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December 24, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Pete Carroll: “It’s a championship game for us”

Here’s what Seattle coach Pete Carroll  had to say to the media today:

Opening statement: “First off, happy holidays to everybody, merry Christmas and I appreciate you coming in Christmas Eve with us. I just wanted to say I thought that we’ve had a really exciting season and we’re coming down to the last week of the regular season in the NFL is always exciting and it’s no different to me. So many things are flying on line and all that for playoffs and all that kind of stuff, but it’s been a really cool year with our fans and at the stadium and all that kind of stuff and we all kind of want to say thanks, as we wrap it up. It’s a big ball game, obviously it’s a championship game for us as we know and everybody is pumped up about it. These guys understand what’s at stake and what’s going on and we’re going to put together a great week and enjoy Christmas. We can do it all and hope everybody else can too and just have a huge showing on game day and we’ll play well and do the things that we want to do. We’re playing a really good football team. These guys are tough our division is ridiculously tough as we know. The Rams have just continued to improve, defensively they have been on fire lately, the pas sis rush is as tough as you could want to go against, their run defense is on it, they’re committed to the running and the hard-nose style that Jeff [Fisher] stands for and it just makes for a fantastic match up. We’ve always have had tough games with these guys and they’ve been tough on everybody in the division and nothing should be different about this one. So we’ll all get revved up for it and have a great finish to this regular season, see if we can get our championship won. It’ll be fun to try for it. So what’s up? Merry Christmas.”

On how disappointing it has been to have opportunities to clinch the division and not fulfilling that accomplishment: “Well at the time it was but as soon as it’s over, it’s over. So we keep playing. So it truly has been about the next game coming up and here it is. We would’ve played this game to the hill, no matter what had happened before. So we’re going to try and do it again. We’re not a team that’s going to go ahead and sit down and take a knee and just hopefully just get through the game. We don’t do that. So the fact that there’s something at stake, legitimately, is good for us and we’ll try to make the most of it. Everybody would’ve liked to have gotten there earlier, but I don’t know if that would’ve been what’s best for us. So we’ll find out as we go through this and see how this thing prepares us for what’s coming up in the play offs.”

On what problems did the Cardinals present on Sunday: “They rushed us well. They really played us like they’ve been playing now. They’re very aggressive at the line of scrimmage, they rushed us effectively,. They were able to keep us off track in the running game, we had a few penalties that hurt us and set us back and not getting started well and it just wound up being a real tough football game. On offense, they ran the ball extremely well. If you remember, that was one of the games that kind of really stands out, ‘Why do we give up so many rushing yard?’ Well they did a nice job and [Zac] Stacy did a nice job to kind of getting it going as a starter and it was effective and it showed really the team that they were going to become. So hopefully we’re going to play better and we’re going to be able to control it better than we did. We certainly don’t want the same game to show up for them.”

On what makes Robert Quinn good: “It starts with his speed, he’s really fast, he’s a tremendous athlete, he’s got great flexibility, terrific quickness. He’s got the body of a skilled athlete, of a defensive back-type athlete at 260 pounds and can roar around the edge. He’s a rare athlete for this position. This is the kind of guy, exactly what you’re looking for in the Leo position. He’s got that speed, he’s got the athleticism. He can do whatever you need him to do.”

On what convinces him that the running game is going the way that he wants it to: “When you make a lot of yards. Yeah. When you’re being really good, it’s all working. You’re asking me all of those things… that’s what’s happened and when you’re effective. I think you’re asking me more of what we have to do get effective? Maybe, maybe not. The commitment to it is really important and then we just stay with it and keep pounding and get Marshawn [Lynch] his carries. We got to make sure he gets his reps. To do that, sometimes it counts on other aspects of your game and then converting on third downs so that you get enough plays. We had 50 plays or something. 52 plays, that’s not enough. So we’re trying to get real good tempo at the line of scrimmage, come running off of the football, land marking well, finishing down field with all aspects. That’s the tight ends and the wide receivers; everybody is there available to make the most of the plays. We know that 24 is going to hit it, we’re not too concerned about that part of it. He’s been as consistent as you could hope for. So just being more consistent and precise on all aspects gets you what you want.

On what dictates whether he uses a fullback or not: “That’s just the game plan. We mix it up; take advantage of different opportunities and situations. I’m going to be really vague with this answer, but it has to do with mixing the game for them, making them have to defend different aspects of our run style and our passing game.”

On where he draws the line when the running game is not working: “Well it doesn’t have to necessarily do with how many yards you’re making, it’s the effect that you’re having in making first downs. If we’re making first downs with the throwing game off of it and we’re converting on third down, it’s a matter of just setting the style that we want to play at; keeping a balanced attack. We don’t want to get where we’re just throwing the football. So we have fallen into that very many times and we don’t want to. By design, we’re going to keep hammering away until the run play goes and sometimes you don’t make a lot of yards, but you’re still being effective and that’s in mixing to get the pass game where you want it.”

