Here’s the official transcript of what Seattle coach Pete Carroll had to say to the media today:
(Opening) We’ve been on the road for a while and it’s good to come home. It’s good to be coming home to CenturyLink so the guys are real tuned in today—ready to get this week going and try to continue to make a move to get better. Raiders coming in—this has been a team that has had a big transition with coaching change during this season, which is always a big deal, and they’ve played really hard and really tough and they’ve been in every game and we’ve seen them play really good against really good teams so we’re going to get loaded up for a really good ball game and expect their best. The emergence of Derek Carr throwing the football has really, I’m sure, sparked them—he’s looked terrific. He had a fantastic San Diego game and he threw about fifty or so times last week. So they’re really committed to him and you can see why. He’s really equipped—we saw him in preseason and he tore us up and they’ve got our attention surely back from preseason ball. We’re going to get ready for a big week and we’re excited about it.
(On what he saw from Derek Carr in the preseason game) He hit everything—he tore us up, came in boldly and they didn’t just kind of dink it around; they showed that they had some belief that he could be a down the field guy. They certainly have gone that way—their receivers have been on fire. We saw him move, we saw him throw the deep ball, we saw him throw some timing-quick stuff underneath, and he just show a lot of poise. He’s demonstrated that now—he’s got good numbers right now.
(On Zach Miller & Bobby Wagner injury status) What I can tell you is that Zach had a real good meeting back with the doctors back in North Carolina. I talked to him in the training room today—this is the best he’s ever felt by far. He made a big jump from the treatment that they did over the weekend. So that’s a real positive sign—the first really good positive sign that we’ve had and he was really encouraged by that. Bobby got a good report—he’s staging along and moving ahead but neither one of those guys are going to make it this week.
(On roster moves) We’ve moved up L.J. Fort and we signed Will Tukuafu to come in and play fullback for us—see how he does. L.J’s going to play on defense for us and he’s been a linebacker at Denver the last time we saw him on film and he was in a week ago—we liked what he did so with the necessity of Malcolm [Smith] being banged up, we thought we needed to do that.
(On Malcolm Smith being out) We don’t know that yet.
(On Byron Maxwell & Max Unger injury status) Max is going to practice today. We’ll see how far he goes and how he tolerates it so that’s real encouraging for him. He’s excited about it—he looked real good in the walk through stuff we’ve done. We won’t know until we get through the week and how he tolerates the work load as always but that’s positive. Byron is making big improvements—he’s really getting close and I don’t want to rule him out for this week; we’ll see how he does and we’ll see what happens. Those guys are going day to day right now—seeing how they can tolerate work.
(On traps of playing an 0-7 team) Anytime you play a team that’s been struggling, you can look at them and say, ‘ok they’re not playing good ball.’ The film doesn’t show that—they’ve had turnover problems that have caused their issues for the most part but they’ve played really tough on defense. They’re only allowing 3.7 a rush. With the front—it’s a tough, stout front. Teams have tried to rush the ball at them so they’ve done a good job there. They show real explosive, dynamic throwing game right now and we have to be ready for that. So hopefully all of that makes enough sense. However, that doesn’t really have anything to do with it—it’s really us getting ready. We have to take each week as a championship week and we have to prepare like that and we do that by doing it today. We take care of today and then we move to the next one. If we do that right, then we’ll be ready to play this game.
(On him using the Tampa Bay game from last year as a reference to the team) That example’s been a really big example for us. Not so much this week because we thought we woke up in terms of fundamental football and doing the basics of this game better than we had prior to that. So that was a big wake up call for us and we’ve utilized that so it’s been kind of a topical conversation for us to stay with the fundamentals and to stay with it and not lose our game so it was about this time, couple weeks from now—maybe a week from now, last year that we struggled in that game—that’s the only similarity. We’ve got to continue to find our fundamentals regardless of where it is and who it is—hopefully we can do that.
(On Kevin Pierre-Louis) He did really well—he played very well. He had some exciting plays—he’s real fast and he played real fast. He looked fast in the field, good in the open field—blitzed really well as we’ve said and he’ll be part of the plan if Malcolm [Smith] can’t go this week.
(On what Kevin Pierre-Louis needs to get better at) He’s just got to learn the game. He’s really a diligent kid. He really stays after it—it’s really important to him. He’s made very good strides—he was hampered by being banged up. That’s the only thing—it was just time. So he has to get out there and make sense of the game plan and make sense of the opponent’s style and fit things up right. So really it’s a matter of consistency right now—we really think he could play. We don’t have any question that he can be a factor and help us.
(On getting Kevin Pierre-Louis involved even if Malcolm Smith can play) We’re trying to get everyone rotated at this point. We want everyone that’s dressed to play if we can do it and that can do it and utilize the whole roster—so that applies to it too.
(On blitzing more) We’re trying to find our times to be effective pressuring—we probably pressured more than you think but sometimes it’s not as effective. It showed up—our pressure was really effective last week. We didn’t have to go after it a lot but also I think it freed us up with four man rush too—it helped us. I think they were looking for some things and we got a good jump, a good edge rush, and our guys made a difference in the game so hopefully we’ll get the right mix so we can continue to feel that.
