Seahawks believe they'll rebound
The Seahawks are hoping this season's misfortune is an aberration that they can set right in 2009 and return to the top of the NFC West.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Washington @ Seattle, 1:15 p.m., Ch. 13
RENTON — Teams do bounce back from bad seasons. Most of them, anyway.
The Seahawks feel they can rebound, and quickly. They feel they will be back to their winning ways next season, that the 2008 season, with all of its injuries and mistakes and shortcomings and disappointments, is an aberration.
"Sometime next year we get to start over and be 0-0," quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said. "There will be change and we know that, but we have to play the rest of this year out."
Change will come, for sure. There will be a new coach. Some players won't be back next season, some for free agency or salary-cap reasons, others because they didn't play up to expectations.
Mike Holmgren won't be back as coach, so he didn't want to comment on any offseason decisions. He maintains, however, that injuries to several key players are the biggest reason for the Seahawks' demise in 2008.
Forty-two players have started at least once, not including the kicker, punter and long snapper.
"My own feeling is, if we had not had the type of injuries this season, then our expectation level was high and there was no reason to think that we could not have a real good season," Holmgren said. "Take from that what you want."
The injuries have hit the offense more than the defense, which makes it difficult to make a case for why that side of the ball has struggled at times.
"I don't think any of us are real happy with the yards we're giving up and what's happening, particularly in pass defense," Holmgren said. "But those decisions are best made not now, when everyone's kind of upset and running around and doing stuff. That's why you have those really hard meetings in the offseason, and use the draft and use free agency to fix things you think need to be fixed."
The team has resigned itself to playing the spoiler role for the rest of this season. Players have said they won't quit, but they realized the postseason is out of reach moments after Sunday's loss to Arizona.
"It's definitely difficult but at the same time, it's reality," fullback Leonard Weaver said. "Reality check is, hey, we're not going, so now we have to still compete, still be disciplined and not give up and just continue to play. Because what you do from here on out is going to be a factor for next year at the beginning of the season."
Players said after the game that they will approach things week to week. Yet there's little doubt they feel that the memory of this season can be erased with a return to division dominance next season, which is where they expect to be.
"We've still got the same guys on the team that played a lot of good football games last year," cornerback Marcus Trufant said. "Next year, hopefully, we'll get it turned around."
From afar, former running back Shaun Alexander offered his view:
"Offensively, Mike has strategically put the pieces of the puzzle together, and I think it's hard to just take pieces out and put them in and think it's going to be the same," Alexander said. "Obviously the offense is seeing that now. Defensively, the boys still swarm. They play with attitude."
Alexander indicated that the loss of locker-room leaders like Robbie Tobeck, Steve Hutchinson, Mack Strong and himself might have had an impact on the team.
But Holmgren, in his comments after Sunday's game and on Monday, is steadfast that the Seahawks will rise again.
"There's not a question in my mind that the Seattle Seahawks will be competitive again in the battle for the same goals next year," Holmgren said Sunday.
Though he won't be around for that battle, Holmgren says the organization is still strong.
"I know the people," he said. "I've been part of this organization, an integral part of it. I know the coaches very well. I know how we operate and what they want to do, what their goals are, how they're driven. It should work."
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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