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Seahawks press conferences: Richard Sherman, “Practice watches Earl Thomas, (he) does not watch practice”

Richard Sherman Press Conference

As you read this transcript, just keep in mind the context. Camp is breaking. People are playing pick-up basketball… and wrestling, WWE-style. Then Richard Sherman comes up to the mic, always a great interview, and the first thing he notices is a kid the Seahawks have let ask questions. Nice touch by the Hawks. Just an all-around weird, fun, press conference.

Richard on the mic

We have a new visitor today! You're not local media.

Golf can be a very mental game for me, is football a mental game for you? [Kid Reporter]

Football is a very mental game. There are some people who don't play the mental side as well as others. But that what makes the great guys, the Hall of Famers elite, because they play the game at a mental level. It's more like the game chess versus some people play checkers. Some people try to simplify the game, some people over-complicate it. So you take advantage of it.

You working on your WWE skills? [Not Kid Reporter]

You gotta have second career plans. This NFL, not for long. You never know what your second career is. I don’t know if I’m going to be a photographer, WWE star, commentator, journalist [laughs].

Getting that off-the-turnbuckle move [down]?

That’s (Jermaine) Kearse’s move. I try not to name other people’s moves but he executed it perfectly.

He sorta got the better of that.

Yeah, it was kinda a tag team with he and Doug (Baldwin), a surprise attack. I don’t know if you guys got it on camera. I’m calling my lawyers to see what charges we can press. There’s a lot of cameras out here, hopefully somebody got it.

Tyvis Powell said he came to Seattle because of the Legion of Boom. Because of you and Kam (Chancellor). What have you seen from him?

He’s just a work-horse. He’s a guy that works every day. He comes to work and goes hard. He’s had a tough upbringing. A lot of powerful things motivating him. You can see it come out on game day. His passion, his energy, his relentlessness. He’s going to do great in this League and be fantastic.

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned while you played in the NFL?

Some of the biggest lessons? Never say never. Never say quit. It’s never as good as you think and it’s never as bad as you think in terms of how you play. Sometimes you go out there and you think I had the worst game of my life. Then you turn on the tape, see you did some great things, made some plays. Then you think I’m a world-beater, best in the world. Then you’re like, well, I made a mistake there, he had me beat there. You always strive for perfection, but you rarely ever get there.

Pete was saying that the GPS data shows this has been the most energetic, active camp. Do you feel that way, just from the eye test?

I do, I do, because I don’t let them track me on GPS. Spies, you know. I don’t like people having things on me. But yeah, guys have been running, playing hard. It’s just a certain intensity, sense of urgency that guys, young guys have come in and understood that we have. Older guys have shown the way. It’s a fun camp as you guys have seen. We play around, we have a good time. But when the whistle blows, we’re serious and play hard as anybody out there.

Speaking of the intensity of the veterans, is it impressive to see Earl Thomas practice at the level he does, now, for seven years?

It would be impressive to see Earl Thomas practice at the level he does every day if I did not know Earl Thomas was Earl Thomas. Earl Thomas is like the Dos Equis Guy, or Chuck Norris. He’s a guy that’s exactly who people think he is. And better than the people who think he’s the best. He’s better than people who have the highest praise. People don’t get to see him work on a daily basis. They don’t see how hard he goes, how hard he practices. Even when practices don’t even matter. You don’t get to see walk-throughs. But in walk-throughs, he doesn’t let people catch the ball. He doesn’t let people execute their plays. When we’re supposed to let offense catch it, he just doesn’t live his life that way. The only person who can beat Earl Thomas is Earl Thomas III, Maybe Earl Thomas II - his dad might get him.

Is he as serious as [he seems to be], does he have lighter moments?

He has a ton of lighter moments, but I’m not going to allow you to see them because he doesn’t allow you to see them. So I have nothing to say about those things.

Have you seen anybody watch practice with as much intensity as he does?

No. Nobody watches practice harder. Practice watches Earl Thomas, Earl Thomas does not watch practice.

Can he bend spoons by looking at them?

Yes. I’ve seen him bend blades of grass, catch footballs by looking at them. Many things. The list is long about what Earl Thomas has done. I’ve seen him beat Chuck Norris up.

