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November 27, 2013 at 4:26 PM

What they said: Pete Carroll

Here’s most of what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had to say to the media today;

Opening statement: “Well really this is the day that we kind of took a little bit of time yesterday to talk but we want to kick it off with the thought this week is such a cool match up against such a fine football team. This is a team that obviously knows how to win through their history and with the leadership they have, Sean [Payton] and the quarterback and all that. But the way they’ve bounced back this year after last year is just obvious the impact the coaches have and it’s really cool to see that. So we see a really well-balanced football team in the Saints, they can strike you dead on offense, they have been playing very, very good defense, particularly against the throwing game, causing problems, and their special teams are stout and tough and physical. So this is a really exciting match up for us. It’s the kind of match up that brings out the best in you and it’s going to take all of that to match up on game day. So we’re really excited about it. It’s fun to be coming back, it’s fun to be Monday night at CenturyLink. I know our place will be all roused up and ready to go and we can’t wait to get there. So pretty cool stuff.”

On the offensive line being healthy: “Well I think perfect would’ve been the week after they got hurt, but we’ll take it when we get them here. It’s great to have the guys back. There’s a real spirit about those guys coming back. You know we went a long time without two tackles and some of them time without Max [Unger] too. So to have gotten to this point through that and then now to see these guys how excited they are to play and to be back in here helping their team is really fun to watch.”

On Percy Harvin’s physical condition being a day-to-day thing: “I do think that. Yeah I do think that we’re in a mode here where we’ve got to really manage him and take care of him as much as possible. So we’re going to keep looking for those opportunities until he really is just fully strong and has no impact in the game, the game that we just played. So we will go day-to-day with how we take care of him and he’ll be light today, but he’ll be out there. So yeah, that’s what we’re facing I think through probably the entire finish of the regular season.”

On the Beastquake run: “I thought if he would just cut to the right, straight arm, that he would have a chance. It was a great moment. I wasn’t any different than the fans on that one that just kind of marveled of what happened at the timing of it, the impact of the play on the game, and kind of the clarity that this is now a game that we got is what it felt like. If we can get close to scoring and then he makes the finish of the play when he gets into the end zone that was just an extraordinary moment on the football field. It was a great play; great run, great timing, and he couldn’t have not been more dramatic about it pulling it off. Very fortunate.”

On the Beastquake run being an example of the philosophy that he instills into his players: “I felt like the game before was part of that, the Rams game to finish the year because we had talked about that every week we played in the stadium, we needed to learn what it was going to be like so that we could take advantage of being at home because we might have a chance to win the championship at home and we wanted to feel comfortable in that setting. So the Rams game set that up. After the crazy year that the NFC West had, here we are playing for the division on the final week. So it was kind of like what we had hoped to have an opportunity to do and that took place and then it’s now we’re playing in the world championship next week. So it all fit together kind of trying to finish really well, that you always have a chance, you’re never out of it and all of those kind of things, there was a lot of lessons in there and messaging for us that didn’t I think coincide with trying to get the kind of the takeover of the new team and the culture and all that kind of in place.”

On similarities between Wilson and Brees in terms of stature: “We went all the way back to George Mira. So everybody that we could think of. Eddie LeBaron was in the conversation and Bobby Lane. We talked about everybody. All the guys that we thought were short guys that might have had careers that kind of crossed the boundary from what everybody was accepting. So my most significant connection was really talking with Coach Grant about Fran Tarkenton that was what we talked a couple of different times about that and I felt like he had the real sense of what  we might be getting into. So that was the clearest one. Yeah Drew [Brees] he’s always been in that conversation at the early part of that decision.”

On Wilson talking to Brees during the Pro Bowl last year: “Yeah well that doesn’t come to any surprise here that Russell [Wilson], he was drawn some information and he’s always thought that Drew [Brees] was a great football player and he’s always had great respect for him. So he looked forward to that opportunity; to find him and I’m sure that it was kind of puppy-dogged him around the hotel or something, to get his chance. But I know Drew [Brees] was really good to him. They had nice conversations and stuff and he felt like he really took some things away from that that have helped him.”