On what has lead Russell Wilson to stay calm under pressure: “Yeah I think it’s that and self-confidence, his ability to focus on stuff to get things changed and done right and all that. I think that’s something that’s part of his makeup and his characteristics.”

On if he has any doubts on how Russell Wilson prepares for a game after a loss:  “No. I have no doubt that he’ll be on it. He’s been studying already; he’s deep into the plan, getting ready for it. He really does as diligent a job of preparing as you can do. So hopefully everything works out right, but he’ll do his part.”

On if he will make a decision on what to do with Percy Harvin: “I wasn’t hinting at that. Yeah that may happen.”

On Brandon Browner’s suspension: “Well I’m glad you didn’t because we generally can’t comment about it and we don’t. So what I’ve always thought of that situation that arises, we’re disappointed. We’re disappointed for the guy and we’re disappointed for what we had in motion, whenever you lose a guy and then also we feel for him. I mentioned about having the compassion that comes out because the guy is missing out on being a part of something that he loves and for whatever reason. So we really care for these guys and our players, they’re very close. So when Richard Sherman looks across and BB [Brandon Browner] is not there, it means something to him. Those guys have kind of grown up together as Seahawks. So we’re disappointed and then we’re also very compassionate for those guys.”

On why the Seahawks have not been effective on converting third downs: “Wasn’t necessarily this week about the yardage. We’re two for four coming out of the chutes and then we didn’t have any for the rest of the game. We think we’re on it. We’re really paying strict attention to it, just kind of like you are and its hugely important. This is really a big aspect for us being successful in our games. You guys dig into that and you’ll see that when we convert, we’re fine and when we don’t, it’s difficult on us and that’s pretty much everybody involved. Unless you’re explosive plays are overcoming in a real influential way, but that’s a big issue. When you’re a balanced football team and you want to run the football and we’re on schedule, meaning that we’re in third and fives and sixes at least, we need to covert there. Otherwise it can get bogged down. It has a couple of times.”

On the differences between on the Rams’ front seven and the Cardinals’ front seven: “There’s a lot of similarities. The nature of the defensive coordinators are very similar. They’re all aggressive and they’re all tough and they’re going to deal with their pass rush and there’s highlighted players on every team. Their coaches are putting them in position to do good things, things that they are well-equipped at. So this is why the division is what it is. We’re similar too. All four teams can all bring it on defense and I think that’s why the reputation around the league has gone up so much is really what’s going on consistently with the defensive play

On if he believes that Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey are in a better position to face the Rams’ front seven compared to their last match up: “Yeah. Certainly there. Michael Bowie played very well last week at right guard. He did a great job for us coming in. I think we thought it was eight starts, I don’t know if that’s right, it was eight starts he had earlier in the year and when you add them up, those are just beneficial and it makes him so much more valuable to us then the guy who sat out all that time and just trying to break in at these crucial, finishing games. So we’re in pretty good shape, depth-wise, in that regard and those guys, we have no hesitation with them going into the game.”

On if there’s been an issue with transitioning Michael Bowie to guard: “It didn’t seem to be at all. Tom [Cable] was real confident that it wouldn’t be a problem for him and he was right. He really had no problem at all.”

On Russell Okung’s injury status: “He was in walkthrough today. He hadn’t gone to practice yet, but he got to the walkthrough today. So that’s a good sign. He’s going to be a little bit sore no matter what, but he should be ready to go.”

On Golden Tate’s injury status: “Yeah he’s okay. He’s going today. He’s fine.”

On if there are any players that will be limited in practice today: “He’s got an ankle that’s bothering him a little bit. He’ll be slow today; Richard Sherman will be slow today. Just been wear and tear and those guys should bounce back by Thursday I hope. Who else? Derrick Coleman has got a little bit of a banged shoulder and some things like that.”

On Zach Miller’s injury status: “He’s fine.”

On Jeremy Lane’s injury status: “He’s fine.”

On why he had a schedule change: “The reason why we were confident in doing this is that we did it earlier, I think it was the Saints game, Saints week that we split between Wednesday and Thursday and it worked out really well. This is a really good day, physiologically, for these guys to rest. Wednesday is a good day for these guys to rest according to our brain trust. Because it was successful for us before, we thought it would be a good thing we could honor the holidays well Make sure we do that right.”

On if he has made any calls to the league about the official rulings made in the Cardinals game: “Yeah we’re sending some calls in. It was really unfortunate the last interception call. That’s one that I’m anxious to hear to what they say to that when they look at it again. There are some calls in there as always. It’s normal.”

On if he’s has received any calls back from the league about the calls: “No not yet.”

On KJ Wright’s surgery: “He’s doing well. He’s on schedule, if not ahead. He’s in the boot still, but he’s moving around okay and they’re real encouraged that he’s going to have a chance to be back as fast as somebody could get back from this surgery.”



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