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January 30, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Dan Quinn: “We’ll stay very consistent with what we do”

Here’s the last pre-Super Bowl word from Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, as he discusses where Richard Sherman lines up, defending the no-huddle, and more:

(on if CB Richard Sherman is going to only play on one side of the field) “There may be some plays where he could (float around). But, they move (WR Demaryius Thomas) around so much that with some of our calls, there will be times when Richard will want to match with him and other times when he wouldn’t. For the most part, we’ll stay very consistent with what we do. There will be some times where if we need to we will.”

(on why Sherman plays on the left so much) “Really, we play a lot of zone, so left and right is where (the cornerbacks) play. The more practice you get playing at that one spot, just like anything else, you just get more accustomed to doing it. That makes sense. It’s not necessarily by design, like he needs to always play on the left. We’ve had games where we put him on a tight end or a receiver. Sometimes, it just depends on the game.”

(on if the defense practices against the snap counts) “What we try to do, for teams that are no-huddle… the biggest thing for us is that we are no-huddle on defense. That’s kind of how we started our training way back in our OTAs. Back before the season, we kind of had a sense that some teams may go to no-huddle. So, we just started that way from a defensive standpoint. A little bit of background from my two years in college – I coached at the University of Florida for two years prior to coming back here – in college, there is tons of no-huddle. It’s been an easy transition for us. Then, (head) coach Pete Carroll puts us through a number of two-minute drills every week, so we do at least two every week. We feel comfortable in that environment so we don’t make an extra emphasis on it. It’s part of what we do.”

(on what has been the key for the secondary) “I think the thing that people don’t understand is how hard these guys work in practice. I think that is one common thread for the DB’s. As a group, these are some of the most dialed-in, locked-in players you could be around. That’s why it makes them so fun to coach. That’s one of the reasons.”

(on the fishing trip that several members of the defense took) “Then, they went down with Earl (Thomas), he had a football camp down there. They did a training session in Miami. It is a really tight group. I think that is one of the things about our whole defense that I most admire is how close these guys are. As you guys know, most of the good teams that you’ve been a part of, there is that connection that the players have. They really want to play hard and play well for each other. I think our group, from the whole defensive standpoint, you can really feel that.”

(on Denver QB Peyton Manning speaking about his defense’s chemistry on film) “Certainly not from a defensive standpoint. I think sometimes it’s the non-verbal communications, the hand signals, the looks, playing next to the other guy for a while now, you have a good understanding of what’s going on. Just that understanding of here it comes and those kinds of things where they can talk in a language that is easy to understand to each other.”

(on the importance of non-verbal communication against Manning) “It can be invaluable. The other thing is that they can talk in another language to each other, to challenge each other, where they don’t get sideways about it. We’ve all been around people like ‘Mind your own business’ but it’s not that way at all. That’s one thing that I really respect about them too. They like to challenge each other into how hard they can play, but there isn’t a negative side to it.”

(on the difference between the 3-4 and 4-3 defense and on why the 4-3 defense is most effective) “I think the advantages with the 3-4 (defense) is that you have more people on your feet. Sometimes when teams are really spread out, you have the ability to see things on your feet, so a linebacker can move out… Some of the advantages that way, certainly the four man rush, where you have four guys down is the way you say we have rushers and we want to feature them. That’s the way to go. The 3-4 (defense) part can be a big emphasis when you have people on their feet where you can make some adjustments to some formations maybe a little easier.”

(on if he is seeing more hybrid schemes) “I think that versatility of each front and each team that you have, that is important. Here is an outside linebacker who can play defensive end, or a defensive end who can slide in to play defensive tackle. Especially for us, early on, let’s see what the guy can handle. That’s how you really know if you have a versatile player. During OTAs, during training camp, let’s try him here at end, let’s try him here at tackle, linebacker. If he can handle that, then here is a guy who is versatile. If this is a guy who can’t handle the information you’re giving him, okay, let’s back off of him and make sure he can do that stuff. It’s an important thing to find out who has that versatility on the roster, what can this guy do for this team.”

(on if he is ingrained into running the 4-3 defense) “I really learned when I first went to Miami – I left San Francisco and we were a 4-3 team there under (Dave) Wannstedt – when Nick (Saban) came there, we transformed into becoming a 3-4 defense. The biggest thing I learned from that experience is to make sure you have enough big guys that you are able to switch and go back and forth. So, think if you are going from a 4-3 (defensive) front to playing exclusively a 3-4 (defensive front), you want to make sure you have enough big guys, and vice versa if you are going to go from a 3-4 (defensive front) over to a 4-3 (defensive front), that can be a challenging time too because you have to make sure you have enough rushers in a four-down front.”

(on if he considers himself from the Nick Saban coaching tree) “I learned a lot of football from Coach (Saban). The biggest thing I learned… Coach Carroll and Coach Saban maybe are different in some respects but both are very successful coaches. I think one of things I learned from Coach Saban and Coach Carroll is that both of these guys have a really, really clear vision about how they want to play football. That is one of the biggest things I took away from Nick (Saban). I learned as much in two years with him as I have in any other time in my career. I had a great time working with him.”

(on how similar what he is doing with Seattle to what he did at Florida) “There are a lot of similarities. I think one of the things that I learned from Coach Carroll here that I tried to bring with me to Florida is how can we feature what the players do best. When we came down and installed the defense, it was kind of a collection of what (Coach) Will (Muschamp) had done at Texas and what we had done at Seattle, so that is kind of how we joined it. We said, ‘Okay, we have all of these talented guys. How do we utilize them best?’ So, I think that message from Coach Carroll to me came through loud and clear. Let’s make sure we are putting guys in the best spots where they can really play well.”

(on Peyton Manning having as many interceptions as forced fumbles) “I don’t know if (Manning) is more available because the sack numbers are still low, but for whatever reason, this year there were a couple that were on the ground – came out somewhere in the act of a throw – where he was in the pocket and got hit, in the throw the ball came out, in the throw somebody got to his wrist. Something that we talk about every week is how do we try to create takeaways and the quarterback is usually one that we look at for forced fumbles or sack forced fumbles. Then, we go to the runners and tight ends, who is not keeping the ball in a manner that we want to go get it. I don’t think it’s any different this year. I think it might just be every once in a while, one of those outliers. I went through the season but I don’t have a good volume to say this year, compared to other years, is different.”

(On DE Cliff Avril being a specialist at sack forced fumbles) “Throughout his career, he has really done that. That provides a huge value for a guy who can take the ball away. That is a truly a ball-hawk. Those guys have a special spot for us for guys like Earl (Thomas), who is a ball-hawk. He just has a great sense of when to go get it. Cliff (Avril) is a ball-hawk, for sure.”

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