On stopping Jimmy Graham: “He’s a tremendous talent in that he’s a ball control catcher and he’s a down-the-field threat that causes problems. They use him in numerous ways. They move him all around, they shift him around, they use him inside and outside, he plays as a wide receiver and Drew [Brees] knows that he can throw the ball at him, with coverage all over him and he can still make plays and he’s really fast. He really is a fast guy as well. He’s like 6’6 and really fast and they totally know how to use his talents and Drew [Brees] understands it as well. That’s the most important part; he can get the ball to him. So we have to cover him in multiple ways. There’s a lot of things that we have to do to get that done. I’m not going to tell you at all, but it takes everything that we have to slow a guy down like this. You know 65 catches right now and 90 something targets, that’s a huge emphasis. So we know he’s crucial to their offense. So we’ll try to slow him down the best we can and keep him from controlling the game.”

On if a corner can cover Graham: “Well the New England guys did it. They matched up some with a corner on him and quite a bit in the game matter a fact and they played him pretty that day. So it can happen and it takes an unusual guy, [Aquib] Talib is a pretty special football player and he was able to match up and got it done.”

On if Graham is similar to Vernon Davis and Tony Gonzales: “Well it’s good that you mention both of those guys because those guys are different, but they have a range where you see [Vernon] Davis getting down the field and running routes as a wide receiver-type. Really, Tony [Gonzales] is way more in the intermediate areas. He works and gets his job done. So we see a combination of Jimmy [Graham] in that because he is a ball control-type of guy, but he is also a big play guy and they know that and they utilize him and you have to be on it the whole time because when you least expect it, he pops out and he’s trying to kill you downfield. So I think he’s kind of a combination of those guys.”

On Wilson’s contribution to the team: “Yeah it’s really hard to hit it just right because his impact and his influence in this football team has been widespread and this year compared to last year, he’s just grown and he’s just become more in command and more sure of himself and more able to utilize every aspect of the offense and he’ll continue to improve for the next couple of years and then he’ll be pretty much on it. But he has grown so much from year one to year two just in his confidence and command of what’s going on. He’s been able to speed the tempo of the game up and utilize his players better around him. I think he helps everyone play better. He’s a classic like a point guard in basketball that feeds the ball to everybody and makes them all effective and uses them at their strengths. He does all of that. Plus, he’s an incredible leader in everything that he stands for and represents in his work ethic and all. I mean you could just go on and on and on. I mean he just really is worthy of all of that. So he’s had a great impact and it’s a blast to watch him play and be a part of it.”

On if he has changed his approach when preparing for a game after a bye week: “Subtly. Subtly but we’re always trying to maximize the break time so the guys can get as strong as possible. We’ve always tried to do that. We’ve always tried to get better and that’s why the self-scout stuff is so important that we do. We try to analyze where we’ve been and what’s been happening, what’s been working, what needs work and that’s always been a huge focus and then you have to utilize that as you come back.  So yesterday was a really big day for us in teaching and the coaches went back to some stuff. Some old film and old examples of things that we needed to improve and we saw things that we wanted to eliminate, as well as add to. So all of that happens during the bye. Not as much now as in college, we would emphasize the young guys more. Now we did yesterday in practice. We would always use those couple days that you’d have in there to go back to the young guys; to try to get them brought up to speed as much as possible. The same thing, but we didn’t use as many days to do it because yesterday’s  practice was split right down the middle with the young guys and the older guys to make sure that everybody had plenty of work. That’s always been a thing. I don’t get to amplify that as much as I used to.”

On wishing to continue to play without the bye week: “We’re just feeling very good about where we’re going with guys coming back to health and all of that, but you don’t get that choice. So the other side of it is to see how we can maximize and take the most out of the break that we’ve had. Hopefully we’ve done that. You don’t know until you play and see where you are. Today is a really big day of practice for us to go out there and bang around and kind of get back to knocking heads and all of that. We’ll know more again today, but not until game time will we really know how well we’ll handle the bye.”

On if any players are limited in practice today: “No.”

On the players that were limited or out feeling better after the bye week: “There’s a lot guys that feel a little bit better. Guys that who had shoulders that were banged, ankles, and all kinds of joint issues and stuff like that. There are a lot of guys that feel better coming in. We looked very fast on the field yesterday, the kind of appearance when you have fresh legs. We’d like to carry that into the game if we can so we’ll try not to overwork this week. The Saints have a mini break in here too so they’ll be feeling pretty good as well. We don’t have that big of an advantage over this team than a team that otherwise wouldn’t have it. I think everybody just feels good, you can tell, there is an energy about it, they all feel a little bit better. They’re all excited about playing, maybe a little bit more so than before because they feel good.”

