, but you just keep going. You keep plugging away. We’re going to practice hard this week. We’ll have good practices. We’ll see if we can get a win here."
On whether there will be any changes to the lineup this week: "There’s a couple things that we talked about this morning and I’m not ready to tell those right now. But there was a list of five things that I went over with all the coaches. It started with personnel, scheme, play-selection, leadership…There was a number of things I wanted everyone to talk about and think about and see if they’re in practice plans…So that’s what we banged around today. We’ll bang it around a little bit again tomorrow and then we’ll go after it again on Wednesday. Part of it was personnel, so there might be some changes."
On Patrick Kerney looking like the only player who’s rushing the pass: "That’s one of the things. Honestly, the bar is very high for Patrick. I expect more from Patrick as well. There’s no one left out of this deal. You’re expected to do certain things. Let’s get it done."
On several players saying that they wouldn’t let their poor play divide the team: "It’s interesting when you talk to players, and I appreciate the sentiment. But who’s being divided? You know what I mean? Offense, defense? Old guys, young guys? Any kind of division you want to come up with. That’s not what this group is, really. Coaches and players. We’re all in this…We’ve been in it together from the beginning, we’ll be in it together during the season, we’ll be in it together at the end, whatever happens. That’s the good part of this particular group. They get that. The captains, who are the leaders of the team, they get all that. Some of these guys have been playing football a long time, and a lot of the coaches have been coaching a long time. And we’ve been through tough stretches before. I’m not going to let anything fragment the group, that’s for sure. That’s not the way to do it."
On whether he feels like he can’t give off the impression that he’s unsettled about the season: "Absolutely. I think they watch how I respond. That’s part of being the head coach, I think. And so, I might feel some things deep down inside that would never come to the surface, hopefully. But at the same time, you must be honest with the team. You must be honest with the players. I would hope, if you asked the guys today how I felt about yesterday’s game, they would say I didn’t feel too great, didn’t seem to like it. But at the same time, it’s a long season. We’ve played four games. You play sixteen games. There’s a lot of football left."
On whether Kelly Jennings is okay: "I think he is. In fact, I bumped into the doctor who administers the tests to him this morning and he said he thought he’d be fine."
On whether it seemed like the Giants targeted Josh Wilson after Jennings left the game: "I think they were kind of picking on both of them, if you look at the number of balls. It makes sense, because you got [Marcus] Trufant on the other side and Marcus is having a very good year. A very, very good year. He’s one of the players that is really doing everything he can to help us. Those guys are going to get a lot of action, Kelly and Josh. So it’s a challenge. They have to be up to the task, hopefully."
On whether he’s noticed that there have been more penalties in the secondary this year: "That’s a very astute observation, because I was thinking about that this morning myself. We have had more holding and interference calls than we’ve had in the past. They’re aggressive. That was one of the things I talked about with the defensive staff today: ‘Let’s not allow them to do that at practice and get lazy, grab jerseys, things like that.’ You expect a certain amount of leeway during the game, but we’ve been having too many. Right now, we have too many. More than we’ve ever had in four games."
On what he thinks he could’ve done differently yesterday: "I always look at balance between run and pass, but we could not get anything going. In a perfect world, I planned to try and run the ball more yesterday and take some of the pressure off. There’s a couple red zone calls that maybe I got a little conservative down there early on. Most often, when I call the game, a lot of it has to do with protection, and they hit Matt early and you had the knee banged up. So I may have pulled in just a little bit. I was thinking about that, second-guessing myself on that."
On why John Carlson wasn’t as involved yesterday as he has been: "Not intentionally. The fact that he was not involved, that’s a schematic error on the offensive staff, [myself] included. He’s got to be involved, he’s a good player. He’s got to get his touches."
On how he’ll judge offensive progress now: "A huge emphasis has to be on continuing to get better running the football. It appears as though that’s going to have to be a big part of success this year. We ran it decently yesterday. Decently, in spots. Again, the game changed, so it didn’t work. I’m going to reach a point here where we just kind of have to not worry about it so much and just call the game. Talk about receivers and stuff, and pretty soon you get handcuffed because you got a brand new guy out there at X, and you got this guy over here, and maybe you don’t have enough speed over there, wherever it is, because they’re new and learning, or you’re not confident because they’re new. It becomes hard. Sometimes you have to just go and let the quarterback make good decisions. I suspect our thrust will be in trying to run the ball better."