Is this as happiest as you’ve ever been in your career?

Super Bowl was a pretty good time, but yeah, this is as good as it gets. Just enjoy being out here. It’s a blessing to be out here, a team like ours. The environment, an organization that appreciates its players, give them the freedom, that lets them dance and do WWE moves at practice but we still go out there and do our jobs and that's what football’s about. You go to some places and, you see, it's militant. It's straight by the book. There's no music. There's no anything. Just do your job for three hours and get off the field. And here you're playing with your family. You’re enjoying… and my son gets to see me play. And there's nothing better.

Do you think that affects the play?

100%. 100%. I think that there's nothing more powerful than playing with passion and joy.

Kelcie McCray… How big a part of this team is he now?

He's essential. He’s a huge part. He's a core member of our team. I think, for what he gives us in terms of versatility in the back end but also his intensity. His range on special teams. He's a special teams ace. I think it's going to be incredible. Him having a camp with us, seeing how we do things. He came in and caught on fast. For him to have a full camp under his belly he's gonna be tough to deal with.

How did that conversation go , Richard, when you told them "No, I'm not using a GPS?”

They came up and introduced it after the Super Bowl year and I said "Well if it ain't broke, don't break it.” And I walked away.

Kind of a Big Brother thing?

Yeah, kind of a Big Brother thing.

Seeing Tony McDaniel out there…

Fantastic, we love it, we love it, we love it.

Earlier this month, Kam (Chancellor) said that he saw shades of the 2013 Super Bowl team. Are you seeing shades of that that for the squad this year?

Yes, I'm seeing the same joy, the same intensity, same passion. Guys just playing for one another and appreciating one another, I think we kind of lost that in a way because you get so locked in to the season, you get so locked in to your personal ambitions, your personal circumstances that you kind of lose the team. And I think we've come back full circle, and come back to appreciating everyone and treating each other with a tremendous amount of respect and love.

How is the team coming back full circle? What things have changed?

Just guys hanging out, I mean guys playing ping pong, and not going at each other's throats, I mean we're pretty competitive at ping pong. One of us probably should have made it to the Olympics, be we didn't have a country to represent, I was waiting for somebody to make it. But just guys in the meetings, just day-to-day, just the appreciation of a guy making a catch, and everybody celebrating with him. Appreciation of a guy making a great stop, or great tackle, and everybody's joys. You know, we just won a preseason game, and if you didn't know any better, you would have thought that was the NFC Championship or something. It's just guys having a good time, and guys genuinely happy for one another. Happy that (Trevone) Boykin made the throw and (Tanner) McEvoy made the catch. No matter what happens, no matter what teams they end up on, they're still with us.

For a veteran, what is it like when you break training camp like this?

It's just another one in the books, it's time to get to the real work. We've been working this training camp, but it's cool to see the young guys grow. It's cool to see the turnover and the guys who we've had, like Byron Maxwell, Ron Parker, (Chris) Maragos, guys who have been in our program. Jay Howard, the David Kings, and guys that are other places grow. And know that these same guys that are in our training camp right now will have jobs after this, this is not the end of the world. So you're just excited for guys. You're obviously sad you lose guys, but you're excited because what they're putting on tape right now is going to be phenomenal and fundamental for the making of another team.

You've been so complimentary of Kris Richard in the past. What stands out with him, what separates him from any other coaches you've played for or seen?

He understands us. He understands the struggle. The best parts of the game, the harder parts of the game. He understands situational football, obviously he understands the Xs and Os part. DQ (Dan Quinn) and Gus (Bradley) and all those guys, they all had incredible football minds, and he falls right in line with those guys. He has an incredible feel for when to bring pressure, when to lay off of him. He trusts guys, he trusts our instincts. He lets us play free, he lets us kind of finagle the defense the way we need to finagle it to make it work.

How can the defense build upon its first preseason game, with the game here with Minnesota?

We need to get more turnovers, and obviously stop the run. We play some fundamental ball, but just letting loose a little more, being more aggressive. We played pretty vanilla out there the other day just in terms of our own personal techniques. Nobody really gave anything. I didn't really put any magic on anything at the corner. Earl pretty much stayed in the middle of the field. Our guys just played it by the book, and I think we're going to start to get more in rhythm in this game.

