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23 November 2016

Transcript: Seattle Seahawks Conference Calls with Tampa Bay Media (11/23/16)

HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
 
(On Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith’s comments that Russell Wilson is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in football)
“Well, no I don’t really know. He is just saying what he thinks, that’s all. I’m not worried about it.”
 
(On quarterback Russell Wilson’s development the past few years)
“Yeah, he’s had a great five years, whatever it is here with us. It’s been fantastic. He’s set all kinds of records and numbers and led the league in efficiency last year. I think just a great emergence just growing up learning the game, understanding, growing in his command of it over the years. I think the second half last year really showed us what he’s capable of doing and he’s done a marvelous job of making it through the injuries this year early in the season just to survive and play. Now that he’s back and ready to go, it’s really a great testimonial to who the kid is. He’s got great character, great toughness, great competitor.”
 
(On wide receiver Mike Evans)
“He’s a great player. They totally rely on him. There’s great chemistry between the quarterback and the receiver, big-play guy. He’s just always been this way. He was the same kind of guy in college. He was just a dominant football player. Obviously, a real go-to guy that we’re going to have to keep our eyes on all day long.”
 
(On covering physical receivers such as Evans)
“This will be a good one. Our guys that will line up on Mike are going to have to be real effective at the line of scrimmage because he’s really strong. He uses his hands really well. He’s a fighter and a clawer and scratcher just like our guys are, so should be some good battles.”
 
(On his impressions of Jameis Winston’s progression as a quarterback)
“No, I’ve been watching him for a long time. I watched him all the way through college and have always been really impressed with his tenacity and his competitiveness and his confidence. He demonstrates confidence in the way he throws the football and the choices that he makes. He totally believes in himself that he can make the plays and he does. He’s really – it’s just an extension of who he was as a younger player. Just as [Seattle quarterback] Russell [Wilson] has done, Jameis will do the same thing. He’ll continue to grow and command in awareness and understanding of what’s going on. He’s going to be a great player. I don’t see anything about his game that’s going to keep him from being anything but a great player.”
 
(On guard J.R. Sweezy not being able to practice and if Carroll has spoken to him recently)
“I haven’t. I know a couple of our coaches have. That is so far removed from the J.R. Sweezy that we had here. He was always there, always working. I don’t know that he ever missed a game in the years he was with us. It’s just a terrible turnaround in an injury situation for him. He’s a great kid, he’s a great competitor, he’s tough as hell. He was a real leader in our program. They will see that when he gets back that he’s a fantastic guy to have on your team.”
 
(On defensive end Michael Bennett and his possible return from injury)
“Mike’s a great player. He’s turned into a marvelous factor in our club and we miss the heck out of him. We’re not sure when we’re going to get him back. He’s working at the rehab trying to make a really quick turnaround after a minor knee surgery that he will make whether it’s this week or not, I don’t know that yet.”
 
(On Russell Wilson playing through injuries and still being effective this season)
“He’s always been talked about that there’s limitations to him and I see none. I see no limitations. Whether he’s throwing the ball from the pocket or he’s moving around or he’s running with it or scrambling to make plays, he can do everything. There was a time here when he was so hampered that he couldn’t move and you didn’t see all of his game, so he just found a way to adapt and still help this team win and stay in there even playing in a different fashion than he had before. We’re so used to hearing, ‘Limitations about they’re surprised that he’s doing this and that.’ That’s only because people put out early opinions that he was not  going to be able to make it. This guy’s been a fantastic player wherever he’s gone, whatever he’s done at any level and he’s just continued that here. So, I think it’s a really, like I said earlier it’s a great testimonial to his competitiveness to find a way to contribute in a winning way when you’re not all there and I admire the heck out of that.”
 
(On what he sees in head coach Dirk Koetter despite early sceptic)
“Who are the skeptics? Not those guys in that room right there I’m sure, right? He’s a terrific coach. We coached against him for years at Arizona State, so we’ve had our battles and I have great admiration for him. He’s a good football coach, he’s tough on his players and demanding and all that and always puts out a tough, physical team, which is what we’re seeing from Tampa Bay right now. This is a unique job and it takes a while to get rolling and the fact that it took them a few weeks to find their focus and the way they want to play and their style and all that, that’s no big deal. Of course, he’s a good ball coach and he got it figured out, so that was a fantastic game they played last week. They’ve got players across the board that can go. We have great respect for these guys and the way Dirk handled it.”
 
(On how long he believes it takes to come into a new team and create a new culture and mentality)
“Since I’ve been fired so many times, I’ve found that it’s a lot harder to get to than you think. It took some time here. We won the division the first year with a losing record, so that was not a great start. I think it took us a couple years to get rolling and I think year three and four really, it started to pick up. It just depends. It depends on the makeup of your team. It’s not just a set formula. It depends on the age of your players and the way that you can handle the roster and adapting the roster and all of that. It always depends upon how your quarterback is playing, so they’ve got a great QB and I’m sure their transition is going very quickly.”
 
