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Seahawks Blog

Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



January 28, 2015 at 6:34 PM

Seattle Seahawks Wednesday Super Bowl practice report

Here is the official pool report on Seattle's practice today:

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015

Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX Practice Pool Report

By Peter King

Pro Football Writers of America

TEMPE, Ariz.—With all 53 players on the active roster and 10 practice-squad members healthy enough to work, a rarity for this late in a season, the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks opened their practice week for Super Bowl XLIX with their weekly “Competition Wednesday” practice on the campus of Arizona State University.

Under threatening skies with temperatures in the low seventies and a light breeze blowing, the Seahawks practiced for one hour and 32 minutes on Arizona State’s two natural-grass football practice fields, the workout ending at dusk under the lights. As usual, the Seahawks were serenaded by a diverse music mix blasting from sideline speakers, ranging from Jay Z to Evil Empire to Elvis Presley.

“Terrific work,’’ coach Pete Carroll said minutes after the practice ended. “Terrific day. The energy was there, and guys got good work in. This was an unusual day for the guys, with the media stuff in the middle of the day. We had meetings in the morning, then the media, then more meetings to prepare for practice, and then came out here. But the guys worked hard.”

Notable for their work on Wednesday were the three Seahawks who entered the week with some injury concerns. But today’s practice showed the Seahawks should be one of the healthiest Super Bowl teams in memory. The injury questions:

  • Cornerback Richard Sherman (hyperextended elbow) worked regularly with the defense and made a leaping interception, extending both arms in the air to make it. With his elbow wrapped, Sherman didn’t look affected by the injury suffered in the NFC title game 10 days ago.
  • Free safety Earl Thomas (dislocated shoulder), also hurt in the title game against Green Bay, also showed no ill effects playing full time Wednesday.
  • Guard J.R. Sweezy (ankle) took his turns with the first-unit offensive line and worked without any sort of limp, looking fit and not lagging behind in any drills

“We’re really fortunate to be this healthy,’’ said Carroll. “If we can make it through practice tomorrow, we’ll be in great shape.’’

Carroll maintains that “Competition Wednesday” helps him determine playing time during the season. So even though players worked out in helmets and no pads, the tempo was fast and spirited. When defensive tackle Tony McDaniel batted down a Tarvaris Jackson pass, defensive line-mate Michael Bennett leaped to congratulate him, and three other defenders swarmed them.

Carroll said he’d have to look at the tape of practice to determine a daily winner—on Wednesdays, either the offense or defense is declared the winner—but with the offense keeping the quarterback clean on a late-practice pass-protection drill, he said the offense likely won the day. After practice, many Seahawks used the ASU weight room to get in a quick lift before buses took the team back to its hotel, with members of the Sun Devils’ woman’s basketball team looking on.

Seattle will continue its preparations Thursday with practice at the same time as today—4:15 p.m. Mountain Time.

January 28, 2015 at 6:27 PM

Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman turn authors

In case you missed it, both Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman had first-person stories this week that are worth reading.

First, here's Wilson's latest piece for The Players Tribune, talking about the comeback over the Packers and how Seattle overcame some of the bumps in the road to get back to the Super Bowl.

And here's the SI.com story by Sherman in which he reveals, among other things, that he is about to become a father.

January 28, 2015 at 6:23 PM

Extra Points Video: Three takeaways from Super Bowl Wednesday

Seattle Times sports reporters Bob Condotta and Jayson Jenks discuss their three biggest takeaways from what happened Wednesday as the Seattle Seahawks prepare for Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix.

January 28, 2015 at 6:10 PM

Seahawks fully healthy for Wednesday Super Bowl practice

Seattle's injury report for its Wednesday practice here at Arizona State University in preparation for the Super Bowl was as short as possible.

The team reported that all 53 players on the active roster were full participants.

That includes the two players who suffered notable injuries in the NFC title game --- safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman.

Sherman was a full participant last week and has said whenever asked he will be good to go for the Super Bowl.

Thomas did not take part in Wednesday and Thursday practices last week and then was a limited participant on Friday.

But he fully participated today, having said during the media sessions earlier in the day that he was feeling better with each day after dislocating his shoulder against the Packers.

"I've come so far,'' Thomas said. "I feel so much better. Each day, it's surprised me because this is my first time with the injury and you don't know what to expect. It has just been positive results from the trainers. They're doing a great job with me.''

Also worth noting is that Marshawn Lynch was listed as  full participant. He usually sat out Wednesday practices during the regular season. But the bye week apparently has him rested and he took part fully today.

Here is the report:

 

January 28, 2015 at 5:04 PM

New England's injury report for Wednesday

Here is New England's injury and participation report for Wednesday.

The biggest thing to watch is the health of center Bryan Stork, who missed the AFC title game. He was listed as limited today with a sore knee.

 

 

January 28, 2015 at 4:46 PM

Poll: Who is winning the battle of mandatory media appearances?

January 28, 2015 at 1:02 PM

Seahawks quote-a-rama: Pete Carroll, Dan Quinn, Michael Bennett, Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman and more

The Seahawks had media availability on Wednesday. Every player was available to talk. Here's some transcripts from the media gatherings, including Pete Carroll, Dan Quinn, Michael Bennett, Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson and more.

HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL

(on how much he will embrace practice today) “This is finally the day we get into the weekly routine, practice-wise. There is still a lot that goes on just in getting to the practice field today, but once we’re there, we’ll be in pretty good shape and it should feel very comfortable for the team.”

(on the core of he and general manager John Schneider’s success) “I think at the core it’s a philosophy, it’s an approach that we agree upon and there are a number of, kind of tenets you know, but developing a really competitive roster, keeping it young, always trying to upgrade. That mentality is really pervading. It shows up everywhere. The style of play that we want, that we agreed to, about being a physical team and running the football and playing defense on teams, and with that thought, those are all just kind of the tenets that we’ve built it on and we’ve tried to remain uncommonly consistent in that commitment. I think that’s at the core of everything.”

(on the late practice time and what ‘competition Wednesdays’ are about) “Why, are we practicing late? The schedule based on the media commitment and all that kind of fits us into this time slot. We’ll be on the practice field and really starting practice at game time. The game starts at 4:29 and we’re rolling. So, we have a little bit of a benefit for these two days that we’re going to try to feel comfortable with that time slot and getting up in the morning and all that, so we’ll make the most of that. This day is the first day of the week for us on the field and so the central theme in the program is competition so we, in essence, focus on competing on this day, not necessarily about the opponent, it doesn’t have anything to do with that. There are game plan issues of course that we cover, but this is really to get it going back, to leave what has happened before, the game that happened before, the events that happened before, to put us on course with the normal week. So, we compete. There will be a lot of work one-on-ones today. We work offense against defense right off the bat in practice to get the tempo and the speed and the feel that we want to begin the practice. The rest of the session is really at a high level. It’s really about making this a great practice day and that means that we want to compete whenever we can. That’s what happens. We keep score, somebody is going to win, somebody is going to lose today.”

(on the three things his players have said all week about loving your brother, perseverance and finishing) “I realize how consistent they were yesterday too, with all the questions that were asked, that they’re on that and they understand that we’ve turned our focus to kind of the essence of team, which is really playing for one another. We also know that the perseverance part you bring up is about competing and battling and there is nothing that’s going to get in the way of us getting to the point where we’re playing the way we want to play. That’s what we’re trying to focus on. Then finishing, it’s always been about finishing. It ain’t about how you start, it’s how you finish. That’s something that we’ve taken for years as a base principle of this plan, to put this team in motion. There is a lot that goes into that, more than I used to coach too, so it’s been a really cool thing to focus on for our guys.”

(on having his son, assistant wide receivers coach Nate Carroll, on his coaching staff) “It’s truly a treasure for me. To have the chance to have Nate to be on this staff and watch him develop over the years he’s been with us and grow as a coach. To compete with your son, really at this level, to battle and to work day and night to try to figure out ways to try to win football games and you’re doing it with those that you love, it just makes it a cherished time for us. More so maybe for me than him, but I feel very fortunate that we get to do that together.”

(on what he thinks Junior Seau’s legacy is and what connection he had with Seau) “Really through the USC (University of Southern California) connection, Junior was a heralded college player in all of the same ways that he carried on to his professional days. He was an extraordinary guy because his spirit was so obvious. He was so strong with the way he expressed himself and the effect he had on people around him. The number that he wore, 55, back in college days was a big deal when I arrived there to find out that there was a great legacy there in school. I think the style of play that he brought to the league, he was so outgoing and so aggressive and took chances and was a big risk taker. We looked at him when we had to coach against him because he would always try to find a way to run through and make a play in the backfield and then he would celebrate like crazy and try to get every ounce out of the moment. It really made him unique and made him special and has, I think, always singled him out. He was so true to the person that he is. He was so consistently that way, he was a remarkable kid.”

(on how difficult it was to see New England cornerback Brandon Browner leave after his time with the Seahawks) “Brandon was really one of the core guys for us. We loved what he did for our time as he contributed to kind of the mindset and growth of the group. If you’ll notice our guys, they’ll talk about him with an endearing manner. They really care about him. He was there at the start of it all and to me, it’s a really cool story because we knew about him all the way back in his high school days. Seeing him come through in our program and do well, it was a shame that we weren’t able to maintain it, but that’s kind of how this thing goes sometimes. You don’t always get to do it with the guys you want to and it changes. Those tough decisions occur every year. But, we wish him the very best and he’s a great competitor and he’s going to battle just as we’re going to battle and it’ll be really fun to be on the field with him.”

