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January 26, 2015 at 6:22 PM

Quote-a-rama: Transcripts from the six Seahawks players that met with the media on Monday

The media gathering today featured six selected Seahawks starters – wide receiver Doug Baldwin, safety Kam Chancellor, linebacker Bobby Wagner, linebacker KJ Wright, defensive end Cliff Avril and center Max Unger

WIDE RECEIVER DOUG BALDWIN

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Seattle Times photo/Dean Rutz

 

(on flying under the radar because of all the attention on the New England) I don’t know, you would have to tell me. I am not really paying attention to it.”

(on the ups and downs this team has been through and how they responded to reach the Super Bowl) “We have great players on our team. We have a great coaching staff. We were able to go back and re-evaluate ourselves and look in the mirror and figure out what we were messing up on, what we need to fix and what we need to correct. We came together as a team and didn’t worry about the Xs and Os. We just worried about us playing together and playing for each other and trusting each other. I think that is what really fixed it.”

(on the team before and after the Percy Harvin trade) “Not much different. We go about our business as usual. Obviously when you have a teammate that gets traded it impacts you in some way, but all of us knew we had something bigger to worry about. We focused on that and try to the best we could.”

(on Head Coach Pete Carroll meeting with the team leaders in November) “I think it was a huge impact. For us to be in a room together and openly and freely express our concerns about the team and not hold anything back. I thought that was crucial for our growth as a team. It was very important for us to get things off our chest. Guys in that room – we clash at times, but I think being able to get everything off the table, it brought us closer. Being able to spread that out throughout the team it brought the whole team closer.”

(on New England cornerback Brandon Browner’s comments about targeting Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas’ injuries) “I would expect nothing less. This is the Super Bowl. What do you expect? I understand the fans want it to be classy, said publicly, and everything to be said politically correct, but that is the truth of the matter. We want this game just as much as they do and they want this game just as much as we do. I expect nothing less from Brandon Browner. We go after them in an aggressive fashion just as much as they are going to go after us.”

(on if that is exploiting a team’s weakness) “Yeah, I think so, without a doubt. I believe that you find whatever edge you can or whatever weakness your opponent has and you try to take advantage of it so you can take the upper hand.

(on having a special stat for a quarterback who throws an interception because the wide receiver tipped the ball) “You never know what the situation is. Somebody can sit in the booth and watch the tape. It is easy to be a quarterback when you are sitting there and watching the tape. It is easy to be a receiver when you are sitting there watching the tape. Nobody knows what truly happens. Nobody knows what the play call was, what the adjustment was, what actually happened on that play, so they can say a lot of whatever they want to say, but the truth of the matter is that nobody knows except for the two who were involved in the play.”

(on wide receivers breaking up potential interceptions) “Yeah, sometimes. I haven’t been on the receiving end of those opportunities. I would like to think that I could do that sometimes when it happens.”

(on not giving opponents any extra motivation) “Well if you know me, you know I am not very careful in the words that I say. No, I am very careful in the words that I say, but I think more so it is just about being smart and understanding what this is. This is the Super Bowl so all you guys are going to take any little thing that we say and try to run with it. It is understandable because it is your jobs. I haven’t always been that way. When I was a sophomore at Stanford, I said some things I probably shouldn’t about TCU. I regret it now. I have matured. I have grown up and realized all of us are the same. We are competing at a high level for the championship. There is really no bulletin board material you need to look at. If you have to have bulletin board material to play this game then you really shouldn’t play this game. Regardless of what is said in the media we are not worried about it.”

(on cornerback Richard Sherman’s conflict of interest comments and if they were valid) “Of course. Richard Sherman is probably one of the most intelligent football players in the league if not one of the most intelligent people in the world. That was a shoutout to Richard Sherman if you all didn’t know. Obviously it has some validity. You would have to discuss it more with him. I don’t want to touch on the subject because I think that is a subject that he wants to expose a little more.”

(on the matchup against Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis) “I am excited about it. I think that obviously he is a very talented cornerback. He is great at what he does and he has a reputation for being effective on the field and being a dominant defensive player. However, I do not shy away from anybody. I am excited about the opportunity to go up against one of the best.”

(on comparing and contrasting Revis and Sherman) “I would prefer not to.”

(on Vegas having Baldwin’s over/under on receptions at four) “Four catches in our offense is a good day. If I get four catches in the Super Bowl that is a good day for our offense.”

(on the effect of Pete Carroll’s weird activities he has the team participate in) “It keeps us loose. It keeps us happy. It keeps us focused on the task at hand, but allows us to release the stress that comes with this. It allows us to enjoy the moment. You are supposed to have fun playing the game of football. You should have fun doing whatever you are doing and if you are not, you can’t play at your best potential. You can’t provide everything that you have into your profession. I think that is one of the things Pete really tries to do is allow us to have fun. When we wake up in the morning, (we) enjoy coming to work. That allows us to go out there and play football and be free. Ultimately it brings us closer together because we have a camaraderie in the locker room that unlike anything else.”

(on his first impression of quarterback Russell Wilson) “I was watching him at the Combine and I remember saying that he was just a different guy. He was kind of like a loner, but he was also very interactive. I would just say that he stood out. It was different to see him and the way he was leading at the Combine. When I got to see him in person and watch him practice in the rookie minicamp you could tell he was a cat that was going to go out there and give everything he had to profession. Obviously he is still doing it and he is doing it at a very high level.”

