Holmgren unhappy with Trufant's play
KIRKLAND, Wash. - When talented cornerback Marcus Trufant didn't play up to the level Mike Holmgren expected in the Seattle Seahawks' opener at Jacksonville, the coach was quick to call an audible.
In fact, he was extremely audible, inviting Trufant, the Seahawks' first-round draft choice in 2003, into his office.
"I expected more from him," Holmgren said Wednesday. "We had a nice visit. I think the world of him. I think he is a really good player. I set the bar very high for him. My expectation level for him is high. Any time he falls short of that, fair or not fair, I want to talk to him about it."
Trufant gave up a 30-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to Jaguars veteran wideout Jimmy Smith in Seattle's opener, a 26-14 loss.
Trufant and the Seahawks rebounded in the second game of the season with a 21-18 win over Atlanta last weekend in Seattle. Holmgren said Trufant was noticeably improved.
"He's a great player," added Andre Dyson, Trufant's new cornerback partner. "He has everything you want as a corner. That's why he was drafted in the first round."
Trufant and the Seahawks figure to face their toughest test of the season Sunday, when they face the Arizona Cardinals -- featuring the receiving tandem of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.
Although the Cardinals are winless, the 6-foot-3 Fitzgerald and the 6-1 Bolden are off to good starts this season, with Fitzgerald making 17 catches for 225 yards and one touchdown in two games, and Boldin 12 receptions for 181 yards.
"They're big, they're fast, they're good," Holmgren said. "It's a great challenge."
Trufant and Dyson will try to keep Fitzgerald and Boldin from catching passes from veteran quarterback Kurt Warner, who has completed an impressive 56 of 82 passes for 591 yards with his new team. Warner has one touchdown pass, with two interceptions.
The defending NFC West champion Seahawks and the division rival Cardinals split two games last season, with the two Arizona receivers each catching a pair of TD passes in the games.
"I think it just comes down to them being great players," Trufant said. "They can run fast, they can jump high and they can catch the ball. They're special guys."
The Seahawks think Trufant, a local product, is special, too. From Washington State by way of Tacoma, he had a strong rookie season in 2003, when he led the team with 20 passes defensed, which tied him for second in the NFC.
Hampered by an injured right shoulder, Trufant plateaued last season, but still managed to lead the team in tackles with 93 and tie for second with five interceptions.
He had shoulder surgery right after both his rookie season and his second year with the Seahawks.
Trufant said his surgeries took a toll because he missed a lot of minicamps and practice time during the offseason the past two years.
"It held me back, but in the game of football I think probably 90 percent of the people who are playing are playing hurt," he said. "You've got to be able to play through it and you've got to be able to play regardless."
He doesn't think success means a lot of interceptions. He has seven interceptions in his first 34 NFL games, all starts.
"Speaking for myself, as long as you play good and don't give up a lot of deep balls, I think you're doing your job," he said. "Interceptions come with it. Everybody wants interceptions, but you don't have to get interceptions to be good."
After starting cornerback Ken Lucas left the Seahawks during the offseason and signed with Carolina as a free agent, Seattle signed Dyson as a free agent. The Seahawks moved Trufant from left cornerback to right cornerback.
"It's a move that he's handled very well," Holmgren said. "He's a good enough player to do that."
Dyson, a five-year veteran who played his first four seasons in Tennessee, said he's still getting to know Trufant.
"I think we're learning from each other," he said. "Sooner or later, I think we'll start feeding off each other as we get more with each other."
Re: Holmgren unhappy with Trufant's play
I wouldn't say unhappy, I would say that he thinks that Tru can do better. He has been playing on the wrong side this year, he switched in order to accomodate Dyson and Herndon, and it is commonly believed that is affecting his play a little. I am not making excuses for him, because he is a big boy and he doesn't need excuses made for him. He should be playing in top form, no matter which side he is playing on. I was just saying that maybe it (the switch) has gotten into his head. It is also a common conjecture that he has been affected by the scheme that Rhodes runs...where he has the corners back up 10 yards off the ball to give the receivers a huge cushion. Again, JMHO.