(on if the comeback in the fourth quarter of the 2012 Divisional Playoff game against Atlanta was the first time people nationally looked at Russell Wilson and what he could do late in games and if it also opened his eyes to Wilson despite losing the game) “No, I don’t think so. I think it was significant in that we gave up that opportunity. We felt like we really had that game and there are 34 seconds left and they come back and beat us. They did a great job to finish that one. We were so close to capping off a great comeback and a statement to go to the next level. I think earlier than that we had discovered that Russell could be a centerpiece in those kinds of situations. I think the Chicago game might have been the one. He had a chance the first game of the year against the Cardinals, we almost won. I think it was more so that the Chicago game was when that really happened significantly. That was a great moment for us to really make a statement that we could do it again in a playoff situation and we didn’t get it done. So, in that regard, it’s still a significant occurrence because we were playing pretty good football at the time and we let one get away from us. But, I think it goes all the way back to Chicago.”

(on how and why the season turned around for his team and if he thinks you can win with integrity in the NFL) “Two pretty different questions there, good job. We did make a significant shift. It sounds like that’s the only time it has ever happened to our team, but we did the same thing the year before, the same thing where we were faced with a similar situation where we weren’t playing very well. We kind of lost connection with the fundamentals and the style of play that we wanted to demonstrate and we discovered them. We did the same thing this year. A little different storyline, a little different way of getting to it, but the same kind of pain you go through that makes you have to get to those moments. That’s kind of what happens to teams in most sports. There is a moment when things have an opportunity to go one way or the other and fortunately in the last couple years, we’ve been able to turn it to the positive where it helped us grow and get better as a team, so that’s that. Then, the question of integrity, I think it should be only understood that we wish to maintain the highest level of integrity. That doesn’t mean that we always make the right choices and we do the right things in all of our lives. We make mistakes, we screw up. We misinterpret a situation and we don’t handle it properly. The integrity is demonstrated by how you come out of that I think, not by the fact that you falter and you err. I think it’s how you respond to it and then do you respond and stick to the right manner and stay on the right path. I think that’s what we’re faced with. We dwell so much on the issue, I think really the crucial aspect of this is how do you respond. Do you face up to the truth? Do you get to it and do you work to do the right thing? Even then we make mistakes, we continue to falter. But, that’s not because we’re not trying to act with the highest of standards. I think the league is working really hard to do that and we have a tremendous responsibility. Everybody is watching, everybody cares. We have a chance to help people learn also how to right their own issues in the way we demonstrate. I think we’re fortunate to have this responsibility and we’re called on to do the right thing as best we possibly can. I think the league is trying to do that.”

(on the different ways that cornerback Richard Sherman and New England cornerback Darrelle Revis have gone about becoming the best corners in the league and the differences in their game) “I don’t know Darrelle that well, other than to watch him on film. I don’t know the person at all. But, both of those guys play with a recognizable style of awareness and savvy and instinct that I think separates guys from being really good to being great players. They can make plays in crucial situations. They make unusual plays. They see things before other people see them and they respond with the courage that comes from being a confident premiere type of player. It’s interesting, I would say as I look at it technically, they don’t play within the same style, but yet the results are really similar. I think it’s a great opportunity for an astute fan to really watch these guys and see how they play and see what happens in the game, see how the offenses give those guys their opportunities to do what they can do and it’ll be cool to see what happens. I’m looking forward to seeing it too.”

(on what he feels helped develop the relaxed and calm demeanor he displays in this setting and if his team’s play is a reflection of that) “I think it’s reps. Just a question of reps. There have been a lot of these opportunities. I do feel comfortable in this situation and I would hope that our players would feel comfortable in this situation as well for the same reason, because we’ve practiced, we’ve repped it out. We know what to expect. We kind of can anticipate what it’s going to be like, so that we can feel comfortable in that situation. Not comfortable, not caring, it’s comfortable and secure, trusting that the preparation will allow you to do well. In that regard, I hope we all fit together in that. If you see our team and you think they look relaxed, well they are to a certain extent. They’re thrilled to be in this situation. They can’t wait to go play the football game. They can’t wait to go play the way we like to play. We don’t have any idea how the result is going to come out. This is a great football team we’re playing and we don’t know who is going to win or lose, but we know how we want to play. We also are practicing, daily, how we want to take this on. We’ve worked really hard on our mindset to be able to enjoy, embrace the opportunity and make the most of it and that’s what we’re going to try to do and we’ll see what happens.”

(on if he ever talks to Marshawn Lynch about how he is possibly missing an opportunity to communicate with fans) “I think that you’re seeing a demonstration of a guy being himself and not being what everybody wants him to be. That is why you will continue to hear our players support him. He’s trying to do the best job he can of being him, and maybe you don’t feel that that’s what he should do, but that is what is going on. In that sense, he’s being true to himself and we understand that. I understand that people would like to see him do different things. He’s not comfortable with that, so that’s what he’s telling you. He’s doing it exactly the way he knows how to do it best. That conversation about supporting the person that he is, we talk about all the time. That is a mainstay of our conversation within going along with what it’s all about, which is being a team member and he’s an incredible team member. This environment just isn’t one that you get to see him in the way you want to see him. You’re seeing him as he is and in that regard, it is what it is.”

(on offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s comments on Russell Wilson’s special awareness and how they use that ability to the best of the offense) “We recognized real early that he is a tremendous all-around athlete. He can play basketball, he can play baseball, he can play football obviously. There is nothing that is difficult for him. He can pick up a tennis racket, he can hit a golf ball. He just can do all those things. That’s just his make-up. To allow him, and to really kind of promote his opportunities to take advantage of that, is what we do. We have strict rhythm, quick passing game. We’ve got play-action stuff, we’ve got him out of the pocket and then there is a whole other realm of his game that he can demonstrate and we totally love it when he does all of that. He’s shown over the years that he is really comfortable in those settings and he makes great choices when he’s out of the pocket. It’s really just managing the array of things that come out during the course of a game and sometimes we just don’t know. When he’s at his best is when he’s able to create and take it to a different level. We promote it and we’re excited about it and we want to be the best scrambling team in football, run and pass. That’s what we work to be.”

(on being a second-opportunity or ‘re-tread’ coach and what advantages there are to being a second-opportunity coach) “Well, coming from a ‘re-tread’ (laughing), multiple times, it’s just experiences. This is a really difficult job the first time. There are so many things that happen in this position that you just can’t predict and you just don’t know and you don’t see it coming in your preparation. You just have to deal with it as it hits you. Everybody is going to falter and make mistakes and say, ‘I wish I would have known then what I know now.’ That’s going to happen. What unfortunately doesn’t always happen is guys get enough time to work through those early years so that you can find your way and you can find your voice and you can find your perspective. So, often guys get kicked out. I got kicked out after one year at the Jets. I didn’t even get started figuring that thing out, I was a mess. But, those experiences are extraordinarily valuable and I can see why owners look to a guy who has had experiences. To hire a guy like John Fox, how could you not want to hire John Fox? He’s done everything. He’s been through it all and he’s a great coach and a communicator. I understand why guys get a second chance in that regard. It’s based on the accumulated experiences that give you more wisdom, more understanding, and also an opportunity to see a guy. You’ve seen them in situations and you know more so what you’re getting. I think that happens too.”

(on what prompted him to put the tackling video together with defensive passing game coordinator Rocky Seto and what feedback he has gotten from coaches on all levels) “What prompted it was looking at the Heads Up videos that were on TV and realized there was a lot of room here to expand the coaching of this part of the game, the tackling part of it. We’ve been involved with this kind of tackling stuff for years, way back into our USC days. So, we just decided that let’s make an effort, let’s see what happens. Let’s see if we throw something together with our thoughts, let’s share it with whomever wants to see it and see if we can’t help the game a little bit. It’s a culmination of myself, personally making the transition of not fighting the old way and giving in to that we’ve got to take care of our players in a better way. We have found that you can tackle and totally emphasize shoulder tackling and getting your head out of football and really that coincides so much with the language and the message we’ve heard come about for all of the right reasons, that we wanted to share it, so we did. With The Huddle Company that distributes stuff to all of the high school coaches, 14,000 high school coaches and thousands of youth coaches, we thought maybe we can get the word out. When I first asked Roger (Goodell) and sent it to the league and said what do you think, and one of the first phone calls I got was from Coach John Madden. He called and said, ‘Where has this been? We’ve needed this. This gives us an opportunity to shift the language some and the focus.’ First off, it was like talking to Frank Caliendo on the phone (laughing), I wasn’t sure. That was a really big statement that validated that we’re on the right track and so, it’s gone out. I know that the league sent it out to everybody that they send stuff out to, so thousands and thousands of people. The responses that we get have all almost always been favorable. I love the responses we get from coaches that say, ‘Thanks for doing this because it helps us with our kids,’ or whatever. This is just the start though. I think there are next, following steps that will help us continue to get the head out of football, make this game safer than it has ever been. We have taken a lead in language from rugby and the Rugby Associations around the world that play and have made a similar step. We follow in hand. We can practice tackling without our helmets on and that’s a really good statement of affecting this game I think in a positive way. We kind of lucked into this thing and stumbled into it and it hit pretty good, but there is a lot more to come if we follow this up properly.”

(on if there is ever a danger of expecting that this is normal to play in the Super Bowl being here for a second time) “There is. The questions come up like the normal traps, are you going to be over-confident? Are you going to overlook? It’s not the first time, so you’re not as excited and stuff like that. People used to say that when you’d go to the Rose Bowl year after year and they think it’s not any fun anymore. I don’t get that, I don’t understand that. This is the greatest opportunity that we have. I think our players understand that. It takes a tremendous amount to get here the first time, it takes another tremendous amount of effort to get here a second time. Now that it’s here, for us to miss the emphasis and undershoot this thing, it’s not going to happen. That has nothing to do with winning or losing. This is a great team that we’re playing against. They have every reason in the world to win and to outplay whoever they play and whomever they play. But, we’re going for it again. We’re going to try to do this again. I think the fact that we’ve been here before helps us. The fact that we did it mindfully and we knew what we did to get here and we took accounting on the way, we’ve used that experience to help us get back on track and to get here. Now that we’re here I think we can do something really special with it if we can play a good football game. We’re so fortunate to be here and we’re not going to miss this opportunity to go for it.”

