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October 14, 2013 at 8:35 PM

What they said: Pete Carroll

Here are highlights of what Pete Carroll had to say Monday:

(Opening…) “Well we are here to critique the game from yesterday and also talk about what’s coming up on Thursday a little bit. Alright, we got a couple of things to do here. First off, we felt fortunate to get that game yesterday. Played a good football team that was ready to get a win. They worked their tails off to get it. It took us a long time to get the game in control, but we did a lot of good things. We played real hard across the board. I thought we got better in some areas and it didn’t always look like that to you, but we’re making progress. And as we keep taking no these challenges, there’s opportunities to learn new stuff and to grow and all that and hopefully, we can continue to get better. We’re going to have to do that; to stand the challenges that we’re going to face. I thought we really improved in pass protection this game. The whole mechanism of it was clearly better than it’s been the last few weeks and I think that Max [Unger] had a big play in that, kind of as we had anticipated. I thought the quarterback’s play was exceptional. I thought that he did a great job of figuring it out, how to utilize the opportunities that were there and there’s always going to be some plays we’d like to get back. But I thought Russell [Wilson] did a really good job of kind of taking advantage of the protection and also taking advantage of his opportunities to run, which got things going. Marshawn [Lynch] played a big role, we got some passing game involved for him, which was great. Of course the big play. But just in general, I liked the way it looked, from the inside out. The big part of it that was a mess for us was the balls on the ground, a number of times and we counted up four fumbles in this game that we can’t accept in any way. So our attention to that issue will be as acute as we can make it and it’s such a big deal to us and how we play. When you look at it, now we’ve been turning the ball over couple of times in every game and that’s way too much for us. We got to get some games where we shut it out and don’t give them one and hopefully we can get that started soon. On the defensive side of the ball, was a fantastic game for our guys. They played great all day long. There was only a couple of plays that escaped us throughout…. The last drive was a nice two minute drive by [Ryan] Fitzpatrick and he did a nice job getting them down field. But, our guys didn’t let them into the end zone and really put together a great day of defense. We have a lot of respect for their run game and Chris Johnson and his ability to break plays and get out and score from anywhere and we contained him very well and it was really kind of an all-inclusive day, front to back. So good stuff happened. The special teams error that happened that was so egregious, that was a fluke and that should’ve never have happened. But, they took advantage of it and they did a nice job to score on the play out of nowhere. So I’m fired up about what’s going on, I’m ready to get going this week. This is a week that challenges us. You guys might not be ready to go into next week, but I am. It comes up quickly, for both teams of course and it’s you know, who can compete through this week and can get the most out of it and get prepared and be ready to go. Since last week, tailoring the reps that we’ve taken in preparation, knowing that we have these two games coming up, in short order, and we came out of this game with great rotation, we kept our numbers down on the players and hopefully we can take advantage of that and be a little bit healthier. Fortunately, (we) got out pretty healthy. Really Clem [Chris Clemons] is the new guy that’s in question. He hurt his elbow a little bit and we’ll find out how that goes during the week. But other than that, we want to be real strong for this weekend and so the plan is to get that accomplished and jump back into the division and get going here.”

(On Clemons MRI…) “Yeah, he has a little issue in there that they’re going to have to figure out if he can come back from… basically a tolerance deal and it’s going to be a challenge for him to get back in the short week. It really doesn’t work to his advantage and in a normal week, he’d have a better shot. But we don’t know. He’s very tough about handling stuff and coming back and so we’ll just see if he is able to endure it and get his strength back and play. We don’t know that right now.”

(On if surgery is needed…) “No.”

(On Bobby Wagner and if he’ll return this week…) “I don’t know that. Bobby [Wagner] is making progress that the trainers don’t even understand, for the kind of sprain he has. So I don’t know what he’s going to do. But he’s up, running around already, on an ankle that should’ve taken longer than that. So we’ll see what happens. If he could pull it off, you know, then we will. Don’t know.”