[What do you mean by, “Finagle the defense?”]

It has more to do with us just making sure. We run pretty basic man-to-man, and basic cover-3, and basic cover-2, so it's not like there's a whole lot of sugar-coating to it. So in order for it to work against NFL offenses, there has to be some level of finagling, some level of adjusting that is more on the field than on paper.

Richard, what kind of route-runner was Doug in college, and how would you compare that to how he is now?

Until he met me, Doug was not a route-runner. I taught him everything he knows, and if he says anything else, he's a liar. But no, he's much more patient. I told him the other day, he has a fantastic feel for the game. He's just a man among boys right now. Just in that game, he knows his spots, knows where he needs to be on the field. He knows when he needs to be there. He and Russell have a great rapport going right now. The skill-set was the same, he still is fast, he's still as explosive, but the feel wasn't the same. He'd be running into coverage sometimes, and now he's running into spots and making sure he's open and Russell's hitting him on time. He's not juking and jiving, he's making one cut and knowing, exactly… he's more confident where he's going.

Speaking of juking, I saw you playing a little one-on-one with Bobby (Wagner) before practice. If you had to model the way you play football to somebody in the NBA, how would you compare?

What's the guy's name? He used to play for Memphis... Tony


Tony Allen! My offensive game leaves something to be desired, but defensively I'm right on you. I'm there every day. Bobby will play one-on-one at my house, and obviously you're going to interview at one point and he's going to tell you he won. There was an offensive foul that was committed. The ref didn't call it, but I should have won that game. Obviously, the records will say otherwise.

Which NFL players have you learned the most from? [Kid reporter]

My teammates have taught me the most I think. Marcus Trufant, when I first came in was a great influence, a great teacher for me. I learned a lot from Deon (Grant), and his mindset in how he approached the game. Pete brought in some old-school guys, Lester Hayes, Mike Haynes, older guys that you might not know nothing about. But the technique we play is the technique they played in 1980’s and we just try to get as much as you can.

What does Tony McDaniel bring to you guys?

He brings stout. He doesn't move. He doesn't move when people try to move him. He's incredibly strong. He's a determined human being and somebody we can depend on.

You mentioned Lester Hayes, you grow up a Raider's fan?

I did. I used to watch them. I used to watch them. I was more of a Houston fan until they moved to Tennessee Titans, but Warren Moon was a black quarterback and I was like there wasn't any black quarterbacks and I was like oh man, let's see how he does. But I was a huge fan of their press defense. They were very aggressive.

Which players make you laugh? [Kid Reporter]

What players make me laugh? Okay, Mike Bennett makes me laugh. Mike Bennett, Earl Thomas, he's funnier than people give him credit for. Jeremy Lane, funny guy. There's a ton of them.

Michael Bennett's book club?

We're working on that. We're working on that right now. He has quite the variety of books that he's reading.

Anything else?

Thank you, go home.

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Darrell Bevell

Darrell Bevell, Offensive Coordinator, gave a very Offensive Coordinator answer to a question about the running game. Specifically, when asked who would get the majority of reps, Bevell doesn't know if he's being asked about about the RBs, o-line, TEs, WRs, so he asks, "what position?" The reporter answered running back, which is what I assumed he assumed Bevell would assume he was asking about. For a Seahawks Offensive Coordinator, "Running Game" involves every position.

Darrell on the mic

Alright. Well, it's good to be back out here on the practice field, after a good effort down there in Kansas City. There's a lot of good things that happened, but the best part is all the learning experience that we're gonna get out of things that we did, particularly for the younger guys, whether it's the speed of the game, whether it's assignments - alignments, those type of things, they will be able to clean up. Really liked the determination that they showed at the end, a lot of guys were really fighting and were able to bring us back in some really nice plays, so it was a good showing, and it's good to be back out here to fix the things that we need to.