-SB XLIX-

 

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR DAN QUINN

 

(on his defensive coaching style) “I think our guys will just never back down from a challenge. One of the words we use a lot is fast and physical. We don’t play tons of different styles of defense, but the things that we do play we play well. It’s not what we play, it’s how we play it. I think those guys with the intensity and the challenges that they face it’s a great group to be apart of.

(on if he coaches his players more or just focuses on coaching the system) “That’s a good question. I would say more towards the players. We really try to feature what those guys do best. When we do that, we put them in their best spots to play like they’re capable of, and that’s when we’re at our best. We’re trying to be the best fundamental team above all. That’s our tackling, that’s the way we go after the football. When you have too much scheme, sometimes it’s hard to work on all the things you have to and you can make effort the top priority of your game. For us, it’s a real balance between how much scheme we do compared to here’s the things that the players do best.”

(on what Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor has to do to stop Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski) “Nothing that he doesn’t normally do. It’s the physical play. He’s a terrific tackler. Of course when he plays our three-deep, he’s an important guy for us to play in the hooks. When we play man-to-man, certainly will have linebackers and safeties featured on him. That’s where Kam’s at his best when he’s down closer to the line of scrimmage.”

(on preparation for New England’s complicated formations) “I think different teams have different challenges as you go through. For them, that was another package that they do, so I think they’re able to attack in a number of different ways. You have to go through all the process whether they want to play empty, whether they want to play ineligible positions at receiver spots. All those are ones that we practice, so it’s a great challenge but one that we’re definitely looking forward to.”

(on how his game plan fits in with team’s defensive philosophy to win possessions) “As you know, they have a big package too, so whatever style they’re going to play, it could be three receivers, four receivers, they can get big to play. Fortunately for us we have enough pressures if we want to play into a nickel game or if they want to get big and run the ball. Just look at the two examples between the Baltimore game and the Indy game. Baltimore they had like 13 or 14 runs for the game. In the Indy game, it was in the 40s. As you go into it when you’re playing these type of teams that really game plan for that team, you really have to be ready for what’s about to come. It could be a number of different things when they go to play that way. For us, playing San Francisco was that way. Our style, in terms of how we play and the attitude is really the thing that matters the most to us. The way we go after the ball, the way we tackle, those are the things that make us hard to beat.”

(on the simplicity of the Seahawks defensive scheme) “It allows you to be kind of be freed up mentally. It allows you to even play faster. There’s not another check. There’s not another alert. We think you’re able to play even faster when you don’t do as many schemes. For us, one of things we say is it’s not what we play or what we call, it’s how we play it. That style and that attitude that all these guys have like Kam (Chancellor) and ET (Earl Thomas) and (Byron) Maxwell, the way they play is the biggest difference.”

(on whether or not guys like cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas can stay within the scheme when they don’t get a lot of action in a game) “I think they can. That’s really the challenge, especially with (Richard) Sherman. There’s so many times where action didn’t go his way. It could be like, ‘Well, I’m going to go take a chance and try to make a play here.’ That took extreme discipline by him to say, ‘I need to play within the system. When my opportunities come here, then I’ll go get the ball.’ There were games where he just didn’t get a lot of activity to his side. It’s a really challenge for him to focus to do that and same with ET (Earl Thomas) where he’s such a ball hawk. He so wants to go get it, but it’s like, ‘Okay, I’ve got to make sure what I do first to help out the team.’”

(on New England’s time of possession in a game) “That’s what’s hard for us. They’re just so consistent on these possessions that they’re able to keep the ball away from Russ (Russell Wilson) and the guys. For us, we want to steal a couple of possessions by taking the ball. That’s one of the things that we practice so hard in terms of getting our takeaways. The third down in this game is going to be critical. Just knowing that we can get them off the field. They’re such an effective group. They can use Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) and even Shane Vereen to that extent as a third down player. ET (Earl Thomas) in specific, he’s a huge factor for us. He totally is just by the way he plays. He’s such a relentless competitor. You have to go back and look at it, but after he dislocated his shoulder, he came back and hit (Eddie) Lacy as hard as he could with the same shoulder. I think that play sums up his intensity that he has because the naturally thing would be, ‘Okay, I’m going to hit this dude with my other shoulder.’ It was just the opposite. It was, ‘I’m going to stay true to who I am.’ He’s such a unique guy. We try to celebrate tat uniqueness with him. He’s very thoughtful in what he’s trying to say, but he’s such a competitor. If 10 is the high, he’s an 11. He comes to walk-through with a mouthpiece in. He wants to feel like it’s game day. Those are like the little things that probably nobody knows about. His intensity level doesn’t change.

(on if Earl Thomas will be the x-factor for his defense in this game) “I certainly think he’s going to be a factor because of the speed that he plays with. How can he not be? He’s such an intense guy. He would be, and I think Kam Chancellor would be too. We ask Kam to do so many different things where he plays hook in the three deep, he plays man-to-man. He’s as physical of tackler as we get. For the players, that’s like big brother. Don’t mess with that dude. Their intensity, their mindset, I think those two guys would be guys to talk about.”

(on how he manages the secondary to corral the energy in the secondary) “Well, this is going to sound funny but that intensity those guys play with, they practice like that. It’s not like where they just pick it up on game day. I think that’s one of the great things about their intensity. Their practice habits are terrific. I’ve been around some really good guys from different teams. In terms of bringing it to practice. When I was in San Francisco, Bryant Young was that way. Every practice on it. During my time in Miami, Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas had that. Junior Seau was that way. There’s very few guys that are on it Wednesday, Thursday, Friday where the intensity doesn’t stop. The mindset doesn’t stop. That’s what’s one of the really cool things about those guys. It’s not okay to let a ball get completed on them in walk-though. We might have a walk-through session and if there’s a ball thrown in (Richard) Sherman’s direction, the guy doesn’t catch it. There’s just this great tremendous competitive side of them. They feed off it with one another. You have it, I have it, we all have it. Those are pretty cool things.”

(on if he has to dial it back in practice so guys don’t fight) “Not necessarily from a fight standpoint. At times we’ll just say, ‘Hey, be a great teammate.’ One of our rules of our team is protecting our team. A great teammate can do a lot of good things. As competitive as it gets sometimes at practice, as he heated as it does get, I think we always come back and know what we’re competing for so our team can play as well as it can. There’s no time where it’s cool and you and me are at odds.”

(on what allows guys to step up when called upon in the secondary) “I think one guy we don’t talk about enough is Kris Richard, the defensive backs coach. He has developed and had a huge impact on a lot of these guys. We have real belief in our system in terms of style and how we play. There’s so many things that a new player or a young player might get caught up in all the different ways, so we really try to feature what the guys do best. Fortunately for us we’re able to play with corners who have length at the line of scrimmage, and then just the way that our safeties play right now with Kam (Chancellor) and ET (Earl Thomas), it matches up perfectly.”

(on Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas) “Their roles are different, but their value to our team is so critical. Kam who plays in our hooks in all our three-deeps. He plays a lot of man-to-man. He’s as physical of a tackler that you’ll find. He works at it hard, really hard. Not just the contact, it’s tracking a guy and knowing how to tackle. Those are some of the important things for us. He’s a player where just the intensity that he brings to our team is huge.”

-SB XLIX- 

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR DARRELL BEVELL

 

(on the team being loose this week) “That is what we are trying to do and that is how coach created it. Obviously we have been here one time, so we have done this before, but we are trying to do the same things we do each and every week. This is how our team is. We are trying not to change anything. We prepare each week like we are playing in a championship opportunity so that when we get here we are able to act, and be, like we are right now.”

(on how they are preparing to face New England) “We are looking at a lot of tape, really. We are trying to make sure that we don’t over-prepare, but there are games that you look at this year. You try to look at the style of the quarterback, whether it is a (Ryan) Tannehill or that kind of thing, guys that have a little more mobility. They play so many things and they have so many different combinations of personnel, so many different fronts, that you really can’t know going in how they are going to play us. We are going to have to be able to adjust.”

(on the value of running back Robert Turbin and fullback Will Tukuafu in their offense) “They are both big parts of what we do. Turbo gets opportunities every time Marshawn (Lynch) comes out and he has been really big for us. He has made some big catches and had some big runs. Will has been a really nice addition. It gave us, once ‘DC’ (Derrick Coleman) went down, it gave us a really big presence back there. He is a physical player, yet he is nimble enough to be able to get out in the flat, catch the ball and do some nice things.”

(on Turbin taking advantage of his limited opportunities) “He does a great job. Number one, he understands his role and he embraces that role. He doesn’t gripe and complain about the role he is in. He is very prepared. If something happened and he had to play every snap, there would be no question that he would be able to get it done. He is a true professional who works hard at his craft. He tries to get better every day. No detail is too small for him. That is why you like guys like that in that role.”

(on growing up playing football locally in Arizona) “Yeah, this is where it all started for me. My freshman year at Sahuaro (Tucson, AZ) High School and then transferring to be with my dad at Chaparral (Scottsdale, AZ) High School. I learned a lot of things from my father growing up. He is really the one who shaped me and helped me get where I am today. I remember sitting in our kitchen watching film with him, as he was coaching even before I was in high school. Those are some of the things I remember. I remember some of the good rivalries. I remember once I went to Chaparral, going back to play against Sahuaro, in those types of games. It was a fun time.”