On Rob Ryan’s defense: “He’s very aggressive and it’s a multiple scheme. He has 3-4 personnel playing a 4-3 schemes, and sometimes it’s a 3-4 schemes. He does like to change his plan week to week so it’s a little bit harder to zero in on what he’s going to do, but it’s always aggressive and always tough. He gets his guys to play really hard so he does a really nice job.”

On Michael Robinson’s impact on the running game: “What Mike brings us is the expertise. He sees things very quickly and diagnoses really well. That’s to the advantage of Marshawn running the football behind him because so much of our running game is ran off of the fullback so Mike has to read the same thing that Marshawn reads, they have to do it cohesively, and Mike is really good at that. Derrick Coleman who will be back playing with us as well this week is gaining the experience that it takes to do that, but Mike just has a bunch of time with us. I think he makes it a little more accurate, a little more on point, more precise and he does help us.”

On if he studied Rob Ryan’s defense when he coached the Cowboys: “We certainly went back and looked at it.”

On similarities between the Cowboys’ defense and the Saints’ defense: “It’s a different team, but we certainly looked at it to try and see what we could see.”

On Greg Scruggs and Tharold Simon: “They’re practicing. They’re on the practice field right now and I think that’s a big accomplishment at this point just that they’re out there practicing. They won’t take a full load of work; they’re just getting back out there. This is just the first work and it takes a number of weeks to get them to full speed to practice. They’re not there yet.”

On what he looks for when drafting players: “There is a philosophical approach here in that we’re looking for the unique qualities, as you heard me say before, in a player, and then we try to amplify those unique qualities where if you try to fit that guy into a role that maybe doesn’t do that, he might not look as good. The classic example is Red Bryant. Red Bryant was playing tackle and nose tackle, and he was so long that it was hard for him to stay low and have good leverage all of the time and he wasn’t as effective as he is when we moved him outside. We made him a five technique and played end, now his length became an asset, and his 340 pounds was an asset. He could really stop anybody at the line of scrimmage. That’s an illustration of it. I would like to think I could go through almost every guy and talk like that because that’s how we’ve looked at our players. Whether you look at Russell, whether you look at Marshawn, or Bruce Irvin which was a pick that people challenged and asking why would you take that guy, or why would you take Earl Thomas who is a smaller safety when you love to have big guys, because he is such a freak competitor. We saw that in him and we wanted to get him on our team and make him an essential part of it. That’s a mindset that we utilize throughout. I don’t think you see us trying to stuff any square pigs in a round hole. We’re not doing that, and if we’re doing it we’re making a mistake. I think the reason that we do that is because one we like to champion the guy’s special qualities, but also we’re trying to make really good decisions on what a guy is capable of doing, and what he brings, and not trying to make him something that he isn’t.”

On Michael Bennett’s versatility: “Really Dan Quinn felt like he could be an inside and an outside player for us. He had coached him a little bit so he felt that and we were just going to see what would happen, just kind of throw him in and throw him at all of the different spots. Fortunately he’s been able to fit in everywhere. That’s a guy for us that I think is another example of it. When we spot him around to try to utilize his talents, he’s been really effective for us. It’s hard to figure out where he’s going to play, I don’t think our opponent’s know how we look at it, so we just keep moving him around.”

On Percy Harvin returning kickoffs: “We’ll see. It’s the plan and I’d like to see that happen. We’d like to get him out there.”

On if there is anything preventing Percy Harvin from playing Monday: “He just has to practice you know. We have to get him out there and practice him. No there’s no reason to say that right now.”

On Tharold Simon: “We haven’t learned that much honestly. He’s been around the program, he can learn the system and stuff, but he hasn’t had a chance to be on the practice field. Yesterday was his almost his first official time out there, and he was in a very limited fashion. He’s a great looking body out there and he’s just like we like them. Tall and long and all of that and he’s been very aggressive, we’ve watched a lot of film on him. The recollection from the little bit that we saw of him in the OTAs is that he looked like he fit the bill. That was in a couple of days of evaluation that was it. He’s an exciting prospect for us at this time when we need corners. It can be a really exciting addition for us, but he’s going to have to do a lot in a short amount of time here to get back.”

 

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