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Around the NFC West: Holmgren retrospective

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune sits down with Mike Holmgren to get the coach's reflections on his Seattle tenure. Holmgren says he had second thoughts about walking away after this season, but the organization had already made plans to name Jim Mora the next head coach. Holmgren on whether he tried to apply the brakes on his departure: "Well, I didn't slam on them; it was slight. I kinda floated an idea out there to see how everyone would feel about it."

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times puts together an oral history of Holmgren's tenure in Seattle. CEO Tod Leiweke: "Outside the owner, there's never been a guy who's had a greater impact on the franchise. ... Mike really gave life to the bricks and mortar. Shame on us if we can't continue what he's started and sustain the momentum."

Greg Bishop of the New York Times contrasts Holmgren the family man with Holmgren the coach.

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune revisits the 1998 Seahawks-Jets game, which helped speed Dennis Erickson's demise as coach, clearing the way for Holmgren. The Seahawks finished with an 8-8 record that season. They would have missed the playoffs even with a victory over the Jets in that memorable game featuring Vinny Testaverde's phantom touchdown.

Jose Romero of the Seattle Times says some Seahawks are auditioning for jobs under future head coach Mora.

Also from the Seattle Times: A Holmgren poster in PDF format.

Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch welcomes back Isaac Bruce as a member of the 49ers. He calls Bruce a "cherished friend" and says the return will be emotional.

Bill Coats of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams coach Jim Haslett has told players to enjoy the final two games of the season. Also, Bruce takes some responsibility for the Rams' current state.

Also from the Post-Dispatch: A look at the matchup between Rams running back Steven Jackson and 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis.

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives the Rams' offense the edge against the 49ers when running and passing.

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle profiles Jason Hill and Donald Strickland, the 49ers' native San Franciscans. As a kid, Hill wondered why Jerry Rice and other 49ers players didn't hang out in the neighborhood.

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says a loss to the Rams would damage Mike Singletary's efforts to remove the "interim" label from his title.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Bruce is among those who have benefited from the 49ers' quarterback change.

Also from Maiocco: Bruce still lives in St. Louis, adding significance to his return.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee provides a transcript from Mike Martz's recent question-and-answer session. Martz says crowd noise complicates coach-to-quarterback communication, particularly in Seattle.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, quoting Cardinals defensive end Antonio Smith, says the team lost its drive after winning the NFC West title.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says at least one Cardinals player -- Sean Morey -- loves to play in horrible conditions.

Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune looks at Cardinals rookies Tim Hightower and Calais Campbell.