Here are the official NFL practice pool reports for Saturday. First, the Seahawks, and then the Broncos:
By Ralph Vacchiano
Pro Football Writers of America
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – On the final day before Super Bowl XLVIII, the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks got their first look inside MetLife Stadium where they’ll face the Denver Broncos on Sunday night and then held their final walk-through across the Meadowlands parking lot at the Giants’ practice facility. They looked loose and energetic as they went through their normal Saturday morning routine.
And when it was over, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had no doubt his team is ready to start the game.
“We’re ready to go,” Carroll said. “That’s kind of how we are. I don’t know if it’s loose, but we’re where we’re supposed to be. This is how we always prepare. This is the exact routine we always do. And the guys did it perfectly today.
“It’s been great. We have no hesitation saying it’s been exactly what we hoped to get done. We’re physically right and mentally right and we’re ready to go.”
The day for the NFC champs began inside the Super Bowl stadium at around 10:30 a.m. when the players and coaches got a quick look at what normally is the New York Giants’ locker room – though it now has a Seahawks logo above the door. From there they took to the field which was ringed by blue and yellow Super Bowl XLVIII banners. For about 15 minutes, players walked around on the turf and many took pictures and video of the empty stadium. Several position groups got together for group photos, too.
After huddling briefly at the 35 yard line, they exited the stadium and boarded their buses for the short ride across the parking lot to the Quest Diagnostics Center where they’ve been practicing all week. They held some more meetings, then went to the field house for their official team picture, which included Seahawks owner Paul Allen. Then, at 1:10 p.m. they were back out there again for a 35-minute walk-through.
For the rest of Saturday and Saturday night, Carroll said he will keep the Seahawks’ routine “exactly the same.” They even plan to remain at the same Jersey City hotel that they’ve been using all week long.
How loose were they during their final practice of the season? Early in the session, Carroll came over to the sidelines to greet former Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander and a friend. The coach made sure to talk to them while standing right behind his punter as they lined up for a kick. And when the ball was snapped, the punter, Carroll and Alexander all got out of the way so the ball landed right in the gut of the unsuspecting friend.
That prank got a good laugh out of everyone before the Seahawks went back to work.
Alexander was joined on the sidelines by former Seahawks linebacker Isaiah Kacyvenski. Both were members of the 2005 Seahawks team that played in Super Bowl XL – the franchise’s only other Super Bowl team.
“It’s always great to see Shaun and those guys,” Carroll said. “It’s good to have them around. It just kind of reminds us what we represent.”
Denver Broncos Practice Pool Report
By Ben Volin
Pro Football Writers of America
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Broncos’ walk-through practice Saturday afternoon at MetLife Stadium had a bit of a Senior Day feel to it.
The team practiced in sweats for about 30 minutes, going over a few offensive and defensive sets one last time before Sunday night’s Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks. But really the day was about enjoying the moment one last time and enjoying one of the final moments that this roster will be intact before the offseason hits.
Players trickled out onto the field with cameras and camcorders to capture the atmosphere – guard Louis Vasquez taking a panoramic photo of the stadium, backup offensive tackle Vinston Painter posing for photos and safety Mike Adams recording the scene with a video mounted on his head.
The walk-through was light and fun, although security workers kept having to shoo away stadium employees trying to catch a glimpse of practice. Coach John Fox didn’t keep his team on the field for long. The only player not expected to participate Sunday night is defensive tackle Sione Fua, doubtful with a calf injury.
“It was very similar to what we’ve done all season – typical Saturday practice,” he said. “Just a review, pretty much. Play the game, walk the field – maybe not everything we’re going to do, because you don’t know what security is like here. But it was beneficial.”
The weather was beautiful on Saturday – mid-40s and clear blue skies – but Fox said he didn’t feel like his team caught a break with the conditions.
“We’re pretty much weather-proof,” he said. “We live in Denver, so we practice in just about every element there is.”
Fox said he encouraged his players to soak up the moment. Peyton Manning took several photos inside the locker room with various teammates – the offensive linemen, wide receivers, etc. – and later posed with John Elway on the field. After practice, the players’ families were invited onto the field to take pictures and enjoy the day, as well.
“They worked really hard to have this opportunity,” Fox said of his players. “Might as well enjoy it.”
Despite the enormity of Sunday’s game, Fox is doing his best to keep the routine the same this weekend .The Broncos will be switching hotels tonight to sequester themselves from friends and family, but that’s typical for a Saturday night, Fox said.
He said he’s not too worried about nerves getting the best of him or his players, or having too much free time before kickoff at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
“We’ve played a lot of prime time games, this is just another one,” he said. “It gets bigger on the outside, that’s true all through the playoffs, and this is probably the ultimate of that, but they’ve listened and managed it pretty good.”