(on Wilson’s intangible ability as a leader) “I think it more speaks to his preparation. He is not really a vocal leader, so to speak. He is, but he kind of isn’t at the same time. He kinds of leads by example, by his work ethic, by his preparation and what he continues to do on the football field. He shows us week-in and week-out what he is capable of doing by just focusing and preparing. Guys want to follow that.”

(on how the receivers made up the slack after wide receiver Percy Harvin was traded) “We just did what we normally do. Try to take advantage of our opportunities and obviously we would get more opportunities because we were down a guy, but it was just business as usual for us.”

(on whether or not receivers in this offense have to develop an understanding that they are not going to put up big numbers) “Yeah. Fortunately enough I have been here for four years, so I have developed that mentality and that understanding. It is difficult for our young guys to come in who have come from passing offenses in college who have gotten multiple opportunities. They don’t realize as soon what this offense is. It is hard on them sometimes. They think that they might not be as good as they are, so it my role in the locker room to encourage them. It takes time to gain that mentality and that understanding, but once you get it – it is a very rare thing because not much can stop you at that point.”

(on if the young guys drift mentally if they don’t get the ball) “Any receiver would drift mentally if they were not getting the ball. That is just the nature of the business. If you have a receiver that doesn’t care to get the ball, then there is something wrong with that receiver. Everyone in the receiving corps wants to get their opportunities. However, we know how special our opportunities are because they are going to be few and far between. Mentally, you have to stay in the game consistently and constantly because you never know when your opportunity is going to come up. Our rookies sometimes, or not specifically our rookies, but guys that come in and don’t understand our offense may drift sometimes. The guys who make this roster they have the propensity to be in it.”

(on what it would mean to win a second straight Super Bowl) “To be honest with you, I wouldn’t be able to answer that question until three or four years down the line. Right now I am just focused on the moment and focused on the task at hand. Worried about the Super Bowl. Worried about the New England Patriots. After that game I will either happy or sad. Then three years down the line I will look at it and figure out exactly what happened.”

(on the lack of respect the Seattle receiving corps has gotten over the years and if it has changed) “It has changed a little bit. I think we got the negativity and the disrespect in a different way. Saying we miss Percy (Harvin) or we miss Golden (Tate) or the no names who are out here at receiver. We enjoy that. It adds some motivation. It adds some flare to it. We embrace it. I have a shirt underneath my sweatshirt that says, Pedestrians with attitude. We enjoy the label because we embrace it.”

(on how you keep that chip on your shoulder) “There are a lot of factors that go into it. Some of the factors that I think are more predominant are the fact that Pete Carroll, this environment that he has created where you are going to compete every day you come to the facility, whether it is at practice or in meetings or shooting a basketball before meetings. You are going to be compete. Nobody wants to be embarrassed. We watch highlight tapes of the previous practice every day. Nobody wants to be on the highlight tape as a negative. It makes you compete at a high level and appreciate the guys next to you. Whether you get paid or whether you have success, I think the environment that we are breeding in Seattle eliminates those distractions of complacency. We embrace the competitive nature that we have.”

****

SAFETY KAM CHANCELLOR

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Seattle Times photo/Dean Rutz

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(on guarding New England tight end Rob Gronkowski) “One thing we do is practice fundamentals. We practice man coverage. We practice defense. Any situation that they throw at us, any situation that occurs, we’re prepared for it and we’re ready for it.”

(on the differences between the last time Seattle played New England) “Last time was last time. Different teams, different players, different feel for the game. There’s a lot more experience, a lot more confidence, a whole lot better.”

(on the importance of matching Gronkowski’s physicality at the line of scrimmage) “He definitely is a big, physical guy, but it’s just big-on-big. Just play big-on-big.”

(on why scouts misjudged his ability coming out of college) “I really don’t know why I was passed and overlooked. I know a lot of people thought I was a ‘tweener,’ I was going to be a safety or a linebacker. My speed was very questionable they say, but you can’t take the football out of the player. I felt I was always a football player and had a knack for the ball. I was a student of the game. That’s one thing Coach Carroll said when he first called me. He told me, ‘All we want you to bring is what you bring to the game and that’s being physical. That’s all we ask. Nothing more, nothing less.’ I just felt right at home and accepted what he asked me.”

(on his experience playing with quarterbacks helping against New England quarterback Tom Brady) “It helps, period. On defense, period, at safety. At quarterback, you get a beat on their first, initial reads. You just find tendencies. Everybody has tendencies if you study enough film. You’ll see tendencies.”

(on if Seattle defensive backs coach Kris Richard has helped his game) “Oh, very important. Kris taught me a lot. That’s a guy who’s definitely a student of the game. He definitely strengthened my faith a lot. He’s always been in our favor, always been for us. He just has our best interest and put us situations where we can capitalize on our strengths.”

(on controlling how efficient Gronkowski will be) “That’s their playmaker, that’s their go-to guy. They’re definitely going to try and target him a lot, try to get him the ball in the game. We just have to play our defense, play our calls. Whatever coach calls, we just have to go out there and be fundamentally sound and play our ball.”