(on the chance to win a Super Bowl in his home state) “That would be extra special. You get to share it with your friends and your family a little bit. It is right here in your back yard. Everyone gets to say, ‘Yeah, I remember when he went to Chaparral.’ It is really cool and exciting to be back.”

(on what kind of challenge cornerback Darrelle Revis presents) “It is a guy who can kind of lock down that side of the field. He is a very talented player. Obviously, we know he has great ball skills and he can cover man-to-man. So he is a guy who you have to be conscious of.”

(on how Revis’ skill set compares to cornerback Brandon Browner’s) “We have a lot more familiarity with Browner. We were able to work against him in practice and see him every day. Both them, they have similar things. Obviously, Browner is longer. He can get up and play press coverage, bump-and-run. But Revis does that just the same. If they want to, they can put those two guys on islands, which lets them, inside, be more creative with rushes and pressures and that sort of thing.”

(on how his receivers did against the Green Bay secondary in the NFC Championship game) “Green Bay had a good game plan. They did a really nice job against us. It took us a little bit of time to adjust to some of the things they were doing. But once we got it going I think our guys did pretty well. It is just a little bit different. We had to see it and make some adjustments and get it done.”

(on what Green Bay’s secondary was doing that was different) “Just some of the coverages that they were trying to use. They played a little bit more ‘robber’ type coverage, which gives a little bit different leverage for the receivers. It was something different that we had to work against.”

(on if quarterback Russell Wilson’s style of play will change the definition of what a franchise quarterback is) “I think he is changing the conversation about it. I think that when a lot of people looked at it before they just looked at that number, 5-10 and a half, and that knocked him down, including us. We took him in the third round, which we felt like we were kind of pushing the envelope to get him there. But that is the first conversation that happened. So now it has started to change because of how he plays. He is playing really well, playing at a high level. He is the winningest quarterback at this time in his career. So yeah, it is definitely going to change how people look at the position. There are still going to be traditionalists who look for certain things, but really you are looking for a guy who can win games. And however he can do it, you have to be able to bring those skill sets out.”

(on getting off to a good start on both offense and defense like they did against Denver last year) “Obviously getting off to a good start helps, but that is not something that we talk about or that we are looking for. We’re not saying, ‘Hey, let’s start fast. We need to do this or that.’ We don’t really care how we start. We talk about playing for 60 minutes and making sure that we finish the game, and that we don’t judge it along the way. A great example is the most recent game that we played. We didn’t get off to a good start. It didn’t look good early. You don’t win it in the first quarter. That is something that we have prepared the guys with, to be able to handle situations just like last week.”

(on if he will call this year’s Super Bowl differently) “I am always, early, concerned about what I am trying to get done. There are certain things that I am trying to do early. There are some conscious decisions that are made early. But that is not about protecting (Wilson) or anything like that. It is maybe just what we are trying to get done, what we are looking for, what we are going to see out of the defense. All those kind of things are what we are trying to get done early.”

(on if this will be a more cerebral coaching matchup going against New England Head Coach Bill Belichick) “You don’t know exactly what you are going to get. You don’t know exactly what you are going to be faced with. So you are definitely going to have to be prepared to make some in-game adjustments, whether it is fronts, or coverages, or whatever it might be. But you know you are going to have to be prepared.”

(on what allows Wilson to be so good as a pocket passer and running the read-option) “Obviously, the skill set. He has the ability to run a 4.4 (40-yard dash) and he makes great decisions. He makes great decisions on when to pull it, and he also makes great decisions when, ‘Okay, I have enough yards, maybe it is time to get down or get out of bounds.’ So those are some of the things that come to mind.”

(on how much Wilson’s zone read and scrambling abilities factor into his game plans) “That is who we are. It is a big part of what we do. At some point, he is going to move around. I am not saying the zone read, or whatever. I am saying that you know Russell is going to be moving around and obviously, that is one of his strengths. But we can run (Jim) Harbaugh plays, run right at you. The zone read is part of what we do. Play action is part of what we do, dropping back and getting him out of the pocket. We are just going to be the same Seattle Seahawks and try to have our offense function that way.”

(on whether it is planned for Wilson to run on the read option plays or whether that really is improvised) “We don’t want (Wilson) to be a runner. We want Marshawn (Lynch) running. If the defense dictates that (Wilson) needs to keep it, he is willing and able to do that. But we like Marshawn carrying the ball most of the time.”

(on the pressure that Wilson puts on defenses with his ability to move around) “That is a huge factor for us. There is the play, then all the sudden it is like, here we go. A play can break down and (Wilson) is so good with his feet, he is so good with his eyes, and he is so good with his awareness that he is able to keep some plays alive and make something out of nothing.”

(on defenses having to stay disciplined against the read option) “Right. It is a challenge. Not only are we running the zone read but there are other things that we are doing off of it. You do need to be really disciplined as a defense. We get to work against a great defense each and every week to practice those kind of things. We are hoping that it presents problems.”

(on where things can go for Russell Wilson in terms of his legacy) “I don’t know exactly how you are going to be able to rank him. Where people will put him when the history books are written. But the bottom line is winning games, and that is what Russell does. At this point in time he is the winningest quarterback in the history of the league and if he is able to add Super Bowls he is going to have to be in that conversation.”

(on getting to work with Wilson while he is at such a young age) “It is so much fun. Not only because of the skill set that he has and what he is able to bring, but because of who he is. He is a great guy to be around each and every day. He is such a hard worker and it is important to him. He wants to be the best who has ever done it, and he doesn’t just say it. He goes about it in his everyday preparations to be able to make that happen.”

(on Wilson’s ability to rise to the occasion) “I don’t know, when the history books are written, where he is going to end up. But as a quarterback, you are supposed to win the game. That is the bottom line that you should be measured by. He is doing a pretty good job of that right now. If he continues to do that, if he continues to lead his team, win games, win Super Bowls, he will definitely be in that conversation in the end.”

 

-SB XLIX-

 

 

 

QUARTERBACK RUSSELL WILSON

(on being back in the Super Bowl and the team’s routine for the week) “Well, it’s exciting being in Arizona and to obviously be playing in Super Bowl XLIX. It’s something that we’ve been waiting for. Our goal is one mission, to get here, so to finally get down here, get down here on Sunday and then practice on Monday, which was kind of a bonus Monday for us to get our bodies going again, get our minds going again about the plays that we have installed, and then Competition Wednesday is today. That’s where we heat up our practice. I think that’s where our season is made, throughout the way we practice and Competition Wednesday, hopefully no Turnover Thursday and No Repeat Friday.”

(on finding a solitary spot in stadiums to calm himself before and during games, when he went to that spot in the NFC Championship game and if he has a location at University of Phoenix Stadium) “Jermaine Kearse and I, we always – I told Jermaine about my finding a spot in the stadium that kind of brings me back down to zero. I told him that last year and we’ve talked about it a lot this year. So obviously, you asked about the NFC Championship game, finding a spot in the stadium. I always have the same spot in CenturyLink. I’m not going to tell anybody where it is, but it’s a good one. It just worked for me. It lets me relax. It lets me focus on the moment more than anything else. In this stadium, I’ve played in Arizona a good amount. This is where actually I played my first NFL football game as a rookie, my first start ever, the first game of the year. So I’m very familiar with this stadium. So I’ll make sure I find a good one and make sure that – maybe I’ll pick the same one I picked last time we were here.”

(on the use of the zone read from a quarterback’s perspective and its importance) “I think for us, our running game relies on Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin to do their job, and they do a phenomenal job. Our offensive line does a great job of creating lanes and creating holes for them. In terms of our zone read, I’m honestly trying to give the ball to Marshawn Lynch 99 percent of the time. That one percent I’ll take if it’s just wide open for me. I want to feed the beast. I want to hand him the football and that’s what makes him the best running back in the National Football League. And then to have a guy that can come in and jump to Robert Turbin, who’s really a starting-type running back, it really helps us. So in terms of our game plan, we try to mix it up. (Offensive Coordinator) Coach (Darrell) Bevell and (Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line) Coach (Tom) Cable do a great job of mixing up the runs and mixing up the pass game and having a great balance of 50-50. I think it makes it very challenging for a defense to figure out who to stop. If they get Marshawn, then I’m over here in the other direction. It’s tough in terms of that, but I think, like I said, the ultimate goal is to hand the ball off to the best running back in the National Football League.”

(on how no longer being underdogs affects his mentality and leadership) “Our mindset doesn’t change, you know? Ever since I’ve gotten here, we’ve had a championship mindset the past three years. It’s about winning games, putting ourselves in a great position to win and be successful every time we step out on the field. So no matter if three years ago when people didn’t think about the Seattle Seahawks at all, or if it’s right now when we’re in first place, it’s one of those things that’s never changed for us. The game is the game. We know that the New England Patriots are a great football team. We know that they’re going to battle. They have an unbelievable quarterback, arguably one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, in Tom Brady. So we’re going to have to play our best football game, and we’re going to have to be in it and we’re going to be locked in. In terms of the leadership part of it, it’s not just me; it’s everybody. We have a lot of leaders on this football team and that’s what makes our team so unique and so challenging to play, because there are so many guys that will step up as you saw in the NFC Championship game – Jermaine Kearse, Doug Baldwin. You also see guys like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett in the defensive line, Bobby Wagner, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman– those type of guys. And then you get a guy like Chris Matthews who makes a big-time play on the onside kick. You just have so many guys that can lead and make plays for us. It makes it really challenging on a defense and a team just in general when you never know who is going to make the play. So that’s a great thing about our team.”

(on if he has put thought into his next contract and potentially taking less money to keep the team intact) “I really honestly haven’t thought anything about it, honestly. I’m just blessed to be on this football team and for us to be a part of it. God willing, if that happens, it’s great. The focus is on winning the second Super Bowl and trying to find a way to win this game and go 1-0.”

