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July 25, 2014 at 4:51 PM

Pete Carroll: “I’m hoping that we should be better and stronger than we were a year ago”

Here’s the official transcript of what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had to say to the media following practice today:

(On how he’s feeling after coming back from the off season.) It’s great to be back to work. We’ve had a fantastic off season. Guys have worked hard. We’ve had so many opportunities for our players to be together. They really have had a great off season of kind of being connected and staying connected. And everybody pointed at this day getting this thing kicked off. Everybody is coming together with a great attitude. And practice was good and hard and fast today the way we like it. So we’re on the way and we’re really thrilled to be back going at it.

(On Marshawn Lynch not being here) Sure, yeah. I’m disappointed he’s not here. By his choice, you know? I’m really focused on the guys that are here and that have been with us and are working really hard and all. Just a comment about that is we’ve had a substantial plan working for us for years now and Marshawn was a big part of this plan and just a couple of years back, we made a big statement by making big effort for him and we wish he was with us now but this is a tremendous opportunity for the guys that are getting their shot. Robert Turbin and Christine Michael, they’re ready to go and really fired up about this opportunity. We’ll try to take full advantage of it.

(On talking to Marshawn much during off season or recently.) I have. I have talked to him in kind of an ongoing basis.

(On having a deadline for seeing Marshawn here.) No, no. We’re practicing and working real hard and getting going and that’ll take its own course.

(On Carroll’s confidence that something will be worked out with Marshawn.) I’m hoping that he’ll be back with us.

(On things that Coach Carroll would like to see develop and grow in Russell Wilson.) Yeah, we’re trying to keep growing. We’ll keep growing and we want to become more efficient in everything that we’re doing. He’ll just continue to grow. He’ll continue to see things better. He’ll respond quicker. He’ll take advantage of his background more. So he’ll just keep getting better. This is still a real ascending process I think for him and he’s worked so hard at it that he’s going to take full advantage of the experience that he’s had and I can only anticipate that he’s going to be cleaner and sharper at everything that he’s doing.

(On how Coach Carroll deals with the challenges facing a team looking to repeat last year’s success) The challenges of it I think is a mentality about how you go about everything. It isn’t just about this season in response to last season. We’ve had a real clear thought about how we attack every day. The focus that we put on every day and the work that we do on a regular day to day, week to week basis, game to game basis is the same process we’ll use to do whatever you’re suggesting at hand right now. Had we just started the conversation now after a championship season, I’d be wondering what was going to happen, but we’ve been in the mentality we went in to last season. Some peoples’ expectations that we’d be in the Super Bowl and all of that. And we’ve dealt with that at the time and so this is a carryover from that. I’m hoping that our guys feel comfortable with the expectations and that it seems normal for them to have this kind of attention and focus and we’ll deal with it properly by really focusing on what’s at hand each day as it comes to us.

(On the changes of Christine Michael over the past year) Christine had a great off season. He had an off season where he just seemed to grow up. He seemed to become really clear about expectations about the workload, the job, the position that he’s playing, the responsibility of it and all of that. He was just kind of bright eyed as just a young pup his first year, but he made a big shift and it was really obvious. We’ve only had one day here. He had a great off season to lead him into this time, and now we’ll see how he handles it. The opportunity to get this great shot is going to be a factor and I’m hoping that he’ll take full advantage of. It looks like he’s absolutely ready. He’s in great shape. He’s really tuned in. He’s going to get a great opportunity. He and Turbin are going to go at it and compete the heck out of it to see how they do. I’m expecting both guys to contribute and Christine has done everything that we’ve asked him to do and I’m really proud of the progress that he’s made.

(On Coach Carroll seeing everything he wanted to from Paul Richardson and Kevin Norwood so far) No, no, heck no. We just started. That which we’ve seen has been really positive. Those guys have great hands. They have tremendous catching range. They’re natural catching all the balls. They have really obvious receiver instincts and all, but we got to get them banging around; we got to get them into the speed of things, and get them out against our guys with the pads on and all and see how that goes. I don’t anticipate any problem. They look so comfortable and so natural. I think they’re going to be able to contribute. They’re different types of receivers and we’ll see how we can fit them in, but I’m very encouraged at this time.

(On Sidney Rice’s decision to retire) The conversation just came up really the day before. He came up and we started talking about it. He got the word to us. He was real serious about it. He took his time figuring it out and think he’s making a great choice. He’s evaluated very clearly. He’s had a series of injuries and problems staying healthy. He’s had a number of concussions and that goes in to it as well and so he’s very comfortable with the decision. Of course he’s lament that he’s not going to be able to play and all of that but I think he feels strongly that he’s making a good decision and so we support the heck out of him. We’ll miss him and he’ll always be a part of us.