(on running back Marshawn Lynch’s personality) “Well, you are missing out on a great guy. A great personality, a great football player. That’s a guy that you can go to and ask for any type of advice, and knows what to say. He definitely is a very caring guy. He puts the team first. He’s definitely a great teammate and a great man.”

(on preparing for the different looks that New England shows) “Just preparing in practice. You go over the looks, you go over everything they could maybe run. You watch film. You have to study. You have to find the little things. It’s like I said about tendencies. Every team has tendencies. You need to study, study, study until you find what you’re looking for.”

(on what about the defensive scheme makes him and safety Earl Thomas effective at safety) “It’s clear cut. It’s basic. It’s simple. Whether it’s me playing in the box. Whether it’s me playing in coverage. Whether it’s me playing robber. Whether it’s cover-2. It’s just plain and simple rules. Beyond that, it’s just reading and reacting, studying film, it’s how teams are going to attack you. That’s it.”

(on his and Earl Thomas’ interchangeability) “We are, very. If you watch the film, you can see it.”

(on players overcoming injuries) “They’re warriors. That’s warriors right there. That’s one thing you can say about this team. We love this team so much and we love each other so much, we’ll do anything to get the ultimate goal and that’s winning. We love winning so much. Knocks, they happen in football, that’s a part of the game. You get them, you run with them, you get them off of their mind.”

(on New England flying under the radar) “I don’t really pay attention. I’m usually just watching film in my room. All I know right now is what’s being thrown at me and what’s the formation coming out, so we don’t pay attention to that stuff because at the end of the day, football is running, hitting and tackling. You still have to play football.”

(on facing New England cornerback Brandon Browner) “BB is like a brother to us, man. All I can say is God bless his heart. His heart, it tells everything. The man upstairs knows, so bless his heart.”

(on former Redskins safety Sean Taylor) “He was like a big brother figure to me. Definitely showed me how to be a leader, a leader of the locker room and how to bring that intensity to the game. He played with a lot of intensity, a lot of force. Definitely a great guy. Great character guy.”

(on quarterbacks targeting cornerback Byron Maxwell) “He welcomes it. He loves it. That’s just more opportunities. All we look for is opportunities. We want opportunities so we can take advantage of it, and that’s what Max does. Any time you want to call him a weak link or want to pick on him, that’s good for him. That’s an advantage for him. We like it.”

(on the team’s closing speed) “I think closing speed comes from preparation. It’s preparing and want-to and learning the fundamentals. I think once you learn the fundamentals, the second part is want-to. Coach can teach you the fundamentals and get your feet under you, but the rest of you, you have to want it. You want to get him down and put a body on it and be as aggressive as you can.”

(on if Seattle has more want-to than other teams) “I can’t really speak for anybody else, but I do believe that we have a lot of want-to in our room and on this team.”

(on preparing for a quarterback like Tom Brady) “I think you prepare the same way that you do for any quarterback. You have to be disciplined, you have to study film, you have to practice hard. I believe everything is in the preparation. You have to practice hard, practice with speed and be efficient.”

(on when the team came together as a unit) “I’d probably say the Cardinals game at home. That was probably the shift. We just reconnected and showed a real brotherhood. It’s a real brotherhood on our team. We’re really close, we definitely love one another, we play for one another. We just had to reconnect and reestablish, say it one more time and really commit to it.”

(on if Lynch is misunderstood) “Yes, a lot of people misunderstand Marshawn. Maybe he doesn’t want to talk to the media, that doesn’t make him a bad guy or a bad person. He just doesn’t want to talk to the media. You can’t punish him for not wanting to talk to the media. That doesn’t make sense to me.”

(on being aggressive despite the rule changes) “Abide by the rules. Get your head out of it.”

(on if he likes being called an enforcer) “I do. It just fits my type of play. I definitely like to be physical. I like making contact. I like big blows. I like making game-changing hits. I get that from watching guys like Sean Taylor. It just pumps me up and gets me ready to make game-changing hits.”

**** 

LINEBACKER BOBBY WAGNER

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Seattle Times Photo/Dean Rutz

(on the problems that New England tight end Rob Gronkowski presents) “I wouldn’t call him a problem. He’s definitely a great player. They move him all around the field. They have him on the outside, they have him on the inside. They do a lot of good things with him and he does a great job of catching the ball. Sometimes he’s doubled teamed and catches the ball, but I definitely feel like we have the athletes that match up with him and the athletes to definitely hold him. I’m looking forward to the matchup.”

(on if Gronkowski’s physicality is unparalleled in the league) “For a tight end, yes, but we are a very physical team.”

(on watching the 2012 game and the approach to this game) “Kind of similar, (Gronkowski) definitely a different player and he’s grown since then. At the same time, we’ve grown since then. Like I said, we’re looking forward to the matchup, he’s a great player but we feel like we’re a great defense.”

(on stopping Gronkowski and containing him from scoring) “I think we just need to be physical back with him. Make sure we get our hands on him. He does a good job and he likes physicality, so he’s going to put his hands on us. It’s going to be fun. When you go against a tight end like that it’s always fun because he’s not shying away from contact and neither are we. We definitely are going to have fun with this matchup.”