(on e-mailing with Tom Brady through a mutual friend) “The mutual friend – I’m not sure if I should give that information out, but no, it’s (Wheels Up Co-Founder and CEO) Kenny Dichter. I’m real good friends with him. He’s a University of Wisconsin grad who I know really well, and Kenny flies Wheels Up, so that’s how I know Tom. We’ve shared e-mails back and forth. The funny thing is Kenny shared an e-mail with Tom and I and then back and forth. I told Kenny, I said, ‘Hey,’ – this is right before the playoffs started I believe, and I told Kenny that, ‘Hey, we’re probably going to play Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. Get ready for it.’ And Tom, the day before or the same day, said the same thing. It’s just funny how that worked out.”

(on the team meeting following Seattle’s loss to Kansas City in Week 11 and how the team moved forward from that game) “After the Kansas City game, we were 6-4 and we played a tough team in Kansas City, a great team in Kansas City, in Arrowhead, and we lost a tough game we felt like we should have won. We really had to pull everybody together and have the leaders come in, a players-only-type meeting, and we talked and communicated about what we needed to do. We were very open. We thought that we were so close to being unbelievable again and being successful and just hitting our mark the way we needed to. But we had to talk about some stuff, and so I think for us, we took away any selfishness. Now, we’re not the type of team that’s very selfish at all, but we had to take away any selfishness – worrying about stats, worrying about this or that. We had to focus on being selfless for one another, to play for each other. We kind of talked about the idea of ‘Today I play for you,’ and that idea. So that’s kind of been our motto in terms of practice, in terms of playing games especially. It’s not about me or it’s not about this guy over here or that guy. We have so many guys that care about one another and we want to play for each other, we want to win for each other, and that’s why we are (where we are) today. I just think the leadership that we have on this team makes the difference for our team. Across the board, the togetherness that we have and just the swagger, the fight that we play with, the energy level that we play with, it’s tough to beat. It’s just we have so many guys that can play and that’s the great thing about it.”

(on if he can envision himself playing at a championship level 10 years after his first Super Bowl appearance as Tom Brady is doing) “I definitely can. For me, I visualize success every day. I never visualize failure and I visualize being at the top every time, that’s just my mindset. I never waver from that and I think that’s a credit to my parents and, really, how they raised me. They used to teach me the discipline of getting up early in the morning, the discipline of doing things the right way, the discipline of loving the people that you have around you and surrounding yourself – that’s kind of what I wrote in my article for The Players’ Tribune that went out yesterday, surrender and surround. It’s about surrendering to a bigger cause and focusing on what you really want to focus on, but also surrounding yourself around great people. And the people that I have around me allow me to be successful. It’s not just me. I’m grateful to be on this football team and I also push those guys, too. It’s a reciprocal relationship in that way and that allows me to have a chance to win a lot of football games. I think the evolution of our football team just keeps rising. We want to keep getting better every time we step on the practice field, every time we go in a meeting room, every time we play a game. Our goal is to be the best and nothing less is good enough for us in our mindset. So that’s where I think the separation is for us.”

(on if he agrees with the recent fines received by Marshawn Lynch and if he thinks the NFL is focusing on the right issues) “I can’t talk too much about the fines, but I just think that sometimes we focus on the little details that don’t matter, they don’t make any difference. I think that Marshawn’s a great football player, a guy that puts his work in every day, a guy that is dedicated to the game of football and dedicated to his teammates. There’s times I don’t think he should be fined, that’s for sure, especially to the extent that people try to fine him for. That’s just my honest opinion. I think the guy loves the game, people love the way he is, and sometimes people try to take certain things away from people, the way they are. I don’t know. I don’t think he should be fined for it, personally.”

-SB XLIX-

 

CORNERBACK RICHARD SHERMAN

 

(on growing up in Compton, California) “Growing up in Compton, you just deal with different things than I guess a regular neighborhood would deal with. You deal with a lot more adversity, a lot more different pressures I guess? Adversity, different things, diversity, different people trying to pull you in different directions. I didn’t realize every place wasn’t like that until you leave, until you leave and you visit other neighborhoods and you realize that other neighborhoods don’t just have drug dealers around and crack addicts walking down the street, and violence on a daily basis, police helicopters and things roaming around. Once you learn that, you’re kind of grateful for that environment in which you were brought up because you know if you can survive there, you can survive anywhere.”

(on how he would describe the New England offense, if it’s more finesse or physical) “I’m not sure. They throw the ball and they run the ball well – they’ve done both. They change from game to game. I guess the team they’re playing dictates the style in which they play.”

(on the key to Seattle’s turnaround from being 3-3 to where they are now) “The key to the turnaround was getting healthy. Getting healthy, that’s always the key in our game. The healthier you are, just getting the players you want out there to be out there an extended amount of time, that helped us.”

(on what he thinks the first collision between Seattle strong safety Kam Chancellor and New England tight end Rob Gronkowski will be like) “It’s going to be loud, I’m sure it’s going to be loud. Two big, strong men – I think that’s what football is about. I think a lot of people are looking forward to that.”

(on his initial reaction to New England cornerback Brandon Browner’s comments about his and Seattle free safety Earl Thomas’ injuries) “I thought it was funny. I thought it was funny because I know BB. I know Brandon and I know what his intent was. I know his mind and who he is as a person, so it was funny.”

(on his reaction to New England cornerback Darrelle Revis saying he couldn’t learn anything by watching tape of Sherman, and if he could learn anything by watching tape of Revis) “I don’t really have a reaction to that, that’s fine. I don’t watch tape of him. We watch offenses and he plays defense, so I don’t really find myself watching tapes of him. Are there things you can learn? There’s things you can learn from everybody. I learn things from our practice squad players to Earl Thomas – I think everybody has a unique style about their game that you can put into your game, but if you’re asking about him specifically, I’ve got nothing.”

(on what it says that people are talking about a rivalry between cornerbacks) “I think it says that the game’s changing a little bit. I think it also says something to the level of play that we’re playing at, and also how fantastic of a season we both must be having if we’re bringing that much attention to the game. It’s appreciated. Obviously as corners and elite corners, there’s a certain respect level and admiration because you understand what it takes to play this position at a high level, and how fragile the praise is. You give up one pass for 10 yards and they say the world’s over. You get two interceptions in a game and they say that’s what you’re supposed to do. That’s just what comes with the territory.”

(on New England wide receiver Julian Edelman, and if he thinks he plays bigger than his size) “I think he plays the same size he is, but he does a great job for their offense. He comes through a lot of times in the clutch. He makes big-time catches and he isn’t afraid to take a hit. He takes a hit and he keeps on running – you have to respect that about a man. I think he does a great job with what they ask him to do.”

(on New England running back LeGarrette Blount saying that Seattle isn’t immortal, and that they can’t tackle him) “Yeah, I’m not immortal. One day I will pass away. He is perfectly right about that. He said we can’t tackle him? That an opinion. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. That’s perfectly fine.”

(on Seattle Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn) “He’s a great coach. He’s a great man. I think he’s going to be a fantastic head coach because he relates to his players extremely well. He’s a guy that’s not close-minded in his approach. He’s very approachable. He’s a great leader of men. I think all those qualities will allow him to be a great head coach. Obviously personnel dictates certain things, if you don’t have great personnel, but I think whatever team he goes to he’ll have fine personnel and they’ll do a great job.”

(on how he has seen Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner grow) “Well I’m happy you asked about that. When Bobby Wagner first came in to the Seattle Seahawks, he came into a pretty tough position, honestly. I think we had just come off a season – we weren’t the greatest defense, but we were a pretty solid defense. He was coming into a position where you have to be very vocal and you have to call the plays every play, and he was kind of nervous in that regard. You’re stepping into a team full of older guys who have played this game at a high level, and you have to tell them what to do. For a second, it was tough on him. We would be playful, and he got more and more comfortable with speaking because he’s not a very vocal guy in that regard. He’s very laid back and reserved. I think the better he’s been accepted by his teammates, the more he’s been accepted, the more he’s been able to kind of be himself, the better he’s played. I think you’ve seen a culmination of that the last two years and that he’s played phenomenal football. I think he should have been an All-Pro and Pro Bowler last year based on his statistics and the high level of play. He was able to get those awards this year despite missing games, and I think that’s very admirable.”

(on the team’s preparation the night before the game) “The night before the game we have Saturday meetings – it will be the same as it is every other game. We’ll have Saturday meetings, watch a movie and go to sleep.”

(on what he wants to do after football, and Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin saying Sherman would be a good politician) “Honestly I haven’t decided that. I’m trying to leave my options open there, but politics isn’t a bad way to go. There’s some things out there that need to be changed, and some things that I feel like I would be an asset, but I don’t know. There are a lot of different avenues that I’m going to explore when football is done, but hopefully that isn’t any time soon.”

(on the percentage of Seattle’s defense that is mental versus mechanical) “Mechanical, I like that. A lot of the game is mental for us. I’d say there is a tremendous physical part, but you almost have to disassociate that from the mental if we’re talking about percentages because a huge part of the game is mental preparation if you’re playing at this level and making it this far. I would probably say 80 percent is mental because you have to understand what the offense is trying to do. You have to understand what the formation is telling you. You have to understand down and distance. You have to understand the places you are on the field, how they’re trying to attack you, what they like to do in those positions. You have to remember tendencies, and this is all happening in seconds of the game, in minutes. You have to look up at the clock, look back at the down-marker, look down on the field to see where you’re at. Look at the formation, read it, understand it, diagnose the play. That’s all mental preparation, but then the ball is snapped and it’s physical again – the mental part is done. You have to react. You have to believe what your brain told you and react to the play.”