(On Zach Miller returning this week…) “Yeah he’s coming back to practice and there will be… really, we’ll take care of him this week. So he should make it all the way ‘til came time. Unless, there’s some issues that we can’t foresee. He was really close to playing this week and I think hopefully, it will work out so that he can have a full game participation. If he had played last weekend, we wouldn’t have played him. We would’ve kept him on the bench, in case of emergency. So this time, we’d like to get him out there ready to play and hopefully we can do that.”

(On the offense and what encouraged him on Sunday…) “There was a… we handled a lot of stuff that we went into this game plan, with adjustments and checks and things that we wanted to do and even though it didn’t really help us move the ball early, we handled things really well. We had a lot of things that we were checking in and out of and Russell [Wilson] and the guys up front did a very nice job of doing that. The opportunities that we were looking for didn’t show up. So we had to kind of adjust some things and the guys handled all of that really well and we were patient, in that we had to wait until things started to turn for us. In the second quarter, the guys got going and we did a nice job and I felt in general, the yardage and the time of possession and the movement in third downs, was little bit better. It just looked better. It looked cleaner and I think it looked like we’re making progress. So that’s what it felt like to me. I think that Michael Bowie played better. Again, Paul [McQuistan] had a nice game at his side. Those are still issues for us you know, those guys coming on and filling in and they have to get better because they’re still going to be there for a while. Breno [Giacomini] and Russell [Okung] aren’t coming back right away. So we hope to continue to grow there. I thought it looked better.”

(On Breno Giacomini and where he’s at…) “They’ve done some things, in the rehab, that have helped him. He had some fluid removed off of his knee. That really helped him and we’re hoping in that the next couple of weeks, he’ll be able to jump back. But, we can’t tell yet until he really responds to what just happened over the weekend. So we’ll see.”

(On facing a new Cardinals team on a short week…) “Yeah they’re a brand new team to us. Bruce [Arians] has got a whole new offense, there’s things that look similar but it’s not the same, and defense has changed totally, and a brand new quarterback and running backs and all kinds of stuff have changed. So we have to look at them all over again. We’ve had an eye on them, knowing that this was coming throughout the preseason and we know of the kind of offense and style that Bruce [Arians] has always been part of and his Pittsburgh roots are there and all that. So it’s not new to us, but we do have to put together… it’s not like we’re just carrying it over, same old same old. It’s not like that.”

(On Percy Harvin being eligible to come off PUP this week…) “Percy [Harvin] is… this is kind of a difficult week because again, it’s a short week. But he’ll be running and doing a lot of stuff this week and we won’t expect him to play this week and we’ll find out how far along he has come. Everything is going great and there have been really no setbacks now and he’s ahead of schedule in a number of areas. So we’re excited to see what happens. He ran real hard in pregame, I don’t know if you guys caught that. But, he was out there running at the stadium. It’s looking good, but I can’t tell you if that’s a month or three weeks. I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see. But it’s really cool that we have a chance to really bring him back now and see what you know…  He’ll still be in rehab and working this week, for the most part. But, he’s going to work really hard to get right.”

(On Harvin likely not coming off PUP this week with the logistics of a short week…)  “Yeah, in this week, because of the nature of the practices of this week, it really doesn’t lend itself. We’re not having very many opportunities to even go full speed. But he’ll have a rigorous week though; to see where he is for next week and see what that tells us.”

(On Tharold Simon being able to come back soon…) “He’s in great shape right now. He’s about ready to come back when we need him. I think he’s getting cleared, to the point we could bring him back. We’re not doing anything on that yet.”