(on when it became apparent in 2012 that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is what he is now) “I think since day one when he walked in and took the starting job. I felt like the way he carried himself and the way he went about the business was as of a starting Quarterback even though they paid someone to come in and start. He took that role over his shoulders and ran away with the job.”

(on Seattle Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell taking over his position) “He’s done a great job. He stepped in and definitely filled that spot and held his own. They tried him in so many games and he’s been getting picks after picks and making deflections after deflections. I definitely feel like he’s held his own at that position.”

(on when the lights came on for Maxwell) “I feel like he has always been good. He’s just been waiting for his opportunity. As soon as he got his opportunity, he ran away with the job.”

(on how it has helped to play in the University of Phoenix Stadium before) “I mean I don’t think it’s an advantage. It’s a lot better than playing in the blizzard last year being that cold. I don’t expect it to be negative-something-degrees. I’m looking forward to playing in the heat.”

(on what he recalled from the plays last year and how they impacted the game) “It set the tone. They came out there and we watched a lot film and had a lot of crossing routes so I feel like as soon as Kam hit him across the middle, I didn’t see any more crossing routes. They ran crossing routes but they weren’t running them like they were in previous games.”

(on his thoughts the first time he saw Seattle Seahawks Safety Kam Chancellor play) “That he’s a beast.”

(on what the secret is to being the best defense back-to-back years) “It’s not a secret. It’s remaining humble and not getting too big headed because you won the Super Bowl. We still played this year like we had a chip on our shoulder and like we had something to prove. We still have something to prove. There are always going to be doubters. This is a team full of people wanting to prove doubters wrong.”

(on if New England’s film is more complex) “I think this a team that is kind of difficult because you never know how they are going to approach the game. One game they ran 40 times and the next game they pass 40 times. They are going to pick their poison and see what they can beat you by. We feel like we’re ready for it. If they want to run the ball, we’ll stop the run. If they want to pass the ball, we’ll stop the pass. We’re ready for anything they throw at us.”

(on how being in the Super Bowl in back to back years helps prepare one for the media) “It’s definitely helped. We know what to expect. The questions can be anywhere from – you never know what type of questions you’re going to get. We’re ready for it. That last year definitely helped us out with it.”

(on Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn and the possibility of him leaving) “I think he’s done a great job of focusing on the task at hand which is winning the Super Bowl. I know that he probably has bigger endeavors down the line but he hasn’t approached this week or any week like that. He’s approached it the same as we need to win this game. Whatever happens after that, happens.”

(on what a team will get with Quinn) “They are getting a great coach.”

(on what makes Quinn a great coach) “His leadership. I feel like he’s very open to talk. It’s not like you have to do it his way. It’s more he’s going to talk to you and say why his way is great but he wants to hear you out. I think the biggest thing is he is a great communicator and definitely helps you understand the game.”

(on if Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor is the leader of the defense) “I feel we have a lot of leaders. We have a lot of players that speak up when they speak up. Kam does a good job of leading when he’s out there on the field with his play. He comes out there and brings it every day. He definitely motivates us by the way he talks, by the way he approaches the game. He might not get as much of the national spotlight because he doesn’t talk as much as everybody else, but his play does a lot of talking for him.”

(on Chancellor taking on New England Patriots tight end Gronkowski) “We have a lot of athletes on this team that can take care of (Gronkowski). We’re comfortable with everybody.”

(on describing Gronkowski on tape) “He’s a physical guy. He loves contact. Great hands. He definitely can get open. He does a good job.”

(on if Gronkowski is like anyone else he has faced this year) “No.”

(on what the public doesn’t know about Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch) “He’s a great guy. He talks all the time, he just doesn’t like to talk to y’all. I don’t get that. It doesn’t make any sense to force somebody to talk to you. If he doesn’t want to talk, he doesn’t want to talk. His play does enough of the talking. If he goes out there and his job is to run the football – which he does every single game, runs the football very hard – if he doesn’t want to talk, he doesn’t want to talk. You can’t force a man to talk. We’ll talk for him.”

(on if Lynch is misunderstood) “He’s very misunderstood. He’s a great guy off the field. He’s always talking to us. He’s always laughing. He’s helped me a lot in my game. He’s always coming back and asking me what I see on this and, ‘This is how I play it if I see a linebacker in this position.’ He’s definitely helped me grow as a player. All of the outside stuff is wrong in my opinion.”

(on what it was like to bounce back when things weren’t going well in the beginning of the season) “I think early on we got to the point where we were trying to be too perfect. We had to go back to realizing that it’s not about perfection, it’s about having fun and enjoying that time you have with your brothers. Once we got back to that, we really got going.”

(on going up against New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and if they try to mix up schemes) “We do what we do. We aren’t trying to confuse anybody. We do what we do and we do it very good. He can do all he wants and you can do the crazy formations, y’all can run the ball, pass the ball, it doesn’t matter to us. Eventually you have to snap the ball and eventually you have to either A, run the ball or B, pass the ball. The game is that simple.”

(on Defensive Passing Game Coordinator Rocky Seto’s roll on the coaching staff and what he adds to the team) “He is like the passing coordinator. He definitely dissects it a lot with the passing. He also digs deep in the tackling side of the ball and makes sure everyone’s safe with tackling. He’s done a great job with that.”

