Here are the full transcripts for what Seahawks players and coaches had to say on Wednesday.
Super Bowl XLIX - Wednesday, January 28, 2015
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."
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."
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."
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."
WIDE RECEIVER DOUG BALDWIN
(on how Seattle's receivers keep their heads in the game with a run-dominant offense) "Our goal every game is to make Marshawn (Lynch) the MVP of the game because if we do that then we feel like we have done our jobs both blocking and also on third down. That means we are sustaining drives and we are moving the ball down the field. It is a mentality that you have to acquire, but at the same time we are anxious to do it because we know how good our running back is."
(on being physical) "There is a balance to it. You don't want to get too physical because you can get over amped and over hyped. When a ball comes your way in a passing situation you could miss your opportunity. There is a balance to it."
(on catching the football from Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson as compared to other quarterbacks) "It is not much different. He throws the ball kind of like a baseball, so at times it is a little bit more difficult to catch because he puts a lot of velocity on it. However it is very accurate and it is a tight spiral. When you pick it up in its trajectory it is pretty much going to go where it is going to go. It is easier in that sense, but it is a more difficult ball to catch because it is so fast and the spiral is so quick."
(on the early sessions of trying to get used to the way Wilson throws the ball) "Just knowing that you had to pick up the ball a lot sooner. He is not a six-foot-three, six-foot-five guy so you are not going to see him in the pocket necessarily. You are just going to see the ball come over a bunch of tall dudes, so you have to find where you think he is going to be and then catch the ball as quickly as it comes out. That is a little bit more difficult more so than anything else."
(on if the Seattle receiving corps is difficult to defend because of their versatility) "I would hope so. I don't know specifically. You would have to ask the defenders that are guarding us. In terms of our receiving core, we pride ourselves on being versatile like you said. There is not one guy that can do just one thing. Everyone is capable of doing a lot. We pride ourselves on being different as well. One guy is good at being on the inside. Another guy is good at being on the outside. We pride ourselves on everybody being able to run the routes trees that we have in our offense."
(on the unsung hero of the team) "I would probably say not just one person, but two position groups, specifically our defensive line and our offensive line. I don't think they get enough credit for what they do. Our offense is the number one rushing offense in the league and our offensive line has a lot to do with that. Our defensive is led by the defensive line. Everyone talks about the Legion of Boom - and now don't get wrong that is a great secondary that we have back there - but our defensive line does a fantastic job of getting some pressure on the quarterback so that they can do what they do on the back end."
(on the Legion of Boom's cover on the upcoming Sports Illustrated magazine) "Yeah I can't wait for their first album to drop."
(on why he would love Marshawn Lynch to be the MVP of the Super Bowl) "That is how we play football. That is Seahawk football. We are not a about statistics here, obviously. We only care about winning games and winning championships. We know the formula that we have put in place is if Marshawn wins the MVP then we have done our job on offense. That means that we have controlled the pace of the game. We have handled it the way we wanted to handle it and we were effective in the passing game on third down. Which means we sustained drives and we continued to stay on time and move the ball down the field. I think all of that correlates to us being successful of what we want to do on offense and Marshawn wins the MVP."
(on defining Wilson's "It" factor) "Ability to scramble and look down the field and still make plays."
(on Lynch's meaning to the offense) "He means everything to this offense. I don't know where we would be without Marshawn Lynch. He is the engine. He is the heart and soul of this offense. Everything runs through him. Despite what everyone wants to think, Marshawn Lynch is this offense. I don't know what else to say about that."
(on unwritten rules that wide receivers have while playing against a defensive back) "No, not really. We play as close as we can to the guidelines and the rules of the league. You are always competing out there so there are no unwritten rules. Everybody is going as hard as they can at each other."
(on the saying ‘if you are not cheating, you are not trying') "Well, yeah, there are always going to be guys who take the limits of the rules up to as far as they can. That is the nature of the business. I don't necessarily think it is cheating. I think it is just guys doing everything they can to be successful."
(on Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman playing unconventionally according to Sherman and New England cornerback Darrelle Revis playing cornerback more conventionally) "I think he is just being nice. They both play, I would say, conventional corner. They are both very cerebral. (They are) both very patient at the line of scrimmage and capable of recovering very quickly. They are very similar in that aspect. I think they are just playing in two different systems. What makes them great is that they can go in any system and be successful. I think they are more similar than anybody else wants to give them credit to be."