(on what frustrates New England quarterback Tom Brady, and what his weaknesses are) “Dropped passes. Guys getting in his face after they make a sack. He’s just a competitor – the same thing that irritates anybody else when you’ve got your competitive juices. But his weaknesses – he doesn’t have very many. That’s why he’s one of the best quarterbacks in this game. He’s not as mobile as (Seattle quarterback) Russell (Wilson) – I guess if there’s anything to say, that’s one of his flaws.”

(on what he would ask NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at his annual news conference on Friday) “I would ask him why he doesn’t do this weekly instead of annually.”

(on what it says that he played through an injury in the NFC Championship game, and Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews sat out after being injured) “It doesn’t really say anything, honestly. I don’t know what went on with him and his injury. I can’t speak on what it says about him, honestly. He’s a great player and a great competitor – I’m sure if he was able to go out there, he would have. On my side, I just played, man. I’m a guy you’ve got to tear my arm off if you want to get me off there. If I can physically walk and do my job, I’m going to go out there and play.”

(on the moment that his self-confidence turned into saying that he is the best at what he does) “My second practice at corner at Stanford, because that’s kind of how you have to play the position. That’s the only way you can play it and really be uberly successful because you have to forget your bad plays. You have to always expect to make the big play and expect yourself to be in great coverage. You can’t expect yourself to be the best and achieve your dreams if you don’t believe you’re going to be there, if you don’t believe that you have that kind of ability. I think if you really went inside the heads of 99 percent of the corners in this league, they believe they’re the best in this game. It’s not arrogance – it’s just a necessity. It’s a requirement of this position because you’re out there, you’re playing against some of the best athletes in the world and sometimes they’re better athletes than you – they’re faster, they can jump higher, they’re quicker. You have to believe that you can get the job done, you can still get the job done. They can throw a ball up and a man that jumps 44 inches in the air, and you jump 38 – you can beat him in a jump-ball. (Miami cornerback) Brent Grimes, for example, is 5’9” and has to go against (Detroit wide receiver) Calvin Johnson who is 6’6” and some change, and he has to believe that he’s going to win that matchup. He has to believe when the jump-ball comes he’s going to win that matchup. There aren’t a lot of 5’9” men that can walk out there and say, ‘I’m going to win this matchup against Calvin Johnson,’ but he has to believe that because he has to play in this league.”

(on what stands out when he watches film on New England) “Their variety. You hear all the press, they change their gameplan every week and they fit it to their opponent, but they do have a tremendous amount of variety week-in and week-out. You rarely see teams challenge with the same combination of routes. You rarely see them challenge teams with the same run game. For example, usually you see San Francisco runs the power. In week two, San Francisco’s going to run power. In week eight, San Francisco’s going to run power. The Patriots can run power in week one, the bend play in week two, zone read in week three, counters in week four, and that kind of variety keeps a defense on edge because it’s a lot to prepare for. Within a game they’re going to stick to what they do, but you have to be prepared for every one.”

(on his plan of attack for bringing down New England tight end Rob Gronkowski) “Just get him down – that’s my plan of attack anytime somebody is bigger than me. Just get him down. I don’t have the pride of (Seattle strong safety) Kam (Chancellor) and all those guys where I’m just going to kiss him on the face. I’m going to get him down, whether it’s hitting him in the knee, hitting him in his back – wherever I can to get him down. I’m just going to tackle.”

(on how much the New England controversy will affect Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the game Sunday) “Zero. That controversy, like I said before, has no bearing on this game. It’s not like he’s going to get interviewed after every play about how much pressure is in the football. He’s going to out there and play the game that he’s been playing for years since he was a kid, and he’s going to have a blast doing it.”

-SB XLIX-

 

DEFENSIVE END MICHAEL BENNETT

(on the team meeting earlier in the season and what kind of impact it had on the team) “I think that was a good team meeting, a great team meeting. I think sometimes you have to look in the mirror and face it. Sometimes you are ugly. You have to look in the mirror and say, ‘Damn, I’m ugly.’ Sometimes we looked in the mirror and was like, ‘Man, we do have some stuff we can improve on,’ even though everybody thinks that we don’t. We came back and started to improve on things that we needed to improve on.”

(on if he spoke at the team meeting) “Yes, I spoke. I spoke and said what I thought and my opinion of what was going on and people listened, of course, and then moved forward from there.”

(on what he said) “I don’t remember what I said. I don’t remember what I said yesterday.”

(on having to be tough to play this sport) “I think I tore a rotator cuff, I think, and I broke a toe, I think. In the NFL, I think everybody … If you can’t play through injuries, you really can’t play this sport, I think. Sometimes a quarterback gets more, they get more notoriety for playing through their injuries than anyone else. Everybody has a back injury. Everybody has a calf injury. It’s like one of those things where everybody plays through injury.”

 

(on if he feels a responsibility to his teammates to give everything they have on gameday even though injuries) “I think you do, especially in this situation when you are in this Super Bowl atmosphere and what this game has on the line. I think you have to play through the injury because you only have so much time to recovery. You can recover in Hawaii after the season or Turks and Caicos or whatever you want. As long as you win the game, I think you will feel good.”

(on if he likes the 3-4 defense or the 4-3 defense and why) “I like the 4-3. I don’t know. Why – I don’t know why you are asking that question.”

(on asking the question because of it being a football question in general) “It depends what type of defense you have. I like 4-3 because you have your guys playing for the run. I think a 3-4 you get more chances to pass rush is all. It’s all different. It just depends what you want to do.”

(on if Linebackers Coach Ken Norton, Jr. has talked to the players about how special and hard it is to repeat) “I think talking to Ken, I think he talks about what it is to be a winner. He does a great job of talking about that. I think he talks about great teams and guys coming into their leadership roles and guys not letting the success go to his head. He talks about when he did that. I think that we have done a great job of not letting that happen. I think that’s why we are in the same position we were last year.”

(on if you don’t have a pass rush, then you don’t have anything else) “That’s true. I think if you don’t have a good offensive line and a good defensive line, the rest of the game is just pointless because really the offensive and defensive line are the only people that get contact 100 percent of the time. Everyone else’s contact ratios is probably one to four. Probably every other four plays they have contact. Ours is 100 percent. I think the offensive and defensive line are two of the most important key players on every team, key players whenever you play the game.”

(on having a good pass rush) “I think you want to have a great pass rush. You want to be able to stop whatever they do. Obviously, the Broncos passed the ball more than the Patriots will, as far as being in the shotgun. I think the Patriots run it a little bit more. You have to be ready for all of those things.”

(on being the No.1 defense and playing against QB Tom Brady) “I think you enjoy that. I think, it’s just another notch on the belt, another thing to be able to do to play against Brady. Brady is arguably one of the best quarterbacks of all time. His swagger, as you know, is so good. The way that he controls the game. The way that he throws the ball. The way that he runs it. The organization is just amazing. I think playing against him is going to be a key point in our career and see what we do.”

(on if there was a moment when he knew they had beat the Broncos before the game was over last year) “No, I think – maybe when there was one minute left, I knew the game was over. Other than that, I felt like we had to continuously play that way. I think if you get ahead of yourself, just like Green Bay did – sometimes you get ahead of yourself before the game is actually over and you end up letting the team come back. I think that’s kind of what happened last week.”

(on who will be the least nervous going into the game on Sunday and why) “Me. I’m not really – I don’t really worry about the atmosphere of the game. I think for us we treat every game exactly the same and we’ve been in every situation we could possibly be in. We have already been Pro Bowl, All-Pro, Super Bowl Champs and big contracts. I don’t think there’s anything we haven’t seen. I think we would be ready for that type of game.”

(on how important it for the secondary to be as physical as they always are even through their injuries) “I think people are blowing their injuries out of proportion. I think everybody in the NFL plays injured, like I said earlier. I think they’re going to do a great job of preparing for the way they need to play. They have so much time to recover and I think they are going play their hearts out.”

(on if he takes notes about how he handled the Super Bowl last year and if he writes it down) “No, I don’t write it down. I don’t write it down. It’s just another football game. To me, the whole week is boring. Coming in here and having all these cameras in my face, I would rather be at home watching a movie or something or doing something different. But that’s just how it is. Really all this other stuff is just gray matter, all the propaganda that’s going on, all the free stuff – I would just rather chill and play like we usually do. But, it’s just how it is. I think we are doing a great job of just chilling and not making a bigger deal than it is supposed to be.”

 

-SB XLIX-

 

 

FREE SAFETY EARL THOMAS

(on the significance of Competition Wednesday) “It’s all we have right now and it’s a great moment to look at yourself and fix everything. We have to have great spacing on defense. Everything should be fine-tuned with two weeks to prepare.”

(on his physical progress recovering from a shoulder injury) “I’ve come so far. I feel so much better. Each day, it’s surprised me because this is my first time with the injury and you don’t know what to expect. It has been just positive results from the trainers. They’re doing a great job with me.”

(on the importance of recovering from his injury and being physical on Sunday) “You have to. Our teammates are depending on us. You have to prepare, visualize and understand that your body is not 100 percent. At the same time, it’s so much out there. Your teammates feed off of that.”

(on if strong safety Kam Chancellor is the perfect safety) “I’m satisfied with Kam, so yeah. He’s not like any other strong safety in the NFL. He does so much. He understands the front and he understands the hooks. I’ve learned so much from him just watching him move in the box.”

(on his initial relationship with Chancellor) “Very, very different journey to now. He started out on special teams. We kind of had to go the harder way.”

(on the suggestion that he and Chancellor were going to take over the league) “Yeah, that’s what I respect about him. The first time we ever talked, I saw it in his eyes. When we communicated – I didn’t know it at the time – we flow with each other. We have the same mindset. That killer instinct comes out.”

(on the view of New England over the past decade) “The only team I watched growing up was the Cowboys.”

(on how much the defense enjoys playing Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the Super Bowl) “It’s all about building. We have a great, great foundation and that’s all through hard work. Just building.”