(on how much Seattle has prepared for trick plays with New England) “There are about 80 plays in a game and five of them are trick plays. It’s not that much of a game. We’re ready for them, but you just have to do your job.”

(on the strategy going up against New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady compared to last time) “Don’t let them put 300-some yards up. That was my first time playing them. This second time around should be different. We’ll be ready for the wrinkles that they throw and ready for some of the plays that they run. They run trick plays that we have to be ready for. At the end of the day, the game is pretty simple. They’re going to run the ball or pass it, we don’t know how much they are going to do of each because watching the last couple weeks they pass a lot, and the last game they had ran the ball a lot. It’s up to them to pick their poison and we’re going to be ready for it.”

(on if Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll catered to Wagner’s strengths early on) “I think for me personally, what I got from everything is just that he had a belief in me. I was like the young new guy, try to be in a row that required a lot. He kind of instilled that confidence in me that I can do this and that I was the player for that spot.”

 

LINEBACKER K.J. WRIGHT

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Seattle Times photo/Dean Rutz

 

(on the unique culture in practice) “We just breed good guys. We just breed athletes. I believe one thing that makes us really special is that we hold each other accountable with what we’re doing on the football field. When you’re out there playing, you don’t want to let the guy down next to you. You can feel it. You can sense it. That’s why we practice so good. We just communicate so well on the football field. When we do our walk-throughs, we’re serious. When we practice, be serious. We know how to separate the fun from go time. That’s what makes them so good, playing for one another and don’t want to let each other down.”

(on the day before Media Day being a calm before the storm) “Today is kind of the easy day. Trying to get these days out of the way so we can really focus on football. It’s something we know comes with it, but we handle it the right way.”

(on his thoughts on Media Day) “I’m not a big media guy as you can tell, but it’s cool and it’ll be fun. Last year is was really fun actually. We had a great time out there. It’s something to get the fans excited. With the media, I know you all get excited about it too so it’s cool.”

(on the difficulty of missing Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner for a couple of games) “Yeah it was. How many games did we lose without him? Two? Chiefs and the Rams. We handled it fine. Brock (Coyle) I thought did really well out there as a rookie. He handled it just fine. Taking the place of Bobby Wagner was not easy, but when Bobby did come back, we started rolling. We started clicking and that’s important on defense. We just took off from there. Whenever someone gets hurt or goes down, somebody’s got to step up. Somebody’s got to move over. It might not be in your comfort zone, but you’ve got to handle it. That’s why we’re the best of the best.”

(on Seattle Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn’s defensive calling) “I love DQ. He really lets us excel. He keeps everything simple and he just makes simple calls. He probably has five calls a game and he just lets our athleticism go out there and win ball games. He loves to box up with eight men. You shouldn’t be able to run against us. That last drive against Green Bay we were doing just straight man to man. He didn’t try to mix it up. He didn’t try to run special coverages. Our guys against your guys. Let’s see who is the best. I believe that’s what makes him good and he always puts us in good positions to be successful. You’ll never see linebackers just meshed up against receivers or a guy that is mismatched. That’s what he does that’s good for us.”

(on how he thinks Seattle Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn projects as a head coach) “I think he would be a really good head coach. I really probably don’t expect him to be here next year. A lot of guys want him. He should’ve been gone last year I believe with what he did. He would be a good head coach and he would surround himself with good coordinators, defensive coordinators and do a good job.”

(on stopping the run game) “If a team can run the football, they control the game. Most of the time when they can run the ball, set up their play-action game, it makes everything soft. First things first, I don’t care how good the quarterback is. I don’t care if we’re playing Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, you’ve got to stop the run first and then everything should take care of itself. If a team seems like they’re trying to throw the ball a little more on us, they won’t be able to win the game.”

(on focusing on New England running back LeGarrette Blount) “I don’t care who their running back is. From a linebacker standpoint, you’ve got to stop the run and handle that and everything should take care of itself. Getting them to third and seven plus, third and six plus, you give yourself a better chance of getting them off the field on third down, but if they run the ball on third and twos, third and ones, they’re going to most likely be able to convert on those. First thing is first, handle that and it will work out.”

(on how special he thinks it would be to win back-to-back Super Bowls) “It would be really special because we knew the statistics were out there that the team that wins the Super Bowl doesn’t make it back to the playoffs and I know a lot of teams, a lot of people stopped believing in us during the season when we were 3-3, 6-4 and a lot of people didn’t believe in us, but we kept fighting and we just kept believing. We just take it one game at a time. We were able to win our division. It just goes to show that this team, we’re full of fighters and don’t listen to the outside noise. We just keep believing and keep playing one play at a time, one game at a time and we got the job done.”

(on what challenges New England tight end Rob Gronkowski presents and why Seattle plays well against tight ends) “I believe that I take it on a personal level as far as linebackers, tight ends, linebackers, running backs. If those guys are out there having a good game, that means the linebackers are having a bad game. It’s up to us to make sure those guys do a good job and we usually emphasize it. We study those guys. We know where they are on the field at all times. It’s up to us to make sure that they aren’t successful out there and we’ve just got to go out there and, like I said, our guys against their guys.”

