In the past I've run quotations from Mike Nolan with some of my initial thoughts. Considering the circumstances of this weekend's 49ers-Seahawks matchup, I thought I'd also include some info from Mike Holmgren's conference call with reporters. The Seahawks offense has been decimated by injuries, which is something for which he certainly needs to adjust.
The Seahawks are missing several wide receivers (one betting site just says "multiple WR injuries) and Maurice Morris appears likely to be out this weekend. Also, StrictlyFootball informs me that starting right guard Rob Sims has been placed on injured reserve. For thos of us who are Oakland A's fans, this run of injuries certainly sounds familiar.
The Seahawks are at a point where they just need healthy bodies on the field. They signed WRs Samie Parker and Billy McMullen.
Holmgren on the two new receivers
It’s a tough task for any guy to come in and be expected to function pretty well on Sunday. Billy [McMullen] comes from the [Philadelphia] Eagles and most recently from Washington [Redskins] he has a leg up because of the terminology is somewhat similar. [With] Sammy [Parker] there’s a little bit more of a learning curve. Teams that have had to do this in the past, and I’ve had to do it a couple of times in the past, what you ask them to do, you just get them ready to do a few things and then hopefully they can do that.
On Seneca Wallace playing at wide receiver
He’s going to practice a little bit at wide receiver, which he did last week. I really didn’t stick him in the game last week. We have done that with him over the years and now it just intensifies just a little bit because [of] the real chance that he could play a little bit. Some of that will be determined by how fast [Willie] Parker and [Billy] McMullen can absorb things.
On committing to the run this week
I suppose on the surface you could probably think that way and then each game kind of unfolds in its own way. We have a really fine quarterback and we have young people who I think can play the wide receiver position, we’re just a little thin there. So, I think that any game that you go in offensively and say ‘you’re only going to do one thing offensively’ and try and do that, I think that you put everybody at a disadvantage. So we’re going to have our normal week of preparation then as the game unfolds, we have to kind of see how we’re going to handle it.
In the preseason interview I had with Scot McCloughan he mentioned the fact that no matter how good one facet of your offense is, if you force just that, most decent NFL defenses will eventually be able to stop you. The 49ers bring what I think is a better than average defense to the table. If they're able to tee off on Seattle's running game, it should conceivably be game, set and match. Mike Nolan addressed the issues of the Seattle offense and how the 49ers can gameplan accordingly.
Nolan on the wide receiver injuries and having to face some unknown quantities
That’s a great question for a couple of reasons. One is that obviously they’re working guys out and there are guys coming off the roster. They don’t have to finalize their roster until Saturday so they could actually have practice squad players that will, on that day, be elevated to the active roster. So it is very difficult to really know. And we won’t know until Saturday what their roster is made up of. Like I said, that’s a great question because we probably will not know until Saturday because of that…because they can practice anybody they want and not make any moves until then.
On the lack of Maurice Morris and the expectation of different looks
Their offense is very multiple already. They use all of their personnel groups, whether its . . . three wide receivers and a tight end, three wide receivers without a tight end and two back, they use them all. Mike Holmgren is outstanding at basically using all those personnel groups and keeping it very simple from a play standpoint what they run. At least it appears to me that if you’re a player that’s been in that offense long enough, you get pretty certain what you’re job is and what the plays will be.
Mike Nolan certainly has the coach speak down pretty well. I think he'd be foolish to not recognize the opportunity the Seahawks offense presents to the 49ers defense this weekend. No matter who the backups are, when a team is decimated by injuries the talent level clearly takes a hit. These guys are backups for a reason. At the same time, Nolan obviously can't say how weakened the Seahawks are. Doing so would probably motivate the Seahawks and might make it easier for a letdown by the 49ers.
I wanted to include one more quotation that dealt with Parys Haralson, that I thought was interesting.
On Parys Haralson getting an expanded role (he appeared in 19 plays according to Nolan)
[G]ame plan will determine some of that. Some of what he did too was because of freshness. People sometimes ask, ‘Why do you take those guys off and put those guys on?’ Well, the offense is doing it too. For one, you have got to match up. But, the other reason is, if it – it’s nice if a guy is tired and it’s 3rd down, you’d like to get him off and get a fresh guy on to go because obviously that offensive tackle is not coming off the field, and if you can apply a little more speed to the edge it happens. So, there’s – although a guy might be playing good, some of that is freshness.
What Nolan said certainly makes sense. Does this mean they want to turn Parys Haralson into mostly a pass-rush specialist? There's certainly nothing wrong with that as he provided a nice taste of things to come last weekend. You like versatility in a player, but if he can be a bad-ass pass rusher, I'm fine with him being in a limited role. Two sacks on 19 plays certainly seems like a decent ratio.
One last note, the NFL ruled Justin Smith got the entire sack on that play he split with Haralson. So Haralson dropped from 2.5 sacks to 2 sacks and Smith was bumped up from .5 to 1.