(on defining Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson's leadership ability) "Capable. Obviously you guys see it on the field. He is an excellent leader."
(on if it is time for the media circus around Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch to stop) "You are a Stanford grad. You know the answer already. It is ridiculous. Just let the man be who he is."
(on the challenges of being the number one receiver on the team and going up against former teammate and current New England cornerback Brandon Browner) "I think the challenge for us is to not make it bigger than what it is. We go up against some great guys on our own team every day. We got some great practice against some outstanding corners. The only thing we need to be wary of, not wary, but aware of, is that these guys have a different technique than the guys that we play.
They are not vastly different, but they have subtle differences that we need to be aware of and take advantage of. I think looking at a guy like Brandon Browner, there is not a guy in the league as physical as he is at the cornerback position at the line of scrimmage. You have to be aware of his ability to get his hands on you and then stick to you when he does. Darrelle Revis is the most patient cornerback I have seen on tape. You have to be very aggressive with your releases and make sure you are not giving anything away because if you do, he is going to be in the right spot at the right time and you are not going to get off the ball. There are a lot of subtle differences between the guys that we face, but I think we are more than capable of going up there and giving the best that we have against those guys."
CORNERBACK BYRON MAXWELL
(on the difference between being at the Super Bowl last year to this year) "This year, I'm able to enjoy it a lot more. Like you said, I know what to expect. I already traveled this road before so it's paved. It's easier to go. I know how it's going be. The comfort level is way higher."
(on having two weeks to get healthy and if it's an advantage) "Definitely. It's an advantage for both teams, but we're going to say it's an advantage for us just for our mindset. It definitely is an advantage. Your bodies get healed and you get to know them a little better."
(on if it is special to go up against New England) "It's cool, man. You know, we're in the Super Bowl. That's cool in its own right to be honest with you. No matter who is over there, everybody's going to be excited because you get a chance to say you're the best in the world for this year. And I mean that's pretty special."
(on the fatigue going into Super Bowl experience last year and how to approach that this year) "No, I mean, last year I was cool by the time game time came around. It is one of those things like, ‘All right, it's time to play ball.' It was really like, ‘The game is here finally, so let's go.' It wasn't (being fatigued). If anything, it was, ‘Let's go, I'm ready to play.'"
(on how much he has personally grown and developed being around the secondary) "I've grown a lot, man. Just the way (Richard Sherman) sees the game and knows the game, because he's like a 15 year vet how he sees the game. Earl (Thomas), the passion he brings to the game every day is a true leader. He's like that one way every day. You know you're going to get Earl. Kam (Chancellor)'s leadership is a lot different from Earl's but is needed. I learned a lot of things from him. Even (Brandon Browner), you grow a lot being around different people."
(on what level of his potential he thinks he has tapped into as a player) "I mean the sky's the limit. There aren't ceilings to be honest with you. I don't know, I mean, it's one of those things I don't put a bar on it. I don't set it. So, I mean, it's one of those things, defensive MVP of the Super Bowl would be nice. That's what I'm saying, there's no ceilings. I don't think there's a ceiling. I just want to take it as far as I can take it."
(on if he is excited to be out on the market for other teams that will be interested after the season) "I mean definitely, you know, I'm the prettiest girl at the dance right now. But yeah, it's one of those things I'm excited about it. I would love to be here but how things work out, as far as I'm ready to see what's out there."
(on if he thinks about future opportunities) "Yeah, of course it would be hard not to think about your future. Especially what's in my future, how it could help my family it would be hard not to be like, ‘What could be next?' Right now, this week, I'm focusing on this."
(on if being the No. 1 cornerback is something he aspires for) "It's not even that. I just want to help the team and really help the team win, really. And get paid while I'm doing it. I don't think about number one cornerbacks or none of that. I just want to ball, basically."
(on if teams test him having cornerback Richard Sherman on the other side) "Definitely in the beginning of the year. I mean, those game I played last year, you know it was kind of like a sample. It wasn't a full season. Coming into the season I already knew teams were going to try me but I didn't think they were going to try me like how they were before but I mean it was cool. Like you know in the game like you go in the game like, ‘I know I'm going to get the ball thrown at me.' So that was like, ‘All right, cool, I accept that.' That's more opportunities for me to get the ball and get the rock. Put your name out there."