(on how New England tight end Rob Gronkowski is different than other tight ends) “He’s really good. I believe he’s more physical. You see some tight ends out here that are not as physical as Gronkowski. He does a good job in getting into you, using his body, giving you a little shove here and there. He does a good job of getting open especially when the quarterback is throwing to you all the time. You have no choice but to be successful in catching the ball. Real physical tight end. He’s not like anyone else out there.”

(on if there are difficulties on facing Denver Quarterback Peyton Manning and now New England Quarterback Tom Brady in back-to-back Super Bowls) “No, I mean that’s what you come to the NFL for to play the best of the best. I grew up watching those guys and you don’t want to go out there and play a mediocre quarterback. You want to play the best they have to offer so you can look back 20 years from now and tell your kids, ‘Hey, I beat the Tom Bradys, the Peyton Mannings’. That’s real special. I’m glad that we are playing those guys and not somebody else.”

(on containing New England tight end Rob Gronkowski) “Good football player. Good speed, good hands. The quarterback (Tom Brady) throws it to him often. He reminds me of Tony Gonzalez with just his finesse and just always finding a way to get yards after the catch. We know that he’s a good player and like I said earlier, you’ve got to make sure that wherever he’s out on the football field, keep your eyes on him because the more likely the ball is coming his way. When he does catch them, we’ve got to hit him, got to tackle him to get him down and make sure he doesn’t get those yards after the catch.”

(on how he would describe the possible matchup between New England tight end Rob Gronkowski and Seattle strong safety Kam Chancellor) “It would be a classic matchup. Our best against their best. Of course I’ve got my money on Kam. He’s an All-Pro, he’s the captain of our defense. I expect him to win every battle.”

(on if there is extra motivation in facing a team responsible for deflating their footballs) “No, not at all. I don’t care what they do over there in New England. It’s all about us and we’re not going to try and use any extra motivated factors. This is the biggest game of the year. This is the game of our lives. This will be enough for us to come out there and try and compete and win the game.”

(on the secret to having the number one defense) “There’s no secret. You see the way that we play. You see the way that we tackle. I believe our coaches try to emphasize how to be good because every week we watch our tackling, how to tackle certain guys. We watch guys that struggle with fumbling the football. They just keep it on our minds to play good solid football. You can go out there and watch teams and they don’t play as a unit out there. They’re just a bunch of individuals out there. We have to trust one another and trust that somebody is going to be there if you turn your back to them in man-to-man coverage, we aren’t going to get leverage. We trust each other out there and hold each other accountable in their job.”

****

DEFENSIVE END CLIFF AVRIL

Seattle times photo/Dean Rutz

Seattle times photo/Dean Rutz

***

(on what the ability of Seattle to get back to the Super Bowl says about this team) “It says a lot. We don’t pay attention to what history says because obviously we’re not supposed to be where we’re at right now. But we believe in what we have here and what we’ve got as a team. The personnel, the guys, coaches – we feel like we can make anything happen and that’s our goal.”

(on if he prepares differently for a warm weather Super Bowl versus one in cold weather) “No. No, you don’t prepare any different. You just prepare like any other week and hopefully we have great weather.”

(on if playing in Arizona’s stadium every year provides an advantage) “It doesn’t matter. I mean, it’s still 100 yards. You’ve still got to prepare the same way. It’s all about the opponent; it doesn’t necessarily matter where you’re playing.”

(on what the last two years have been like) “It’s been amazing. I’ve been blessed to see both ends of the spectrum, not winning any games to pretty much getting to the top the last two years. So I appreciate it a lot just for the simple fact that what I’ve gone through. I appreciate just being able to get to the top and be the number one, the last team standing. So I appreciate it probably a little more than some of the younger guys.”

(on what is it about this Seattle team that leads to success) “I just think that Coach (Pete) Carroll and John Schneider and those guys have a formula that obviously works well. Coming here, it’s so much more chill. It’s so much more – they allow you to be yourself as a person, as an athlete. It’s not stressful coming to work, but I guess winning solves all that too. I think that’s the biggest thing, the biggest difference is just allowing me to be me and allowing each individual player to be themselves, but once they cross those lines to go play ball everybody comes together, and the camaraderie and the brotherhood that we have just shows every week.”

(on what Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn brings to the defense) “Q is awesome, man. He’s a D-coordinator that any player from any position can go talk to, especially me; he’s actually my position coach. He’s a D-line coach at heart, so to have the D-coordinator be the D-line coach is pretty cool because then they kind of cater some things to you, so it’s pretty awesome. He’s just an easy-going guy that you can talk to. It’s not hard if you have questions to go ask him questions; he’s not going to jump down your throat or anything like that, so it’s pretty cool.”

(on how Quinn projects as a head coach) “I mean, you’ve seen the numbers from the last two years. Hopefully he can bring that with him. Obviously he knows what he’s doing and I think he’ll be a great head coach.”

(on being able to appreciate what the New England Patriots have done, going to the Super Bowl six times since 2001) “That’s huge. I mean obviously they know how to win too. They know how to get to the Super Bowl, they know how to make things happen. So you’ve definitely got to appreciate what they’ve done. You’ve got to respect them for sure. It’s not their first time at the rodeo, so you’ve definitely got to be on point. The lights won’t be too bright for those guys, so you’ve definitely got to respect them.”

