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January 29, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Pete Carroll: ‘Not everybody is the same’

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll took questions from the media for about 20 minutes today, prior to the team’s practice.

Here’s the official transcript of what he had to say:

(on if Marshawn Lynch set a bad precedent for other players by cutting his media day availability short) “No, you know we have obligations that we try to fulfill the best we can. I don’t know how we can look at this any other way – not everybody is the same. In our program we understand that, to a point that we made the statement that we celebrate the individuality and the uniqueness of our guys. I think that we would like to comply and do everything that we can to the best of our abilities, but we are who we are. The other side of this is I don’t know how we could give you anymore of some of our guys. You know Richard Sherman should get a little bit of credit here for covering for everybody here. On this football team, and all teams, there are people that are more available than others, because they’re comfortable with that, and they feel good about that. So, I think that’s what we’re talking about right here. We would love to help you out as much as possible and we’ll do everything we can to do that.”

(on if he is concerned that the Seattle players who have served drug suspensions, combined with Richard Sherman’s postgame comments following the NFC Championship Game, will cause his team to develop a bad reputation) “No, I’m really not concerned with that. I think anybody has an opportunity to say what they want to say about what’s happened in the past. I think we’re a young team that’s learning how to work with the guidelines and all of that. I think if you look back on the individuals that were involved in the PEDs and all of that kind of stuff, there’s a spread of guys from years ago and the numbers kind of add up. But I’m not concerned about where it’s going; I’m not concerned about the message. We would like to do right and get better, so we’re trying to improve and learn from everything that comes along.”

(on what he believed Percy Harvin’s presence on the field could do to defenses when the Seahawks decided to target him over the offseason) “Well, he’s a terrific football player, with the dynamics of the tremendous speed that he has, the intensity that he brings when the ball’s in his hands – how he carries it, he runs like a running back – he’s unusually aggressive and he’s such a versatile athlete, that you have a lot of opportunities to do different things with him. So, it causes a defense to have to be on guard for him running with the football, him catching and running, and also the tremendous speed he has to get downfield deep. So, he’s rare in that aspect that he has all of those dimensions going for him. We knew it from recruiting him, we knew it from playing against him, we knew it from watching him and then we were thrilled to have the chance to put him on our team. We haven’t had the opportunity to demonstrate how that’s going to all work out and fit with our club yet, to any extent, but this will be an opportunity, in this game, to get him involved. We said the whole time, there was never a thought to build a football team around one guy; we’ve never said that and never thought that way. We just want to add him to the mix and see how that contributes to the rest of the guys, and I think he should be able to contribute in a good way.”

(on the relationship between offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable) “It’s a great relationship. Tom is the assistant head coach and speaks to the offense regularly – Darrell does as well – Darrell calls the plays, and the two of them work together with the entire staff to organize our plan each week. We’ve developed, really, a tremendous harmony on that side of the ball. Everybody trying to contribute the best that they have to offer to the effort, and those guys do a great job. Game day, they talk regularly about what’s going on, the adjustments and the adaptations, and that’s all I could ask for. They really fit together well, and they really complement each other very well.”

(on if he assembled his coaching staff using the same philosophy that he used to assemble the team, with the goal that everyone would work well together) “Yeah, I’d be all messed up if I didn’t keep it the same. We look for people that are uniquely qualified. We have an array of guys from (different) age groups and experiences, a number of guys have been with me in the past, particularly the SC (University of Southern California) guys, but (wide receivers coach) Kippy Brown comes back to us from some history. It’s a really well rounded group that brings a lot of expertise and they’ve joined together to really share the mission that we’re after, and how we want to do it, and they’re tremendous spokesmen for what we believe in and all of that. It’s a great group and we’re very fortunate to have the guys.”