(On being 5-1 with gaps or holes in each phase of the game…) “Gaps in holes? Well I’m not sure what you’re expecting here. But, we’re trying really hard to play really well, in all phases. And there’s other teams out there you know and they’re trying real hard too. They try to make you look bad, if they could. So I think we’re making good practice in that we’re putting week-to-week-to-week, with really good focus and concentration, which is really what this, is about right now. We have to keep coming back and play hard enough and tough enough and with the right preparation, to give us the chance to win and we’ve done that. Even the Colts game that got away, we did a lot of great things in that game and unfortunately, they out did us in the end. But, it’s nice to learn why you’re winning and I think that’s where we are and that’s what we’re hoping to continue until… I don’t know if we’ll be able to reach the levels that we saw late last year, where we were scoring points at a huge rate and all that. That was an enormous run that we had. But that’s good to expect that and I’d like to see that too. So if you got any thoughts about that, we could visit on the side here later. But we’re working on it. Each week has its unique challenge to it and we have to find our way to get through the games and here we go, back on the road again, for a couple of weeks and this is just how it is. These are challenges and difficult games and these guys got to have… the Arizona [Cardinals] needs this game as much as we do and so it will be a great match up and hopefully we could find the ways and continue to get better and continue to grow. I like the thought that we have some guys reentering the team and Zach [Miller] is a big deal to us. He’s been a significant player for us in so many ways and unique things that he does. We’ve asked Luke [Willson] to do some of that and Luke [Willson] has done well. But, he just keeps getting a little better, keep pecking away at it and see if we can put together a pretty good run here and keep going.”

(On the ball security being an issue…) “Just keep doing it better and I think that sometimes, these illustrations, the one where he (Sidney Rice) lunged and put the ball ahead and they hit it – which we never do – is a great reminder. Derrick [Coleman] got hit. The tackler got underneath him and got his helmet on the football, knocked the ball out. Something that’s another big deal to us and so it’s another good illustration that we fortunately survived. Marshawn [Lynch] got hit going backwards. Again, it’s a couple of times that’s happened. The unusual body position that he got in; to get knocked back and he is exposed and guys come – frontal – usually guys don’t get to the football on him. He’s very good on not allowing guys to get to the ball and those were unusual situations, both times, last couple of weeks. So they’re all unique learning opportunities and hopefully we’ll do better. Now the thing with [Chris] Maragos, that ain’t happening again. It ain’t happening. That one, I’ve already fixed. But we have to just keep addressing them. We showed them extraordinary ways that balls get knocked out every week and how guys protect it and there’s so many creative ways that it happens. You just have to keep at it and stay at it and it’s just a constant reminder. Fortunately, that didn’t lose the football game for us and it could have.”

(On the decision to kick the field goal at the end of the first half without Hauschka and with Jon Ryan filling in at kicker and Maragos at holder…)  “What did I go through? Well we had a discussion about the backup guys were ready to go, knowing that [Steven] Hauschka was in the locker room and they had worked at it and they were excited about the opportunity to pull it off. So we knew that and I wanted to go for the touchdown all the way through that sequence and all of a sudden, we were down there so close and we could’ve done it. And I just said, ‘Let’s see if they can get it done’ and it was a mistake. I shouldn’t have put them in that situation. I would really rather do that one all over again and take a shot at the end zone and not expose them to that opportunity and not so much that you think a touchdown is going to happen for the other guys, but just under the circumstances, I’d rather have not done it. So we have to be ready for that, in better fashion. We had a plan for it, the plan didn’t work for it, the plan didn’t work very well. At least, that’s what I thought. Maybe you guys thought it looked okay. But so… now you know… we’ll fix that.”

 (On Hauschka’s tackling form…) “He actually got down there and gave it a heck of a go. He got a concussion from getting hit in the chest, which was questionable at the time. I mean that one travelled all the way up his body. The bloody nose I don’t know how that happened either, but he took a very willing shot at it and the guys will appreciate that. We’re going to try to get him a little lower next time. Breaking the ankles, knees, and hips and take on the blow a little better.”

(On Brandon Browner being subbed out in first half…) “I just wanted to give him a break because I wanted to make sure that we got it clear to him what was going on, what was happening. They got up on top of him on two different plays there, and I just wanted to make sure he was clear. We have great guys to throw in the game to take care of business, and that’s what happened. I put him right back in there in the third quarter, and he started to play a nice second half, which was great. That’s just the coaches’ decision at the time. I would never expect him to be comfortable with that. I don’t want any of our guys to want to come out of the game. He wanted to get back in and he did a good job when he went in.”