(on if he thinks the window for this team will be open for a while with Seattle’s young core of players) “I think the sky’s the limit honestly with this team as long as we continue to want to keep getting better as a team, as individuals. If we continue to keep getting better I think the sky’s the limit, and not take any of it for granted. It’s easy to take it for granted, like for rookies that were rookies last year, this year they’re back in the Super Bowl, it could easily be, ‘Oh wow, you go to the Super Bowl every year.’ No, you’ve got to put the work in, you know? I think if we continue to better ourselves and we keep the core guys hungry, I think the sky’s the limit for this team.”

 

(on not receiving an extension in Detroit, and his recent contract extension with Seattle) “Yeah, I’ll be in Seattle for a few more years. I’m definitely happy with how it came about. Obviously at the time, you definitely wanted it then, but everything happens for a reason and I’ve kind of found a home here in Seattle for Lord-willing the rest of my career.”

(on what changed after starting out the season 6-4) “We’ve gone through our ups and downs. I think again the big thing with our team is we’re a close-knit family. We’ve had our issues, and I think once we sorted those issues out – just like any family, friend, you get into a fight, whatever the case may be, y’all get tighter after that, and I think that’s what happened with us. We all basically essentially put our prides aside, egos aside and started playing for each other, and I think the way we’ve been playing it shows. Just having fun and celebrating – sometimes it’s not all about the stats. It’s all about doing your job and knowing the guy behind you is going to be there doing his job as well, and I think that’s what happened.”

(on the importance of getting pressure on New England quarterback Tom Brady in stopping their offense) “That’s a key week in and week out for us we feel like, but especially with him. He’s a heck of a quarterback. He’s getting the ball out pretty quick, but I think if you can hit him, pressure him, get him off the spot and make him move his feet to make him make some bad decisions, and hopefully the guys on the back end capitalize on those decisions. But I definitely think pressure, getting after him is definitely a big part of it.”

(on Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman and his personality) “Sherman’s awesome man. Before I got here, obviously the media can portray some guys to be a certain way, but Sherman is an awesome teammate. Extremely smart, everything he does is calculated. Me and him, we talk trash to each other every day, but that’s the kind of friendship we have and it’s awesome. He’s a heck of a cornerback and he backs it up every day.”

(on how Seattle’s defense compares to the all-time greats) “I’ll let you guys decide that. I think our defense is pretty good, but I definitely feel like there’s more room for improvement. I feel like we can still be better at a lot of different things, but as far as comparing to the greats, you guys tell me.”

(on what the secret is to having the league’s top defense in back-to-back years) “I think for us it’s all about the chip on our shoulder, wanting to continue to keep getting better. There’s no egos and prides. I think even though we have those A-list guys on our defense, I think we all respect each other and we all know that we need the next person for us to be successful.”

(on why young players are able to play for Head Coach Pete Carroll, if the scheme he uses is easy) “Well I wouldn’t say the scheme is easy, but I definitely think he instills confidence in you. He doesn’t tear you down. He allows you to be yourself, but to understand how to work. I think that’s the big thing. He makes it relaxing to come to work. He plays music during meetings, before meetings, after meetings. He’s big into competing, so subliminally he does things like having us compete right before meetings by shooting hoops to see who’s going to make the most hoops in a 30-second span or whatever. Again, he allows it to be a fun place to be and allows you to be yourself, and once you cross those lines to go play ball you’ve got to be yourself to go make plays.”

(on Seattle defensive tackle Kevin Williams) “Kev is awesome, man. A 12-year vet that played three-technique pretty much the last 11 years, and to be able to step up and play nose guard in this scheme and be very productive at it, it’s been awesome having him on the team. Just being a veteran and someone you can depend on and to talk to, and just being a pro, I think that’s a big thing.”

***

CENTER MAX UNGER

SEAHAWKS27_11

Seattle Times photo/Dean Rutz

(on New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork) “Very good defensive lineman, obviously. I think he’s played these last – I think this is 10 years for him. He’s shown he’s a premier player in this league at his position. It’s a tall challenge for us, and we’ve got to figure it out.”

(on Seattle’s game against New England in 2012) “It was kind of a little while ago, but we checked that film out this last week. Just kind of saw how we played them and how they played us, and just kind of went from there.”

(on if practicing against defensive tackle Brandon Mebane helps prepare him for playing against Wilfork) “Yeah, a little bit. Mebane, a little bit different player, a little bit different style of defense. Even front, both guards covered traditionally for them. Mebane’s more of a shade, so a little bit different style.”

(on if the game against New England in 2012 was quarterback Russell Wilson’s coming out party) “Yeah, that game was crazy. I remember on the 50-yard line or something, and we ran kind of a keeper, play action pass. That touchdown to Sidney (Rice), that obviously sticks out. Russell played a good game. It was kind of a crazy year. Russell’s figuring out what he does well and what we do well. We were, I think, 8-0 at home, and it was pretty cool.”

(on how Wilson looked as a rookie and if he was ready) “To be honest with you, we didn’t really follow that storyline. It’s more about getting a plan in, sticking with a guy, and figuring out what we do.”