(on whether he has had any recent conversations with suspended CB Brandon Browner and how he has tried to address the PED suspensions with the team) “Let me say that first, no, I have not talked to Brandon. Hopefully he’s following along closely, and I’m sure his teammates are staying very close to him. We have set in motion, from a ways back, the education that needs to be expressed about the issues about substances and the rules that the league governs, that we follow. We’ve had team meetings, we’ve had speakers, we’ve had seminars, we’ve had one-on-ones, we’ve done everything that we think we can do, but honestly, not until this offseason did I think that our young team really joined together. I guess it was last spring, matter of fact, it was an issue with Bruce Irvin that came up, and when that came to light, and the way Bruce addressed it and handled it with us and our football team, it set us in a new mode, in a new mentality. I found that we were a very young team, with young minds, and guys that needed to formulate the plan, how it all fits together, and the best way we could do that is to gather the power that they represent us – everybody represents the Seahawks. In that process of talking through that, and working through that with the coaches and the players, we really came together with a really simple thought, that we’re ‘Seahawks Twenty Four-Seven.’ We realized – let me go back – we realized that we had a tremendous commitment to what we were doing on the field, and that we needed to embrace that we needed that commitment to extend off the field as well, in all areas. Like any team comes together on different issues, this was an issue, and I think Bruce was a great starter to the new mentality that we’ve developed, about taking care of business, about always representing, about having a conscious that never leaves us, whether we’re on the field, off the field, in-season, or out of season. It really set in motion ‘Seahawks Twenty Four-Seven’ and leave no doubt that we’re all together. Even with that, when we’ve had anybody who has strayed, or had an issue, or whatever, it came to the point where we really felt compassion for the guys that couldn’t hang with us in the commitment that we made. So, I think it’s become very strong from inside-out, from inside right in the middle of the locker room on out, and I think that we’re on a really good path. I think it’s a good illustration of what it takes to get everybody committed and everybody on the same page, and I think the commitment to our football and the commitment to the Seahawks is pretty clear right now.”

(on what he likes about the way the Seattle secondary plays and how he feels about accusations that they get away with bending the rules when it comes to pass interference and holding) “The play of our secondary has really been a process of developing each individual guy and bringing them together with the strengths that they bring. It’s the same exact process that I’ve always done and carried out. I’ve been a secondary guy all my life, playing it and coaching it, and I don’t think that the style of our play is any different than it’s ever been. I think it’s been heralded because we’ve assembled a great group of guys that have rallied together, grown up together and made each other better. So, now as a group, they’re really a solid group. The style of play has always been about playing at the line of scrimmage and affecting the receivers right from the get-go, and that’s our bump-and-run stuff that we do and I’ve been coaching this way, exactly the same way, since I was at North Carolina State, however many years ago that was. So nothing has changed, and our expectations and our standards haven’t. The style that we play has gained notoriety because of the physical nature of the players. Going back to Brandon (Browner), when he played, and when Sherm (Richard Sherman) emerged on the scene, those guys had to work their way up. They worked their way in through the program and became somewhat of – or I guess they received the recognition for their style. When you add Kam (Chancellor) to that, who’s a monster back there making his plays and making his hits, and also the effective play that Earl (Thomas) brings that’s extraordinary from the free safety spot, it’s just a really all-encompassing group. As far as the rules, we don’t want to break any rule, we don’t want to do anything in that regard, we don’t want penalties, we don’t want any of them. The style of our play, we’re so constant with the technique, that we’re there, we’re on players and we’re going to play them physically from the moment they leave the line of scrimmage, until the play is over. That’s all, and that’s it; the last thing we want to do is be penalized because we’re just giving away yards. We work very hard to stay with that. So any opinion of that is I think somebody trying to figure out a way to beat us, and they see that there are some issues there that they’d like to point out other aspects of it to try to generate that maybe we’re stretching the rules. We’re not, we’re just trying to play great technique and play the style that our guys are capable of playing.”

(on why he believes Peyton Manning has yet to be sacked during the postseason and how important it is to disrupt him on Sunday) “It’s really about his timing. He’s so quick with the football and his decision making is so precise, that the ball’s just not in his hands long enough to get there, for the most part. We can’t give into that. We have to rush the passer, we have to try to get him off the spot, we have to try to move him, and to get that done, we’re going to have to cover them very well. We’re going to have to get him to hold the football some and at least make him go to his second or third decision. If we can do that, it gives us a chance. Nobody’s done it very successfully. Obviously, as you said, in the postseason nobody’s even got close to him. Hopefully, we can. It’s all but impossible based on the numbers and what it looks like, (but) we’re going to see if we can do something about that.”

(on the potential advantage of Denver’s roster containing more players with Super Bowl experience than Seattle’s, and the impact of his personal experience coaching big games in college) “Well, in college we never had any guys that had more than four years playing. That’s kind of where we are right now. There’s a big emphasis about the Super Bowl experience and all of that, like you’re bringing up, and I just don’t think it’s – we’ll find out, you’re going to find out – but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I think it’s handling the process, handling the distractions, handling the newness of this game and this matchup, that you would think that the unfamiliarity, the newness, might make it a problem, (but) I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. I think we’re going to go play football the way we play, and we’ll find out. So, it’s not a big issue. Obviously, I can’t worry about it because we don’t have that experience, so I’m not going to try to reach for something that we don’t have. But, hopefully we’ll demonstrate that we can handle this game, and we can handle the matchups, and the lights, and the cameras, and all of that kind of stuff, and play good football.”