On whether running the ball more on offense puts more pressure on the defense: "Yeah. That’s essentially what I told the whole staff today. If we play the game this way, it has to be this type of game. You can look all around the league on certain teams, and I won’t name the teams, but you can look at it. They win 17-10. 16-14. That’s kind of how they play the game. We have never been that type of team, and it’s not the football typically that I embrace, necessarily, but if you have that type of defense, you can do that. You must kick the ball well, and play good special teams, that’s part of it too. But that’s the thing we got to fix. Coming in, I had very, very high expectations—and I still do—for this group. I still do. So, when do we start here? When do we get it going? When do we play the way we think we’re capable of playing? It’s got to be pretty soon."
On whether there are some teams that pose big problems for Seattle’s defense: "I’ve thought that. We banged that around a little bit this morning, too. I think that big power-pounding running teams,—New York, heck, got a lot of yards rushing, they have a 260-pound halfback—they’ve given us some problems. If we’re going to have a problem stopping the run, those are the type of teams that give us some problems because we’re not the biggest group in the world. But we’ve also had some success against teams, had good defensive games against teams that could do that. But when it really has been kind of bad, those are the types of teams that have given us problems."
On whether that would cause him to be more reliant on the blitz: "No. The blitzing thing is more of a pass-defense thought. The rushing defense is a little different animal."
On whether the Giants offensive line was really good: "You have to give the Giants credit. Heck, they’re good. But we’ve played them before, and we’ve played the NFL East before, teams that have a reputation for being physical teams and all that kind of stuff. We’ve played those teams. So, you give them credit, but I’m more concerned with how our own team played, and no, I don’t like it. We missed tackles, our angles weren’t great. You put that against a good football team, and you get what happened yesterday: you get hit right in the mouth."
On whether a win against Green Bay would sustain morale: "It would go a long way towards making everyone feel a little bit better, but to sustain it, you got to sustain it. It can’t be one game. I thought we played a very fine football game against the Rams. Fundamentally, regardless of the record of the team, we played better football. That’s how we want to play. When we do that, I’ll take my licks. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But at least we played good, we played our game. We are this team. It reminded me so much of when we played the Bears in 2006. We went back there and they just kicked us around. And then we played them again in the playoffs and it was a much better football game. We lost the game, but it was a close game. We had our chances. So you have two very different games. Same teams playing in the same place. We played our game. We played football. And yesterday, unfortunately, it wasn’t very good."
On Jim Zorn’s success in Washington: "He’s remarkable. One, they had a good team and Jim brings in a nice enthusiasm, maybe a little refreshing something to get them to do what they’re doing. That’s one thing…I just chatted with Jim last week. His management there, they’re really supporting him. They’re helping him. And that’s a good thing. His players are responding to him. He’s winning close games. I’m very happy for him. He’s a good guy."
On whether he sees this as being essentially the exact opposite of last season, when he said he wanted to abandon the running game and start passing more: "You have to think about it, anyway. I’m not super excited about doing it that way. I wasn’t last year, but I mean, you have to do what you have to do. We have to score more points. We have to score points. And the best way to do that, our preparation is a certain way now. As any game unfolds, then you’re making adjustments as the game’s going on. It depends on your defense, field position, all sorts of stuff, who’s hot. And so I’m not ready to say—last year was rather dramatic. I’d had it. So, we were going to do it a certain way. I’m not there yet, for different reasons. We weren’t that injured, it just wasn’t happening for us, running the ball. A little different situation this year."
On how Koren Robinson and Maurice Morris are doing: "I would suspect Mo will be ready to go. According to our trainers, everybody’s okay. What level of okay, we’ll find out on Wednesday."
On whether Matt Hasselbeck will miss any practice: "I don’t know. I wouldn’t think so."
On how much of a relief it is that Hasselbeck is okay: "Anytime he’s laying there and grabbing his leg…That was big. You lose someone that important to you, it’s almost impossible to really achieve your goals."
On what happened on the hit to Hasselbeck: "First of all, the player who did it is a wonderful player. [Justin] Tuck’s a great player. We could’ve done a much better job of pass protection. We kind of whiffed a little bit early. They had a little game going inside, so we’re as much to blame as anybody. The kid was just trying to make an effort and he got blocked a little bit. The problem was that Matt got hit from both sides, it was one of those. If it had just been one, I think it would’ve been okay, but he got it kind of like that [makes hand motion]. I’m just glad he’s okay."
On uncharacteristically going onto the field to check on Hasselbeck when he went down: "I was in a zone. Did I go out there? Well, you know, he never tells me the truth, so I figured I better go out there and find out what’s going on."
On whether he thought the hit affected Hasselbeck’s playing the rest of the game: "He would tell you no. And he probably would tell me no. I think it did, a little bit. There was some decision-making there that was uncharacteristic. He’s human, heck. I’m saying that, evaluating what the quarterback did on film. I’m sure he would tell you no, it didn’t affect him."
On how Sean Locklear did: "He did okay. Okay. We all have to step it up, but Sean did okay for the first game back."