Arizona coach Dennis Green scoffed at the notion, laughs thundering from his belly through the telephone line, when someone suggested he had Mike Holmgren's number. "No," Green said. "Hell...
KIRKLAND — Arizona coach Dennis Green scoffed at the notion, laughs thundering from his belly through the telephone line, when someone suggested he had Mike Holmgren’s number.
“No,” Green said. “Hell no. Not at all.”
For all those years, they coached against each other. Green with the Minnesota Vikings. Holmgren with the Green Bay Packers. Now, as coaches of division rivals, the rivalry continues. And in 15 meetings spread over all those years, Green is 10-5 against Holmgren, including 1-0 this season.
Instead of gloating, though, Green turned into a Holmgren advocate when asked about his longtime rival’s job security.
“I’ve got one word for you,” Green said. “(Pittsburgh coach Bill) Cowher. If you look at Pittsburgh, they don’t win every year. They win most of the years. This is a phenomenal year, (and) that year comes because of continuity.
“The system is designed that nobody wins every year. That’s the way the commissioner wanted it. It’s not good for the coaches. They don’t like it. I just think you’ve got one of the best coaches in the game by far, but no one is going to win every single year.”
Changing of the guard
The last time the Seahawks played the Cardinals, in a 25-17 loss on Oct. 24, running back Shaun Alexander carried 12 times for a meager 65 yards. The day after, Holmgren announced he was simplifying his offense, and Alexander responded with three amazing weeks — 195 yards against Carolina, 160 against San Francisco and 176 against St. Louis.
Since then, Alexander has cooled off as defenses have keyed to stop him. But he wants to show the Cardinals what they missed last game.
“We ran the ball well last time; we just didn’t do it enough,” Alexander said. “I’m not second-guessing what we did last time. We’ve just got to do it better.”
Each week, Holmgren sends to the NFL officials, on average, six to eight plays from the Seahawks’ past game in which he didn’t agree with the officials’ ruling. Quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn writes the explanations because he’s kinder than Holmgren would be.
The league usually responds with explanations or apologies, which Holmgren said he can use as teaching tools. Some teams send in as many as 25 plays from a game, he said.
“What’s the point?” someone asked Holmgren.
“Not a lot this year,” Holmgren said. “Sorry, I’m a little discouraged with it, to be honest with you.”
Smith still going
Every time Emmitt Smith plays against the Seahawks, he seems to break another Walter Payton rushing record.
Playing for Dallas against the Seahawks in October 2002, Smith passed Payton to become the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. Playing for the Cardinals against the Seahawks this season, Smith gained 106 yards, good for his 78th career 100-yard rushing game, passing Payton’s career mark.
Smith has been hobbled at times by a sprained toe this season, but Green said this week that Smith’s durability is what makes all these marks possible.
“His mental toughness,” Green said. “With all those yards, he had to be hurt a lot, but yet he played some very good football.”
* The Seahawks added WR Darrell Jackson (hamstring) to their injury report yesterday and downgraded LB Tracy White (hamstring) to out. Jackson will likely start Sunday.
DT Rocky Bernard practiced in a limited role wearing a knee brace, but he is still questionable. So is Chad Brown (foot), who has not practiced this week.
The best news, though, came from QB Matt Hasselbeck (elbow), who practiced with the first team and threw for the first time this week.
Greg Bishop: 206-464-3191 or firstname.lastname@example.org