(on what he is looking to accomplish in the team’s final practices before the game and if there is a benefit to having played in similar weather conditions at MetLife Stadium during the regular season) “Well, first off let me start at the end there. At least we’ve been here and at least we’ve been at this hotel, and we know our way around. So we’ve tried to just add that to the comfort zone for the players. Everybody knows we’ve been through this before. That’s the first thing. As far as (how) we start this week off, this is a normal week for us now. It’s officially a ‘Competition Wednesday’ for us, which means we’re battling in practice today. Today is really about getting back to our football and getting right. That means that we want speed and tempo, the technique, all of the fundamental stuff that we emphasize on this day, is at-hand – no different than any other week that we’ve played. We did it last week and we get to do it again in this preparation. We kick into a normal mode, is what we do, and that calls for a lot. It’s a huge day to us. We have objectives and we’ll be keeping score all day long today –somebody’s going to win and somebody’s going to lose. The whole thing is (scored), which we always do, and that’s what kicks our week into motion. I’m hoping that we’ll have a very upbeat, very high-energy day at practice today.”

(on the Seahawks’ pursuit of Peyton Manning during the 2012 free agency period) “Well, it was brief (laughs). As we have ventured into every opportunity, John (GM John Schneider) and I have looked at what is available and what could we possibly get out of the players that are out there. In this free agency opportunity, here’s Peyton Manning. So we started the process, to make an effort, to see if there would be some kind of connection here for us. Word got out and really he called me first; he knew that we were interested. He gave me a call (and) woke me up one morning. (I) jumped out of bed and (said), ‘Okay, let’s go. What’s up Peyton?’ So we started talking. We talked about the basics of what it might mean for him coming to us, so the process was underway. It was very early, he had said that he didn’t know what he was going to do, he didn’t know where he was going to visit, he didn’t know what was going to come up, but he wanted to at least hear where we stood and what our interest was. That was the beginning of a very short process that got him to where he scheduled his visits that he was going to make – as we figured it out along the way – and we worked with his agent to understand that. We tried to get involved with that to see if there was a next stage of the process, and there wasn’t. It was very brief. It was fun for a while, with the magnitude of the player, and the background, and all of that. We were excited about it, to see what would happen, (but) we hadn’t set our sights on this (being something that was) going to change the program at that point. We were just going to follow through on it. We did that and it was over.”

(on Marshawn Lynch’s character traits that people outside the organization do not get to see) “He’s an extraordinary team member. Our guys love him. He’s a great leader, by the way he plays and by his actions. He’s not a guy – and this won’t surprise you – he’s not a guy that speaks a lot. He doesn’t take center stage and try to tell everybody what’s going on or what we should be doing, he does it with his actions. Everybody knows that, (and) expects that. We feel like we’ve come to a great understanding of who he is and we love who he is. He’s an incredible part of our football team and I wish everybody realized what a dedicated team member he is. I said yesterday, his conditioning, his work ethic, his commitment to this opportunity of these years playing for the Seahawks in the heart of his career, he has demonstrated exactly what we would hope he would demonstrate in terms of what he gives to us. But, we don’t get any more interview time than you get with him (laughs). He doesn’t talk any more to us than he talks to you, really. He is a live wire though at times, because he has a great energy about him, for the most part, it isn’t with his words, it’s with his actions, and we respect the heck out of that. I wish that everybody would respect that.”

(on how the defensive line rotation has worked out relative to his offseason expectations and how beneficial the deep line rotation is at this point in the season) “We went in and we told you that we wanted to upgrade our pass rush, which I would probably say every year since I’ve ever been in coaching. You always want to get better there and we had the opportunity. John (Schneider) did a great job to get involved with Michael Bennett, with Cliff Avril and really with Tony McDaniel, too. Those guys all came to us, to help us out, and it worked out. Every one of the guys contributed in the way that we had hoped they would contribute, and even more so than maybe our expectations. Because of the people that we had in the program, with Bruce (Irvin), and Clem (Chris Clemons), and all of the guys that we had, we saw a natural rotation. And really O.B. (O’Brien) Schofield fit into that, too. It gave us an opportunity for a natural rotation to fit guys together. As I told you earlier, we had to figure it out, and figure out how they could fit together and how we could mesh the different personalities and styles of play, and that’s what we’ve done. Early in the year, as we just rotated, we just were gathering information. I thought mid-year, it really took us before we really figured out what we thought was the best way to utilize our guys. They’ve all played, they’ve shared reps, nobody’s overworked, (and) nobody’s overloaded at this time. We’re very fresh and ready to go. We’re very fortunate that we’re this late in the season and feel like that. So, it’s worked out quite well. I think we’ll get better with our guys. We’ll improve now that we know what we know and we’ve been through this with them. It’s an exciting group for us.”

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