A pair of embarrassing losses. Six injuries at one position, including one during pregame warmups. Their first 0-2 start in six years.
SEATTLE — A pair of embarrassing losses. Six injuries at one position — including one during pregame warmups. Their first 0-2 start in six years.
This is how the Seahawks are sending out their coach, getting him angry by mid-September? Imagine what they'd do to a guy they didn't like.
"I'm more ticked off than discouraged," Mike Holmgren said.
Last week, he ripped into his offensive linemen. They responded with better play. Then the defense got shredded and the special teams failed again.
He's upset that his four-time defending NFC West champions, reloaded for a last push at a Super Bowl title in Holmgren's 10th and final season in Seattle, are already two games out of the division lead.
The Seahawks talked of how their goal was to win more road games so they could get home-field advantage in the postseason; that was their path in 2005 to their only Super Bowl. But they opened at Buffalo with a 34-10 loss.
Now, after a 33-30 home loss in overtime to San Francisco, they seemingly need to go at least 9-5 just to make the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season. Good luck on that, with a schedule that includes the Giants, Packers, Eagles, Cowboys, Patriots and the Jets.
So much for a smooth start to Holmgren's farewell season.
"Somewhere deep in your mind it's there, that you want to send him out the right way," safety Brian Russell said. "But that's big, big, big picture. I've got to do my job as free safety to help our team get a win."
So sentimentality for Holmgren has already yielded to self-preservation.
"This is going to be an interesting year. That much has already been proven to me," Holmgren said.
It was already going to be an unusual season. The Seahawks picked a coach-in-layaway, Jim Mora, and gave him a known start date of 2009 — while he serves as Holmgren's assistant.
It's turned into a nightmarish start.
There's several injuries at wide receiver: Deion Branch. Bobby Engram. Nate Burleson. Ben Obomanu. Logan Payne.
Seattle even tried backup quarterback Seneca Wallace at receiver last week and featured him in the game plan. Then Wallace pulled his calf running routes during pregame drills. He's wearing a walking boot, out for a month, saying it felt like he got shot by someone in the stands.
On Tuesday, Seattle brought back former No. 1 pick Koren Robinson, whom it had cut in 2005 after repeated problems with alcohol, and agreed to trade a late-round draft choice to Denver for Keary Colbert.
Some of the Seahawks are reminding folks that the Giants were 0-2 last season before winning the Super Bowl.
But the NFC West remains the weakest division, so a wild-card berth — the Giants' way into the playoffs last season — is unlikely for Seattle. And the Giants weren't holding open tryouts for starting receivers. New York had Plaxico Burress. Seattle's top guy last week was Billy McMullen, signed last week off his couch in Richmond, Va., to play his first game since 2006.
And even though he's played only nine games since 2006, after being reinstated from a one-year league suspension, Robinson is listed as No. 1 on the depth chart for Sunday's game against also-winless St. Louis.
Holmgren thought Hasselbeck, a three-time Pro Bowler, would lead his teammates through this mess to stay atop the division. But the career 61 percent passer entering this season is connecting on just 45.5 percent now. He's jokingly apologizing to fantasy leaguers who "own" him, telling them to "bench me for a little while."
He doesn't know who his receivers are or where they may be on any play.
It got so bad, Holmgren had the receivers just run a 3-yard stop and out routes in the second half, so they wouldn't have to read coverages and guess wrong with Hasselbeck.
Thing is, if the situation at wide receiver was the only problem, Seattle would be fine in the West.
"But the receivers have nothing to do with a blocked punt. Not one single thing," Holmgren said. "The receivers don't have anything to do with a ball thrown deep down the middle."
The defense was supposed to be the bedrock. Yet 11 returning starters, including four Pro Bowlers, have allowed unproven quarterback Trent Edwards of Buffalo and journeyman J.T. O'Sullivan of San Francisco to lead their teams to 67 points.
Turnovers on special teams, Hasselbeck's interceptions and bad punting — after Ryan Plackemeier was waived his replacement, Jon Ryan, shanked two punts and had one blocked Sunday — have contributed to those points allowed. Yet Pro Bowl linebacker Lofa Tatupu puts it all on the defense, calling it "embarrassing."
Before a needed bye week, the Rams visit Sunday. But Seattle thought the 49ers were its cure-all, after beating them twice by a combined 47-3 last season. Then O'Sullivan had San Francisco's first 300-yard passing day in four years.