With the team signing Na’Shan Goddard, it did not address the team’s backup center need. Mike Holmgren said during his press conference that Manny Wrotto is the backup center for now. A follow-up question was not asked about whether Wrotto snapping to Hasselbeck was a concern.
Holmgren said the Plaxico Burress situation offers him the chance to address his players — again — about doing the right thing. One thing he said that is pretty sobering is that he said a few years ago the coaches had to start collecting guns from players during training camp. He said that even though athletes might be targets, they should have the sense to not put themselves in the situation where they might have to defend themselves.
Holmgren said he revisited a familiar theme with his players and told them to have fun in these last four games. He said it is very important to him that the players finish strong. “No one pack your car up and have your motor running,” is how he put it.
Regarding Deion Branch, who was acquired from the Patriots for a first-round pick, Holmgren said he did not really envision Branch being a No. 1 in the same vein as a Randy Moss or Terrell Owens even though they gave up the high draft pick for him. Beyond Branch’s smaller stature, he said that in his offense, the ball is spread around more and so Branch would not be the type of guy who gets 90-100 receptions. Injuries have obviously limited him so the jury is still out on whether he can become the player they wanted him to be. He said the not obvious but hard thing about injuries is that a player who has never been injured before, and suddenly is injured regularly, doesn’t really know how to deal with it. That is some of what Branch is going through.
Holmgren said they are likely to blitz Cassel more this week. He said the Steelers are a team that doesn’t necessarily need to blitz, but the Seahawks have not proven they can get to the QB with a four-man rush. It obviously puts more pressure on the corners, but that is something they have to live with.
I asked Holmgren if anybody else besides Marcus Trufant deserves Pro Bowl consideration. He said Walter Jones and John Carlson and Olindo Mare — but he understands that with their record not everybody is going to get honored.
Mo Morris will start at RB this week, with Julius and T.J. Duckett “sprinked in.”