(on how he felt this year as compared to last year) “It’s smoother. I’m more in tune with what’s going on with me and I’m enjoying it this year. Just like last year, we prepare and just like any other game, we feel like we’re going to dominate. Our attitude, we stress it to each other so much.”

(on the midseason turnaround) “I don’t want to talk about that because we’re in a good place. Bad thoughts can creep up in your head. I don’t want to go back to a bad place.”

(on his use of the term ‘feisty faith’) “Faith is what I’m built on. It’s my foundation. It’s what got me through everything in my life. I wasn’t that educated. I wasn’t the fastest, but my faith, my hard work. My dad told me I never gave up and I trusted God.”

(on what the feisty part meant) “Relentless. Just pursuit. My craft. To some people it may be, but I’m striving for everything. It’s never enough.”

(on being the X-factor in Sunday’s game) “I think if we are moving together and if we’re flowing together, it’s the X-factor. The way we communicate, the way we play with confidence… communication breeds confidence. That’s it. We don’t have to do anything else. That’s very special in its own right.”

(on the opponents’ quarterbacks being the center of attention each week) “It’s always going to be like that. They’re the quarterback. That’s why they get paid so much.”

(on his time at the University of Texas) “It was very, very short. I didn’t talk to too many people. I just showed up and did my job. That’s it. When I started opening up, it was really here in Seattle.”

(on Texas’ success with defensive backs) “(Former Texas Defensive Backs) Coach (Duane) Akina is a great coach. I would love to play with him one more time. That’s why it was DB U - Coach Akina.”

(on his relationship with New Orleans safety Kenny Vaccaro) “God has given me a lot of favors with players around the NFL. Kenny reached out to me when he got benched and he was down on himself. I was telling him when Coach (Pete) Carroll was benching me, we played the Giants my rookie year and we were getting blown out. I was just giving up touchdowns left and right. I was telling that story and he felt better just from me being real with him. That’s what I’m here for, I think.”

(on playing high school football in Texas) “We love football. We don’t have any malls. We don’t have anything. Football is what keeps us afloat. That’s all I know ever since I was a little kid. That’s all I’ve ever known since I was a little kid. I only lost three games in high school. I got to college and lost two. Seattle then messed up my record early on in my career. That’s just what Texas football is.”

(on stressing the fundamentals of tackling) “It’s vital. It really keeps your game maturing with your fundamentals because with those fundamentals, you can find new areas of attack.”

(on if tackling is the key to the defense’s success) “No, we’re just smart football players.”

(on the process of Seattle acquiring him after initial interest from Denver) “Let me tell you something about the Broncos. I just got through benching – this is at the NFL Combine – I think I’m 20 years old. A guy brings me on back. It kind of caught me off guard. He had his personnel stuff. He started asking me, ‘What is this? What kind of personnel?’ I couldn’t tell him anything because I never learned it. He judged me. I’m glad I’m here in Seattle because I don’t think I would have liked Denver.”

(on the midseason meeting with Coach Pete Carroll) “I really don’t think it was anything special what I did. I caused more chaos than anything. I think Coach Carroll did a great job of sitting us down, having all of the guys in the room. When you communicate with an open heart, solutions come.”

(on if credit should go to Coach Carroll for realizing a meeting had to happen) “Yeah, it really is. He sat us down. As a leader, you have to see trends.”

(on cornerback Richard Sherman’s importance to his personal growth) “He makes my job so much easier. He played receiver in college and he takes every advantage that he possibly can in the game. He understands what he’s trying to do. We have three safeties out there, Sherman included.”

(on his relationship with Boston Celtics point guard Avery Bradley) “He’s my boy. I think the way he plays defense was the start up for our conversation. Ever since then, we’ve been close friends. My rookie year, my first year here, he would come over and chill. We would talk. Those are great moments. He plays in the NBA. I play in the NFL. We went to the same college and we’re still trying to keep that same kind of communication.”

 

-SB XLIX-

 

SAFETY KAM CHANCELLOR

 

(on how his Sports Illustrated cover photo came about) “I just go with the flow. Sherm (Richard Sherman) told me there was going to be a photo shoot for the Legion of Boom for the cover and do some prints on the inside and a few questions that they asked us. I just went with the flow. They said everyone dress how they dress themselves. Just dress how you would going somewhere and we just did it. It was a good experience.”

(on coaching up some of the younger defensive backs) “I always say that you are as strong as your weakest link. There’s no weak links. I feel like if the whole unit is on the same page, the whole unit will do the same thing, the whole unit is going after the same grind. We’re just getting the same information. We’re a strong and very powerful unit.”

(on if he is on the younger defensive backs all the time) “No, not in a mean way, but in a teaching way. I’m always trying to teach them ways that I learned through the process or I correct them if I see them doing or picking up bad habits. I’ve always been coached by a perfectionist. You can’t be perfect, but you cans strive for progress. I always tell them it’s about the progress and if I can help a guy, I help a guy.”

(on learning his double jump move on his field goal blocks) “It was just one of those things. First of all, I was blessed with that ability. God gave me the ability to jump that high. It was something that the special teams guys had seen on film and the holder must have turned his head around and I knew the timing on when to take off and I jumped after the ball as soon as it was snapped. We practiced it twice and it worked perfectly. I trusted my preparation and went with it in the game.”

(on if he was a triple jumper in high school) “It was only a year experience though. It wasn’t long. It wasn’t long at all, but I still remember it. When I do things, I remember. I’ve got a great memory I remember doing triple jump and the form, the whole thing.”

(on if Seattle’s Special Teams Coach Brian Schneider is creative in his calls) “Not really. He definitely puts us in spots where we can maximize our strengths. That’s one thing about all the coaches. Our special teams coach knows I’m an athletic guy and can leap. So, he said ‘Do you want to do it?’ and I was like ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’ I tried it two times in practice and it was successful.”

(on when the name Legion of Boom was made up) “It was a radio interview a while ago. It was a radio interview and the fans wanted to come up with a name for the group and we saw a bunch of names come across Twitter. None of them were catchy, but when we saw Legion of Boom, it jumped out. Hold on, legion is like a vast army. We just went with Legion of Boom and it kind of fits the description of our unit, our brotherhood of love, trust, honesty, respect. I think all those elements right there create the power in our group. It creates the talent and brings out the talent. It brings out everything in our group.”

(on what it means to him to be the team captain) “I think all the guys hold you at a certain regard. I feel like I am a servant to my teammates as the captain. I feel like a servant to my teammates. I respect my teammates and I treat them like I want to be treated. When I do those things and am still able to produce on the football field, those guys look at me as a leader and the captain. I just accept it. It’s my calling. I just accept it and welcome it.”

(on what makes Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn so special) “First of all he is high energy. All of the coaches bring the energy for us. I think as a leader and D-coordinator, you’ve got to have that energy because you’re at the top of the group and everyone is watching you. He brings that energy to the group and he finds your strengths. He finds your strengths and puts you in a position where you can maximize them and use them effectively and efficiently.”

(on how New England game plans) “That should be every week for every team. You should be game planning. They’re watching film, they’re finding, I guess, where you can attack us and where you see weakness at. They’re going to attack their game plan where they see weakness.”

(on Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch being criticized for wearing a hat) “It’s childish. They’re focusing on the wrong thing. It’s about this game right now. It’s the Patriots vs. the Seahawks. It’s not about a hat. It’s about this game right now. That is what they are taking away from us. It’s not about a hat. It’s about football. The people, the media, those guys that don’t care about a hat and care about football, they want to see us battle and compete and show good sportsmanship.”

(on how hard or physical practice has been) “It’s not really physical at all. I don’t think the last practice was very physical. We are a physical team so we put everything on the brain. Everything is mental. We do a lot of mental reps every day. Everything is speed and mental. We are just very precise in everything that we do in practice and we always say that preparation is key. It’s about the journey, not the destination. It’s about the work that you put in during the week, paying your dues during the week and having fun on game day.”

(on if Seattle safety Earl Thomas will be able to deliver the same hits after his recent injuries) “Yes. It is mind over body. It’s mind over matter. This game is more mental than physical. It is way more mental than physical. You block those things out. We all battle with injuries out there. We’re playing with injuries. Nobody is 100% out there. If you think like that and you’re grateful for how you’re feeling at the time because somebody is feeling worse. You have to be grateful for how you are feeling and be thankful for what it is and go play. That’s how we treat it.”

(on what concerns him the most about New England quarterback Tom Brady) “Tom Brady is a great quarterback. I think he runs his offense very well. He does a good job with what he does. He can get those guys going. He’s a great competitor. He plays with a lot of fire and a lot of edge to him. He’s a great leader for them.”

(on if Brady is beatable) “Everyone can be beat. We’re all human. Everyone can be beat. You just have to go along with the game plan and execute everything that you practice.”

(on if taking over on defense is a priority in this game like it was last year) “We’re going into every game thinking that we’re going to dominate on defense and limit you on everything. That’s what number one defenses do. That’s our mentality. That’s how we approach every single game. This is the next game and that is how we are going to approach it.”

(on enjoying that he gets to play against Denver quarterback Peyton Manning and New England quarterback Tom Brady in back-to-back Super Bowls) “We embrace the challenge because in order to be the best, you have to beat the best. We embrace those challenges with great competitors. We love to compete. No matter who it is, we love to compete. When the challenge is in front of us, we embrace it. We thank God for the challenge and we glorify His name while we’re doing it.”

(on who from New England will be a factor this game) “Anybody who touches the ball on their team. Their team is full of play-makers. You can’t discredit anybody that is getting the credit that they deserve on that team. Everyone on that team can be a playmaker.”