[Asked about Trevone Boykin, how he handled play-calling]

It went about the way I expected. He's doing a great job of being in his book, he's studying, he's working, but those plays are long, and a lot of words to him, so every now and then, he had a couple of struggles, but for the most part, he was on his stuff, did a nice job. The cool part is that it didn't hamper his play, so he was still able to play fast and play well, he wasn't thinking.

What about that final drive?

It's really good efforts on a lot of guys' parts. It's great protection, upfront, to able to get the balls off, Tre (Trevone Boykin) made a couple of really nice throws... I thought one of the best throws he made all day was the very first one, he starts the two minute drive, when he hit (Montario) Hunter across the middle, and then of course the two balls he put on Tanner (McEvoy) were nice plays.

Was there some miscommunication … before that last play there?

Yeah, he was going with one, with one play and then he's, he saw the clock and we, we were kind of misaligned for it, so he was trying to get him (Tyler Slavin) aligned into that play. And, but luckily he was aware of the clock, was able to see what happened, and quickly changed it and got us into something different.

It seemed like he didn't panic, even knowing the clock was winding down, so that seems like a great step, too.

Yeah, that's something that we've seen out here - he's never really panicked, he's never gotten nervous, even though... He makes mistakes, but he's - they kind of just roll right off, he kind of goes with the flow. So that part of it's good, you'd really like that guy out there to be even-keeled, a never-let-them-see-you-sweat kind of a guy, and he's able to do that.

It seems the last couple of wide receiver spots seems fairly wide open, are you seeing anybody really step forward there?

Well, you know, in that game we were missing a few guys. So there is some guys in there, particularly out here that you saw the last couple of days, like Antoine Goodley that didn't get to play, Kasen (Williams) and Kevin (Smith), so there is kind of our normal 2s were guys that weren't in the game, and didn't get a chance to play. So it gave opportunities for other guys, Montario (Hunter) has done a great job out here, he has made some big plays and made that first catch there in two minutes. Tanner has looked good at times, so I think those guys are really pushing for opportunities.

Tanner obviously, you guys have been testing him, playing at the end. Does that help a guy a lot in your eyes or how does that...?

Oh for sure, I mean you go up and make a play and win a game, I mean it definitely helps. The things that we hope to see were able to come to life in the game, he is 6'5” and a half, so we were able to see the size. He was physical enough to be able to make those catches, and in his case there is going to be probably a lot of contested catches. He had a slant earlier in the game, but he did a nice job and made a contested catch there as well. So those are things that definitely help him.

How much has he grown since the beginning of camp?

Well, he has got a lot to learn. He's been the quarterback. He's been back in the back end and been a safety and now we've moved him over to play wide receiver so there's still a lot to learn. He's making great progress. By no means has he arrived. There's still obviously little details of the position that he can still continue to focus on, but we really like what we see.

How encouraging is it to, coach see Thomas (Rawls) out here and getting him into some team stuff?

Yeah, part of the progress for him and part of the process. He's doing a nice job. It's great to have him out here. Just running around in team periods now with bodies flying around. And again, just part of the process for him and he's continuing to progress and we like to see it

Running game a big question heading into the season. Who do you expect to get the lions share of the reps this coming year?

For which position are we talking about?

Running back.

For running back. We I mean we still got a lot of guys. C.J. (Prosise) has practiced much. Zac (Brooks) hasn't practiced much. C-Mike (Christine Michael) is making a great name for himself in practice. He's on his details. Did a great job in the game. We are still bringing Thomas along. So there's still a lot of questions to be answered there.

Who's standing out to you out of that bunch?

Well, the guys that you saw. You were able to see Christine Michael do a great job for us. He was able to average over six yards a carry there for us. So, he's doing good.

Thomas, what do you wanna see from him in the next couple of weeks? Do you anticipate him playing in the preseason? Kind of, where is he ...

Yeah. He's doing a great job in his rehab. He's worked really hard. You know that he wants to be out there and he's really chomping at the bit to get out there. But, we're gonna just continue to let him progress. And, this was part of it. Getting in the team and getting some of those reps in team may enable him to get some reps and games down the line. We're really pushing for that first game of the season, obviously, but if there's a chance for him to get into a preseason game, then we'll do it.

What about for C.J., What is [catching up going to look like]?