(On Will Tukuafu jumping into fullback right away) We’ll find out—he hasn’t practiced with us yet. I don’t know—he’s a big man at 280 pounds playing fullback. It’s why we wanted to do it—I think it was an opportunity to get a physical addition to what we do on offense and I’m hoping that he’ll fit in.
(On Will Tukuafu playing defense at some point as well) Absolutely.
(On Richard Sherman doing punt returns) It depends—it depends on who’s available. Really, we were going to go with Doug [Baldwin] last week and Doug needed a break at the time and he jumped in to relieve to help us out. He’s not, in our minds, the guy that’s going back to return punts all the time but he is a guy that does a great job of all the situations and knows what’s happening. He’s as well schooled as any of the guys that haven’t been catching punts and he pulled it off last week.
(On how much does he lean towards the veteran guys with a young team) I don’t think any differently—our guys have been with us long enough. Our guys have been through all of the process and I don’t think we need to have anybody step into a leadership role that hasn’t been—I think we’re just asking our guys to continue. Our guys fit in—like I said, maybe it was Monday, our young guys feel like they’re part of it and they feel like we don’t have to look over our shoulders at these guys and see what these guys are doing—they’re in it or we wouldn’t be playing them. So the time that it’s taken to get to that point has been valuable and when they step in they play like the regulars.
(On Bryan Walters update) He’s practicing today so he’s back.
(On James Carpenter injury) He was out today—he feels ok so looks like he’s going to be alright.
(On Jeron Johnson) He’s got to go through the protocol so it’ll be all the way through the week until they make the determination.
(On decisions about punt return now that Bryan Walters is back) Yes—we’ll find out but it was great to see Paul Richardson get his couple shots at kickoff return and showed us something special. So he’s definitely in the running—I would not mind at all to have Paul back there and we’ll see how Bryan Walters makes it through the week.
(On risk-reward ratio of Paul Richardson returning punts) It’s really a factor that we factored into the decision of who’s going or not. When they’re giving us the football by kicking it to us, we want to make sure that we wind up with it—that’s huge. So that’s a big concern for us—more so to me than the yardage that you might be able to make with the return and that’s why Bryan has been such a great asset because he’s so sure handed and he knows all the situations and he’s gifted at it. When you develop a guy that you can trust, and he’s doing a good job back there handling the ball and he’s got special skills too—it’s going to be competitive. So we’re in a good situation right now back there.
(On playing more hurry up offense) It’s always in our conversation—it really is. We have done some good things there and we function well and it’s available to us anytime that we need it. There’s the kind of different modes to it—it’s when you’re in a desperation two minutes and you’re going as fast as you possibly can. When you have three or four minutes, then it’s a whole different situation on how you handle it. So even in those situations, [Darrell] Bevell and Russell [Wilson] are really working out the calls there. Russell has to call some of them, Bev can call when the opportunity is there—seems like it’s a good mode for us and we don’t hesitate to go to it.
(On Eric Pinkins) He’s been working real hard—he’s in great shape now since he’s been with us. He didn’t report in the greatest of shape and his conditioning has really elevated since he’s been with us; He’s stronger so he’s doing a good job—he’s getting a lot of work too so we’ll have a good evaluation. We have one more week to check him out.
(On Eric Pinkins playing corner or Safety) Safety.
(On the attributes of Paul Richardson) He’s really a natural athlete, natural catcher—he’s got real tremendous confidence in his own ability to make the catches. He’ll challenge to make every catch; low balls, high balls, and in trouble with the DB—he’s really good at it. He’s got fantastic speed and he’s got special agility too because he’s so light on his feet that he can get in and out of breaks really well. So he really has all of that stuff and he’s smart too—he’s gets the game and it makes sense to him. He’s a speed guy because he’s so elusive in and out of his breaks so he’s got a real style to him.
(On hosting Marysville-Pilchuck football team) That was an amazing experience—a bunch of our guys jumped up to come out and meet them and coaches were all there and people from the 3rd floor in the building went over to greet them. It was an amazing experience to feel their gratitude—they were most grateful for the opportunity to be here. Obviously the Seahawks are a big deal—to see them react to Richard Sherman coming out and they see Earl Thomas—see all those guys; Bobby Wagner—those guys all greet them; shaking hands and taking picture and having fun with them, it was tremendous. As always the case, both sides received a lot out of that kind of exchange. Our guys were really moved by their energy and their enthusiasm. They have a lot of responsibility on them and they’re kind of carrying the spirit for their area. They’re at somewhat of a rallying point I would think, and they’re really up for the challenge. Coach [Brandon] Carson seems to have those guys disciplined and tuned in—it was really exciting to see. I think, I know I said it but just to make the mention again, Oak Harbor’s making the gesture to recognize them, that opportunity and to make a great choice and give those guys the opportunity to stay in the playoff hunt—that was really tremendous. I think they’re going to come see us next week, which we’re thrilled to be able to exchange with those guys. It does speak to the power of sport and how it is such a unifying element in our culture and you can just see it. In this local community, I know that they’ll be a big factor in how everybody comes back to their normal life. So it was very powerful.