 

-SB XLIX-

 

 

LINEBACKER BOBBY WAGNER

 

(on if he expected to be back at the Super Bowl) “I actually did because I felt like everybody was asking me if I took anything from the White House, and I told them that I’d be back.”

 

(on the differences in him before and after his injury) “I don’t know if I recognize the difference, but I definitely felt like whenever you’re on the field, you want to make an impact. When I came back from injury, I wanted to make sure my presence was felt and make sure people did see a difference.”

 

(on what the difference was) “I don’t know. I just felt like I bring an element to the linebackers.”

 

(on the special language that the defense uses) “It definitely develops over time. It started when we got our core group and you start to get a feel for how each other talks and how each other communicate. The more and more we played each other, the more we understood how each other would play a certain play. It gave us opportunities when we can take a chance because we know somebody else has our back.”

 

(on if he has to be honest with himself in terms of physical limitations) “I feel like everybody needs help. You can’t do it by yourself. No one is out here by themselves. I feel like everybody collectively plays a role. If the defensive line doesn’t do their job, the linebackers don’t play well. If the linebackers don’t do their job, the defensive backs don’t play well. Everybody has to bring their piece.”

 

(on what his role on defense is) “I feel like my job is to make as many tackles as I possibly can and make sure everybody is lined up and everybody has their call and is in the right position to make plays that they need to make. Just have fun out there.”

 

(on how they prepare for different situations) “I think’s it’s very important. You practice different types of situations. When you get in a situation that you’re familiar with, nerves aren’t there. You’ve been in this position even though you haven’t. You’ve practiced it before. Practice is always harder than the game is. Once you get to the game, things just flow.”

 

(on how he fits in the framework of the team) “I feel like it’s a balance. Everybody balances each other out. You have people who are loud, you have people who are quiet, you have people who are reserved and you have people who aren’t reserved. You have all types of guys on this team and that’s what makes it special because we don’t try to make you be a certain way. We like who you are and accept who you are.”

 

(on playing for Head Coach Pete Carroll) “It’s great. He’s a very positive guy which makes it fun to go to work.”

 

(on how Carroll compares to other coaches that he’s had) “Everybody is special in your own way, but he’s very positive and I love playing for him. When we come to meetings, we have a basketball shootout before we start the meeting so that makes it fun.”

 

(On quarterback Russell Wilson) “It’s hard to compare Russell to Tom Brady and Peyton Manning because he’s in his (third) year. He definitely has some years to put it together, but I feel like he has a great start. Just his character and the way he handles himself.”

 

-SB XLIX-

 

LINEBACKER BRUCE IRVIN

 

(on if it is different coming back this year having gone through the Super Bowl last year) “No, I’m just used to it now, you know. I’m used to the media stuff. You just know what to expect. Once you get out to the game, it’s just another game. It’s just all the stuff that surrounds it that makes it bigger than it is. But to us, it’s just another game.”

 

(on if the group will be able to stay together with contracts ending this season) “I mean, I would hope so but that kind of stuff takes care of itself. Once you win, you know, that benefits everybody. Contracts and stuff like that, you can’t worry about that type of stuff. It’s going to take care of itself as long as you win. That’s kind of how I feel about that.”

 

(on what the magnitude would be winning two Super Bowls in a row) “That’ll be crazy. I definitely feel like we’ll go out as one of the top defenses to ever play the NFL. But, we got to win first. I don’t want to talk about winning the game. We just got to prepare and keep practicing. Those guys are a really good team so we got to stay focused and really bust our tail if we really want to win Sunday.”

 

(on how difficult it is to prepare for a team with diverse options in the backfield) “It’s kind of difficult I guess. You just got to know your personnel, know which backs are in there, know which type of runner the back is. Other than that, we still got to play hard-nosed football.”

 

(on what he sees from the New England running game in previous games) “I mean you can’t really tell. They go game-to-game, you know. In the playoffs, they ran the ball against the Colts. But the game before, they barely ran the ball. They really go with whatever works and they just keep doing it. We just got to make sure nothing works great and just play sound defense and we’ll be all right.”

 

(on if it is tough to get a read on the New England offense) “I don’t think so, I just think as long as we are in attack mode and playing our style of football, it doesn’t matter who they throw at us.”

 

(on why Seattle is so good with clock management situations) “I don’t know. I guess guys are bowing up and then don’t break, That is kind of our motto, is holding the field, so I think that was the biggest difference in the (NFC Championship) game, was those five field goals. Green Bay got a top offense and we held them on the one-yard line twice so that was big. That says a lot about the guys on defense, a lot about how we carry ourselves and how we close the game. We just have to continue to build off stuff like that.”

 

(on if teams can’t just try one way to beat the Seattle defense) “Yeah, I think so. I feel like if we play our style of football, it’s hard to beat us. When we’re attacking, a lot of guys around and everybody flying to the football, that’s what we want to do. I feel like it doesn’t matter what you throw at us, if we’re on our game, we can’t it could be stopped.”

 

(on if he could pick a league MVP, not on Seattle’s roster, who it would be) “Obviously J.J. Watt. He’s a freak.”

 

(on what clicked for him to be playing at a higher level the past few games) “Just trying to be consistent. I don’t know, that was my biggest thing last year was consistency. I’m just trying to be more consistent this year. The last four or five weeks I feel like I’ve been doing a great job at being consistent and I just got to keep working.”

 

(on if having multiple guys that can take over a defense on the team makes them the best) “We got a lot guys, period. I think on defense we go 13, 14 or 15 deep so we got our 2s and 3s (second and third string players) can be starters somewhere else. That’s the biggest thing with us is everyone competes and everyone busts their tails.”

 

(on how he overcame adversity and what he learned from this) “It’s never too late. You just got to surround yourself around the right people. You can always turn your life around. That’s what I learned.”

 

(on who an impact player is with Seattle but doesn’t get recognition) “I would say, Byron Maxwell. By far Byron Maxwell.”

 

(on what are some of Seattle cornerback Byron Maxwell’s characteristics) “Just when you think of ‘LOB’ you think about the big things like (Sherman), and Earl, and Kam and I don’t think Maxwell gets enough credit because he’s a hell of a corner. He doesn’t get enough credit but his time will come. Somebody’s going to take care of him. I got a lot of confidence in (Maxwell) and it’s been a privilege to play with him the last three years. I think he’s a great guy and I don’t think he gets enough credit as is due.”

 

(on if he gets frustrated when he comes off the field on a pass down or gets asked to be a backer and spinner) “I don’t get frustrated but there’s stuff I’d rather be doing like rushing the passer. I don’t get frustrated. I just look at it as building me to be a complete player. You know, I want the sacks. I love sacks but it’s about the more you can do so I can’t complain.”

 

(on who the fastest player is in the linebacker room) “C’mon man. I don’t even got to say that. I know I’m still the fastest. Wagner can’t beat me. If you look at the team, there’s a certain skill set. It’s big dudes who can run. You look at Kam, K.J., me, look at the corners – they can run. The smallest person on defense is probably Earl, well he can run. We just got a great team overall. John and Pete did a great job of putting this team together. I’m just blessed to be in this good situation.”

 

(on the difference in the experience from being at the Super Bowl last year to now) “We used to the media stuff now because we did it last year. It’s just a game man, it’s just a game that y’all people blow up that make it bigger than what it is. The only difference is the opening kickoff with all the flashes and stuff. That’s the only difference but after that, it’s a regular game. It’s just the stuff around it that makes it bigger than what it is. So we are just approaching it like it’s week five or week six. It’s no different. We’re going to go to practice, we’re going to work our butt off and we’re going to go out here and we’re going to do what we got to do. That’s what it is.”

 

(on if there is a disadvantage to having one or two weeks off in between games) “It’s kind of long because the first week we go over all the stuff so the second week we’re just kind of waiting to play. I would rather play a week and get it over with. Two weeks is a long time. But it is what it is. We just got to stay ready.”

 

(on what jumps out at him when watching New England quarterback Tom Brady on film) “I mean he’s a Hall of Famer obviously. Does a great job of looking guys off. He doesn’t have a lot of big name guys around him but he gets the job done with who he’s got. It don’t matter who he’s got. It’s going to be a great challenge and if we don’t get to him and get in his face, he’s going to make us pay.”

 

(on what the point was when the defense started playing at a high level) “I think the Kansas City week we really turned around. After we got Wagner and Kam Chancellor back, I think things really turned around. We started to get our swag and our mojo back. That was the biggest thing. I don’t think we had an identity the first couple weeks but I feel like we got those guys back and things got rolling.”

 

(on seeing New England running back LeGarrette Blount on film) “He’s a big back. He can make you miss or he can run you over so you’ve got to really tackle him. I also learned that our defense is not immortal. We just got to play gap control sound defense and tackle him because he’s a pretty big dude. He’s a pretty big dude so we just got to tackle him.”

 

-SB XLIX-

January 28, 2015 at 12:54 PM

AZ postcard: There’s a lot you can’t bring to the Super Bowl

What do these items have in common: Frisbees, noisemakers, coolers, tripods, umbrellas and strollers?

They are all on the list of items you will not be allowed to bring into University of Phoenix Stadium for Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX.

At a Wednesday briefing featuring Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Super Bowl officials and law-enforcement leaders talked about a planning process that has been more than a year in the works to guard against a variety of dangers connected with the mega-event.

“I’m confident we will have a safe and secure and successful event,” Johnson said.

Officials did not disclose how many law-enforcement and security officers will be working the game, but said the cooperation of a watchful public is crucial. The campaign “If you see something, say something,” urges fans to report suspicious behavior or objects.

And leave those big purses at home or in your hotel room. Items that a fan may take into the stadium include a clear plastic bag not exceeding 12” x 6” x 12” and one small “clutch bag” not larger than 4.5” x 6.5”. Fans also are prohibited from bringing food and beverages.

For more details, click here.

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