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Holmgren on Wallace

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There are two mp3's on Sando's blog, taken from Monday's interview sessions, which Scruffy Lefty first noted in his diary, that I took a listen to this evening: one with Holmgren and one with Hasselbeck. Much of Holmgren's press conference, understandably, was on the topic of Seneca Wallace's new, at-least-three-week starting assigment at quarterback.

Holmgren does not seem unduly rattled by the sudden turn of events, which shouldn't be surprising. He's no Denny Green, after all. He's always very measured, and seems to stop himself from reacting to questions that appear to be on the brink of agonizing or taxing his patience. Even still, I was a little surprised to hear him trying to flash the zen, right before what might be the most foreboding few weeks in the Seahawks' last two seasons.

I'll just drop some heavy transcription here and let the man speak for himself:

I talked to (Seneca) today and I told him I wasn't gonna change dramatically what we do, and I expected him to play well.... It's what the second quarterback in the league's supposed to do.

I thought yesterday, all in all he did okay, given how the team was functioning around him. When given time he completed passes, he made a couple athletic plays that not everyone could make, and with very little practice on the field in preparation. So it is what it is. Everyone else will have to just crank it up a notch...

I think you probably have to guard against overloading (Seneca). It's a very fine line. At the same time I don't want to insult his abilities, or his preparation... I want him to be confident when he plays and feel good about stuff, the same way I want Matt to be... It doesn't matter how smart my coaches are. What matters is how the player can function and how we teach him... but I believe he'll handle most things pretty well.

I think (Seneca) passes the ball very well. I think when he has time to do normal stuff he does very well... He's got a good arm, a strong arm.

I've mentioned this before: He has a learning disability -- reading situation. He was willing to go into a school that helped him with that. That to me is a special thing... It probably was a little embarrassing and made it difficult to learn at times in the classroom -- the football classroom -- but he worked hard to improve his skills. I applaud him for that. I like him a lot, as you can imagine. Now he gets his chance, and we're all counting on him...

It's been my experience with athletes that learn differently, that sometimes you don't know -- they have learned over the years to compensate to get the job done. I've always told my coaches, get to know your players well enough... There's lots of ways to teach.

Every athlete reaches this point at some point in his career. This isn't the only chance he's gonna have. (But) he can't play the game by himself if our offensive line doesn't block for him -- they have to play well too. (The offensive line should) worry about (their) job, and how (they're) doing to allow us to function.

We'll get through this... It's very much a measure of what your team is really like, down at its core. When you have stuff like this happen, it will tell us a lot about who we are, when you miss a few of your real fine football players.

(Seneca) is really a fine quarterback. I've said that from the get-go... When I talked to the color guys, you know, on the broadcast... the one thing they tell me most often after watching our practices, is they had no idea he could pass the ball the way he passed the ball.

Quick perspective: If you take away Seneca's two interceptions, and the flailing fumble that led to a Viking defensive TD, he did look okay throwing the ball for a series towards the end.

The quarterbacks Holmgren has groomed -- Joe Montana, Steve Young, Brett Favre -- have always seemed to possess a great flair for cerebral game-calling. You always heard how intelligently Montana or Favre analyzed a game, what excellent managers they were. That's what he installs at his quarterback position, and I think Wallace has the capability to picture a game that way. (Third-stringer David Greene even has that very deductive way of thinking, if you've heard him interviewed. That one time.)

I also completely agree: One week of dedicated, full-time practice, with the knowledge that he'll be the man on Sunday, will probably result in an improved Seneca Wallace. I can't say that'll be enough to beat the Chiefs, but it could happen.

(Final side note: The Seahawks tried out former Buccaneer and Colts backup Shaun King for the third spot. We should know tomorrow if he's signed.)