(On the linebacker corps and how they did with Wagner out and shifting some positions…) “They did real well. Malcolm Smith jumps back to the WILL linebacker position where he’s played so much for us in the past, he had no problem at all. He had some really good plays, good coverage work and some real nice tackles. K.J. Wright ran the whole show. He did a great job of making the calls and the adjustments and all of that. He played a good solid game as well. He’s real comfortable inside, it’s not a big transition for K.J., he loves playing inside. We’re very fortunate to have the depth to be able to withstand that. It’s worked out fine for us, and I was really proud of those guys that they played so well with short notice.”

(On Browner and Thurmond pushing him at the CB position…) “He always has been. Byron Maxwell has been pushing too and Jeremy Lane when he gets back full speed he is too. We have tremendous depth and tremendous competition at these spots. We have not hesitated, and we have not faltered at all when are guys have come off the bench to play. We all know that, our players know that too, our guys are good. There’s no reason not to let those guys play. That’s just part of it, and they did a great job when they were called on.”

(On if Maxwell and Jeremy Lane were physically okay coming out of the game…) “Yes.”

(On Korey Toomer and Greg Scruggs…) “Scruggs is getting closer. He’s been working out a lot and I see him a lot working on getting back. He’s on the field a lot with the trainers and all of that so he’s making a bid for it. He has a chance to make it back this year. I don’t know if it’s going to be right away, but he’s done a great job in rehab. Korey is not in that level at all at this point.”

(On Larry Fitzgerald…) “I don’t think there is a player at his position that is better than Larry. I think he’s as good as you can get and he’s proven that. Guys can have years and have a couple of runs at it, but he’s done it for a long time with his competitiveness, his amazing skill, great body, terrific speed, route running, and just the come through way that he has about him. He’s as good as you get. When a team can really just ride a guy, they beat us a couple of years ago just going at him at the end of the game, and he just was the whole show. There aren’t many players that can do that, he’s one of those kinds of guys. So we have great respect for him. I was excited for him to get Carson Palmer and have a chance to play with a guy like that, and for Carson to have a guy like Larry too. They’re going to have a famous run in this time that they’re together, and it’ll be very hard to stop, but we have the ultimate respect in a guy like that. There are not very many players like him.”

(On whom the backup holder is heading forward…) “You’re going to have to wait and see that. I’m not going to divulge that right now.”

(On his understanding of how the NFL reconciles Thursday games…) “I think it’s a big event for the week I know that. The fact that the players have to come back is a great challenge for our guys to play that soon, but the other side of it is that they get a little break coming out of it so there’s a little give and take there. We’re going to take full advantage for the time after this game to get strong for the next week that comes up as well. this whole three week cycling here that makes you feel like we’re looking ahead is something that we have to manage really well so that we can max out all of the opportunities but also the game after that too. I think it’s a great challenge for the guys physically to ask them to do this, but it’s relative, both teams are the same. I don’t know if anyone is reconciling it for my good or what I care about. It’s a big event, our guys like playing on Thursday night, they’re excited about it, it’s exciting to be in that spot light, and it’s similar to the Monday Night feel, and the Sunday night feel. Those are great ball games for us to play in.”

(On how he views the potential for injury on a short week…) “You have to take care of them and you have to adjust what you’re doing. You can’t practice in the same manner that you normally do, you can’t expect them to recover if you did, and you have to adjust. Everyone does, I don’t know how everybody else does it, but we have a real strict plan that we spend a long time on to maximize the opportunity to return to health. They all get banged up, and we have to recover. They’ll be in the recovery phase all the way until Thursday. Hopefully we’ll do this really well, and the players will respond. One thing I am happy about is the number of plays that our guys played in this game this week. It worked out really well for us, and the rotation worked out well to give them the best chance to be as healthy as possible for this week.”

(On J.R. Sweezy’s progression from his very first start against Arizona…) “He’s progressed enormously since that game. I think he had 11 missed assignments in that game or something like that. He had a tough game, and Darnell Dockett is as challenging a guy you can go against, particularly when you never played before. He’s a lot further down the road now. it will be interesting to watch it. Hopefully we’ll block the right guys a little more than we did that time and give us a little better shot at it because they tore us up in that game.”

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