(on if he feels like the league knows who he is now) "I mean the league probably knows who I am, but really I don't even really think like that. I always think like, it's not even that I'm unproven, it's that I can always get more. I can always get better. It's never like, ‘They know me, I got to settle.' It's more like, ‘They know me. Like, all right, now I got to really show them why they know me.' So it's one of those things you got to keep going. I'm never proven. They always want to come at me. I always got to prove myself when I'm out there."
(on what he was thinking when Seattle was down 16-0 in the NFC Championship game) "We were down at the half 16-0. It was one of those things like we got to get it together."
(on if he thought the NFC Championship game was slipping away or if he doubted winning) "No, I didn't doubt. Once we scored the touchdown on the fake field goal, I was just thinking in my head, ‘If we get it to 14, we got a shot.' And that's all I was thinking. I was like, ‘Just score seven and we're good.' Once we scored seven it was like, ‘Okay, all right, now we can finish. Now we just got to finish now.'"
(on what it takes to thrive in Seattle) "I think it takes a certain mentality, once you get out here, to thrive. You got to be physical but more importantly, you got to believe in yourself. You're playing man most of the time so you're out there on an island. So you have to really believe in yourself and trust your technique."
(on the Philadelphia game and how they held their offense) "It's crazy, they play so fast and they hurry us, so their offense was simple. You can really hone in on what they were doing. Even though they were playing fast, your pre-snap read was pretty much, ‘Okay, they're going to do this and do that.'"
(on if he thinks Seattle showed something against Philadelphia during that game) "I mean, definitely. It was just one of those things that the role of our team is we have to dominate the win as far as on defense. That's just how it goes and who we are. We don't know anything else. Once that happened it wasn't like, ‘Hooray, Hooray!' It was like, ‘All right, move on.'"
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."
LINEBACKER MALCOLM SMITH
(on how difficult it is to practice in the season when the team only has so many days in pads) "I actually love it because the season is not easy. You can still work your technique as long as you are focused on things you need to be focused on. Then you don't always have to necessarily bang on each other and you can still keep it a physical nature in the game."
(on New England quarterback Tom Brady) "He just makes such good decisions. You're not going to surprise him and you're not going to be able to trick him. You just have to be really, really fundamentally sound and try to stop him from getting yards here and there and keep down the big plays."
(on what Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll means about being on this journey mindfully) "I think it's just a form of balance as far as being present, being appreciative as well as being able to execute as far as relying on technique when it may seem like a situation can be hectic or a big clutch situation or there are five minutes left in the game and we got to come back. It's more about focusing on how we can execute this one play. Let's just do our technique really well this one play. We're on the sideline so let's just discuss what happened and how we can get ready for this one series. Kind of just slow the play. A lot of times people may get overwhelmed in the moment, may get overwhelmed in theory of ‘what could be' if it goes this way or this way. Really, you just have to be there and show up."
(on how it didn't get dark for the team when Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was intercepted at end of NFC Championship) "I think that's one of those points where that's the time, that's when you're really tested as far as our belief in (being mindful) this season. It's something that we've talked about endlessly these past couple of years and really tapped into the thought of it. I feel like it showed most in that moment."
(on what's special about this team) "Just our belief in each other, our closeness, our trust in one another and our desire is all the same. To get to this point and to win these games. It's not about anything more than that. That is how we can be successful."
(on which player has influenced Seattle's defense) "Obviously Earl (Thomas) and Kam (Chancellor) are great players. (Richard) Sherman is an excellent player and Bobby (Wagner)'s an excellent player. K.J. (Wright), Kevin Williams, Michael Bennett. We notice each other. We appreciate each other. I feel like that's how we're able to grow and learn together because we've been through the process when we weren't such a great team and we didn't execute so well. To see us mature and grow and become tighter, it's been special."
(on if he has the same feelings as he did in last year's Super Bowl) "We're just trying to appreciate the moments and appreciate this opportunity to play in this game. Last year we had different players on this team so there are still guys that are experiencing this for the first time. We're just trying to appreciate these days and try to appreciate each other and take care of business."
(on how Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll motivates the players) "He's a great motivator and his philosophy is to compete. You can break down your days and compete on Wednesday and be the best player you can be on a Wednesday and it will set you up to be a better competitor and so on and so forth. His philosophy to compete is something everybody can do in their life."
(on New England) "Formidable opponent. Great program, great system that they have there, utilizing all their talent. They don't just have a couple guys that you can key in on so it's all those big players. It's going to be a good game for us. It's going to be a challenge for us if we want to be considered one of the best teams in football history."