(On the other options that Coach Carroll has at the receiver position) I love our position. The fact that Percy is out here. Remember a year ago, we were talking about on this day, he can’t go. We’re talking about surgery and all. He’s had an extraordinary off season. He looks great. He’s a highly conditioned guy. He looks fantastic and fast our here today right off the bat. So that’s a big deal. The growth of Doug [Baldwin] and Jermaine [Kearse] and our guys and really Ricardo Lockette has done a great job. It’s just obvious that we have a good strong position group and we’re excited about these guys.

(On the players who were not on the field for day one of training camp) As always, at this time, we’re really being patient. With Bruce [Irvin] in particular, he’s coming off of surgery. He looks fantastic. He thinks he can do everything, but we’re going to take our time. We’ll probably work it all the way through camp to see how the progress goes. We want to make sure we’re right so that once he comes back, he’s good and ready to go. Russell got a little bit of work to do -Russell Okung – in the walk throughs. He’s just days away from kind of proving it. It might take him, if we’re conservative, maybe a couple of weeks and we’ll take our time there. Kam Chancellor is really close and ready to go. He’s champing at the bit to go. Both of those guys are running right now in the VMAC and getting their conditioning work done. And both went through walk throughs so they’re close. So expect them back soon.

(On Korey Toomer) He’s got a nagging hamstring, I just saw him in there running. He’s not ready yet, it’ll be maybe a couple more weeks before he’s ready to go. It’s unfortunate because he had such a great offseason, we were so excited about him and he was so excited about this chance but we’re just going to have to wait it out.

(On replicating Marshawn Lynch’s skill set) He’s a pretty unusual football player. He’s got a lot of great, unique qualities about him. We’re going to still run the football, we’ve run the ball over 1,000 times the last couple years so we’re going to keep doing that, none of that is going to change. The attitude that he’s brought in the last few years has been significant, when we were trying to make our mark as a physical football team he stood right at the front of that – but I think we’ve accomplished that now. That’s our mentality and our make-up and we’re grateful that he was a part of that. We’d like to get him back into it.

(The improvement of Christine Michael from year one to year two) He’s just so much more consistent with his assignments and responsibilities, his readiness is there. He seems calm and poised about taking advantage of this opportunity, he looks ready to go. He’s a very talented kid who we’re really excited about, he’s our biggest running back back there and he’s probably the fastest as well. He just seems to have embraced this step and this level and he just gets it now. You can tell he’s much more comfortable.

(On the health of Eric Pinkins and Malcolm Smith) Eric’s got a little Lisfranc injury, he was running two days ago and he was running with it. But it did show up in our physicals that we did, we’re going to have to take care of him, it’s going to take 4-6 weeks I think before he’ll be back. Malcolm’s close, he’s been running and working out, you know he had surgery and we’re just making sure once he gets back he can stay back. He has to show that he can tolerate the work day after day after day, until that happens we’ll still take it easy on him. We’ll get him when we get him, it might be a couple weeks at the most.

(On veterans leaving the locker room creating dynamic change) Tremendous leadership on the team, and it’s young leadership. Earl [Thomas], [Richard] Sherman and Doug [Baldwin] are fantastic contributors and have been in the leadership position of this team. I don’t think we have ever been a team that relied on the other guys to give direction. It’s been a young thriving mentality since we have got here. Now those guys in their third and fourth years seems like seasoned vets to us. It feels like the locker room is strong. We will miss them but we are strong.

(On the significance of the group since day one) It does help to know we can handle the lime light. They have been through it and it is a good thing. There is a process involved and we have been teaching these guys the whole time about handling situations like this and being prepared for it to happen so when it did we can move ahead and take advantage of it. It’s not a new conversation or language with these guys and as long as we do the work then we will progress and take advantage of this opportunity.

(On if it is like last year with mentioning the end result) We never have to talk about that, and that’s what we are competing for every day out here. That’s what we did all the way through year one, two three and four and we are going to keep doing it. It gets the foundation of that discipline that it takes to be that focused and to continue to get stronger. I’m hoping that we should be better and stronger than we were a year ago and we are going to try and build on that.

(On James Carpenter being in better shape for training camp) He’s having a great season. He is in his low twenties and he is fit, strong and ready. His confidence level is higher than it’s been, I’m really fired up to see him come back again in great shape. A bunch of our big guys really worked hard so that their weight is down and right so that they are ready to go for this.

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