Yeah, it's gonna be a process. There's a lot of work for him, and these last two days has been a lot of good work. We're able to get him out there. The good part is, mentally he's on his assignments. So, you have to go out there and be able to do it physically. So, just the process of him being able to continue to do that. We will see what we are going to do with him in the game this week, if we will even get an opportunity for him to be in there. Maybe it is pushing for the next week. But he’s got catching up to do, like where he is mentally, but there is still a long way to go.

Pete (Carroll) used the word one-two punch for Rawls and Michael, with Larson you had one guy kind of with the lion's share. Philosophically do you have a preference about how you split that up or whether it one guy carrying the ball?

No, we don't. We want the best guys to be able to out there and playing. We have a lot of confidence to C-Mike. Obviously we love what Thomas Rawls has done. You might see a couple of guys rolling in there, and then specific roles for other guys. Maybe a C.J. Prosise, for example, might have another role. So we are still trying to see how that is going shake out.

What have you seen from your Tight Ends?

Obviously we love our first couple of guys, they are doing a great job. So we got a longer look at some of the guys down the line. And Brandon Williams was able to make a couple of catches for us, blocks well, and then we were able to get Joe (Sommers) in the game, and then I think (Clayton) Echard got in the game right at the end. So there is some depth there, we love the fact that we have Jimmy (Graham) back out here at practice, and starting to get him mixed in and catching some balls. So we feel confident about the group, and we like what they are doing.

Tanner said you guys were the first team to call him...

Yeah, he is a Badger, why would you not want to have him here, you have got to love that size. But really loved his athleticism, and we saw him, and coach was really excited about him to play defense. We were really excited about him to play wide receiver and so when we finally got him back from the defense we were really excited to get him, he is just a special athlete. He’s got special skills for his size. 235 lbs as well. So he moves well and can run. Obviously, you can see his skills catching.

Has having played QB, does having that perspective help him?

He’s seen it from a lot of perspectives. He’s seen it from the quarterback’s perspective. So I think there’s some things he’s able to pick up by osmosis, so to speak. Then he spent a little bit of time on defense. But I think probably the most help was when he was at the quarterback position.

Pete was saying, on the radio this morning, that with the GPSs, he could tell that this has been the most energetic, active camp that you guys have had. Just how do you use that data, and does that stand out to you just from watching the guys?

It does. We preach effort, and effort and enthusiasm are a couple of the top things we talk about. And you can see it out here at practice. You can see it. You can feel it. A great example is the reaction at the end of the game. Our guys, we're into it. Whether it's the guys that were on the field playing, or our starters. They were just as energetic on the sideline. These guys give us everything they have. We try and take care of 'em, but we appreciate their effort. We appreciate their enthusiasm, because you can see that we're getting it out of them.

In terms of some of these younger wideouts, do you feel that they're farther along than what they should be at this point, or do you feel they're right on target, and ready in terms of playbook?

I think they're right on target. There's always gonna be some assignments that will catch up with 'em, or trick 'em, so to speak. Not that we're trying to do that, but sometimes it's just; there's only so many roster spots, so you have to have the ability to be flexible. You have to be able to play the different positions. So, sometimes, if we're asking the guys to do two different spots, that can be tough on him at times. But, for the most part, they've been on it. They've been able to play fast. That's the thing that happens sometimes. When you see guys thinking, you see them start to slow down. But I haven't really seen that, and Dave (Canales) and Nate (Carroll) have done a great job of preparing those guys.

Is there one guy in particular who is standing out to you at the moment?

I don't really wanna pick anyone out. I think they've all been working really hard. With all those guys kind of in the middle, like I was talking about with Kasen and Kevin and Antwan Goodley, with all those guys out, all those guys that were behind them, they've been getting a lot of reps. So, it's been great for them. They've got great looks from the coaches. They've been given great opportunities. You see it show up in the game with Tanner and with Terrio (Montario), and so it's good stuff.

Anything else, guys? Did you have something?

How do you feel about your offense this year? [Kid Reporter]

I'm excited about it. There's a lot of good parts that we have coming back, with the receivers and the tight-ends. So, obviously, our Quarterback, who does a great job for us. So, I'm really excited about it.

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