QUARTERBACK RUSSELL WILSON
 
(On his relationship with quarterback Jameis Winston)
“I’ve always been very fond of Jameis in terms of the competitor that he is and the quarterback that he is first of all. I think that he’s a tremendous player and I have tons of respect for him there. I had the opportunity to be around him – we actually have common acquaintances in the sense of this guy named Trevor Moawad. I know Trevor works for Florida State. He’s their mental coach and stuff and a sports psychologist guy that they use. So, I got to know Jameis from a distance from that and then when we went to the actual Pro Bowl, we were on the same team and we were right next to each other all the time and just continued to discuss with him and talk to him about the game of football and what it takes to excel on a consistent basis. He asked tons of questions in a good way. He’s a guy that wants to know and wants to learn. Like I said, he’s a tremendous competitor, so that’s what I love about Jameis and he has a great time playing the game of football too.”
 
(On having to fight through obstacles this season)
“Well, I think every year brings up new obstacles and that’s the journey that we’re on every year. We’ve been fortunate in that in the past four and a half, five years to win a lot of football games. I think that when you respect the process and respect the journey, great things happen. So, for us, obviously, this year there’s been some significant injuries to a lot of the guys and we’ve been able to overcome those situations and those injuries and still find ways to win and still find ways to play in the game and play at a high level. So, I think that’s what we’re focusing on is to do whatever it takes to win and continue to play great football. I think also too, it comes down to practicing at a high level and setting the standard high there and ultimately in the game, hopefully it translates to the game.”
 
(On how he altered his game to still be effective despite injuries this season)
“I think, like I said, every year presents a new challenge. I’ve never really been dinged up the way like I have been. Obviously, the first game I had a severe high ankle sprain and then the third game, I got my knee, MCL pretty bad, sprain on my MCL and then also kind of hurt my pec there, I forget what game it was. So, I’ve had to battle through some injuries and same with the rest of our guys. I think that it’s kind of the mulish approach and being tough minded and continuing to be steadfast in the rehab and everything that we are doing. I’m grateful for that. I’ve got great people around me, obviously. The training staff has done an unbelievable job, constant hours, constant early mornings, late nights and then same thing with my two people I use. Both of them have been nonstop. I’ve always been a big prehab person, big treatment person before something happens, but obviously, there’s been some major injuries, but I’ve had to overcome those. My biggest thing is always going to practice, always practicing, always doing everything that I can to make sure that I play in that game come Sunday. So, that’s just my mindset and I love the game too much not to find a way.”
 
(On his thoughts as a quarterback going up against a guy such as Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman)
“The thing about Richard is you won’t make too much of a profit going over there too often. You’ve got to be smart. He’s a great football player, obviously. He makes tons of plays over there. He’s extremely smart, he’s competitive as can be. That’s the same thing with the rest of our corners too and the rest of our DBs. They make plays all over the field. They know how to attack the football, they know how to make plays. So, like I said, obviously, Richard is going to be a Hall of Fame corner. He’s going to be a guy that helps us win a lot of football games and does a lot of great things.”
 
(On what makes a team a good travel team)
“I think we’ve had so much experience. I think that starts from there. We’re still a really, really, really young team. But, obviously, we’ve been fortunate to win a Super Bowl, go to a second Super Bowl back-to-back and play in a lot of playoff games. So, we’ve had to travel on the road. We’ve had to be in tough environments, tough situations against tough opponents. So, what we focus on is like I said earlier, having a great week of practice. I think that’s the first step; doing everything we can to practice at a high, high level and setting that standard high. When we travel, it’s a business trip, a business approach business trip or looking to always go into a tough environment and play a very, very tough football game and knowing that it’s going to be a battle and just doing everting we can to find a way.”
 
(On Buccaneers defense)
“First of all, it starts with [defensive tackle Gerald] McCoy up front. I’ve gotten to know him through the Pro Bowls and playing against him and stuff like that, just a tremendous football player. In my opinion, arguably one of the best defensive linemen in the National Football League. He’s physical, he’s fast, he’s got great hands, he’s instinctive, so he’s a big-time player and an elite player in this football league. So, it starts up front with him. I also know [defensive tackle] Clinton McDonald really, really well. He used to play here for the Seahawks and he’s a force in itself. There’s a lot of other players too, but you think about the linebackers. I’ll start off with [linebacker] Lavonte David. He’s obviously their leader of the defense in the sense of who he is and that type of player that he is. I’ve gotten to know him over the past several years too. I got to play against him at Nebraska and then also in the National Football League and Pro Bowls and being around him. Just a great person first of all, a great athlete, a great player, tremendous competitor and he can fly around and make tons of tackles and tons of plays and then [linebacker] Kwon Alexander is playing great football too for them. So, he’s the heart of their defense right in the middle and making plays and tackles all over the field. And then their secondary, they’ve got guys; [cornerback] Vernon [Hargreaves III] is a young guy, but he’s extremely athletic and he’s made a lot of plays and he can make a lot of plays and he’s extremely athletic. You notice that. [Cornerback] Brent Grimes; tremendous athlete, extremely quick. Also, they have [cornerback Alterraun] Verner too as well whose very, very similar in that way. And then with the secondary guys in their safeties, they’ve got [safety] Chris Conte and [safety] Bradley McDougald. Those two guys are making tackles too. So, it’s a very, very good defense across the board I think. Like I said, it starts up front with McCoy and then their middle and front defense and then obviously, the linebackers, Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David. They’re extremely, extremely good football players.”
 
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