(on how much of the offense is about running the football) “We take a lot of pride in that obviously, and being explosive in the pass is kind of what we hang our hat on. We try to run the ball as much as we can, and base our offense around that. I think (Seattle RB) Marshawn’s (Lynch) done a heck of a job doing that this year.”

(on if running the ball is the attitude of the offense) “It’s our identity. I don’t know about attitude, but it is our identity. It’s something that we focus on a lot, and we take a lot of pride in it.”

(on remembering back to when Seattle hired Pete Carroll as the head coach) “Oh we’re going way back. I think me, Mebane and Jon Ryan are still here. It was just crazy. I’d never gone through a coaching change like that in my career, and I obviously knew who Pete was because he always beat us at SC (Southern California). A little salty, not going to lie. Then he came up and put his program in, and it turned out pretty well.”

(on what makes Carroll a coach that has won two National Championships in college and is now going for his second Super Bowl) “A very charismatic guy. The guy that you see is pretty much who we get on a daily basis. It’s cool. It’s just from the structure of focusing on what players do really well is what I get from his message – do what you do well and do it as hard as you can.”

(on what kind of person RB Marshawn Lynch is) “That’s a tall order. He’s one of the best teammates that anybody can ask for, one of my favorite people I’ve ever played with. I can’t say enough good stuff about him to be honest with you.”

(on the players that filled in for him while he was injured) “Pat (Seattle C Patrick Lewis), Lem (Seattle OL Lemuel Jeanpierre) and Steve (Seattle G Stephen Schilling) too. They did a great job. It’s a tall order coming in. A lot of those guys haven’t taken a ton of snaps at center, but they figured it out. They did a heck of a job.”

(on being injured in this season’s game against Kansas City) “Yeah, that was bad. That’s a tough one. Just to roll up, stuff happens all the time. I’ve actually never had it happen, but it was pretty bad. It felt as bad as I looked.”

(on how tough it is being healthy then getting hurt and going through rehabilitation) “It’s a bummer. You try to just prepare for the games like you would if you were to play them. Obviously, you’re trying to come back in the best shape physically and mentally, and kind of knowing the game plan. You can’t just take a vacation when you’re out from the game plan side of it just so you know what you’re getting yourself into when you get back.”

(on if he plays differently in a warm weather Super Bowl compared to last year’s cold weather Super Bowl) “Yeah, this one’s got a different vibe to it for sure – the stuff I packed, for one. Didn’t pack a lot of jackets.”

(on if the warm weather Super Bowl changes how he handles the ball as a center compared to last year) “No, not really. If it gets really cold I guess I’d throw a glove on. I usually don’t play with one. I played with a glove in Kansas City. It was like 10 degrees though. I don’t think we’re going to get that here.”

(on how tackle Justin Britt has played in his rookie season) “I’ve been there, playing, starting your rookie year on the offensive line. It’s tough, takes a little while to figure out what you’re doing in this league for most of the guys, at least. I thought he did a great job answering a pretty tall order to start all the regular season games at right tackle.”

(on what Britt brings to the table) “He’s a tough guy. I think he’s as advertised. I think that they have a pretty strict identity of who (Offensive Line Coach) Tom (Cable) wants to bring into this offensive line, and I think he fit into our group really well. He’s a smart, tough guy.”

(on what it is about Lynch that allows him to perform well in the big moments) “I don’t know. He’s awesome. I think the more he gets the ball the better he is. I think he’s better when he kind of gets in the groove, and we’re able to execute our game plan. It’s pretty amazing. He likes to run power. He’s had two pretty amazing runs off the power play, and you guys all know that.”

(on what about Cable’s system has allowed the offensive line to have success after having to plug in and play different linemen) “I think that just speaks to his ability to be able to teach. Like I said, it’s a specific player that he’s looking for, and then at that time it’s, I guess, he takes a lot of pride in teaching us and having the back-ups able to come in and play and not have a drop off in it.”

(on if he’s ever seen Wilson angry or hanging his head) “No, honestly I haven’t. It’s pretty amazing from his rookie year, a lot of ups and downs from that season. He is as advertised though. That just speaks to being a professional at this level and kind of keeping emotion out of the equation when you’re making decisions on the football field.”

(on seeing Wilson progress from his rookie season to having a chance to be the only quarterback to win two Super Bowls in his first three seasons) “Nobody works harder than him, obviously. This is a guy that really logs in the hours. You can tell. It’s showing up. His progression in the offense has been awesome. It’s been what you want from a guy, and I think his win-loss record justifies that.”

(on how much the players look forward to the craziness of Media Day) “It’s kind of cool actually. This is the second year in a row we’ve been here, and everyone kind of knows the deal now. It’s kind of nice to know what you have in store for Media Day and kind of be prepared for the madness I guess. It’s nice to know what we’re getting ourselves into tomorrow.”

(on if New England and Seattle being to multiple recent Super Bowls shows that teams can have sustained success in the NFL) “It is difficult. We kind of struggled early this year kind of dealing with that exact issue. There’s so much turnover in the NFL and just being able to recreate your team year after year and finding your identity, almost a new identity, every time is very difficult. You look at the Patriots, they just had like their ninth first-round bye or something like that in 10 years. I think that’s a dynasty. I’d call that a dynasty.”

 

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