Quotes from Pete Carroll’s Monday Super Bowl week press conference

No real news came out of Pete Carroll’s Monday session with the media, but there were still plenty of interesting topics covered, from the matchup with Rob Gronkowski to Marshawn Lynch’s uniqueness to Carroll’s time in New England (that one’s not going to stop being a topic this week).


(on how he has evolved as a coach in terms of connecting with young players) “Well, just kind of naturally. I think it’s just been a process of staying in with the times and realizing that – I don’t know that it’s changed very much, because the intent has always been the same, is you try to help the guys be the best they can be. So it’s always been that kind of language, that communication thought. So it really doesn’t seem like it’s changed much.”

(on how important it will be to contain New England tight end Rob Gronkowski and how safety Kam Chancellor will contribute to that matchup) “It’s interesting you should bring that up, because today I went back to a cut-up of Rob just to check him out, to see if there’s some things we could help our guys out on, because he’s such an effective player. He really has all of the elements that you’re looking for from a big-time tight end, every aspect of it. I was looking real close again just to see if there’s a way to find some approach that we could slow him down. We’re going to work at it and it’s something that’s very important to us, because he’s such a key factor on their football team, just naturally such a good player. And the coaches know and Tom (Brady) knows it, and they use him very well. We do have an excellent opportunity to match up as good as anybody because our guys, our outside backers are pretty tall and long, which they need to be, and they’re still smaller than he is. Kam Chancellor’s about as big a strong safety as you can find. It’s just about bodies on bodies, you know? We’ll have to play him a number of different ways to have a chance to slow him down. I don’t think – they will get the ball to him, it’s just how effective will it be. And we’ll try to do a terrific job of it, because if we don’t, he can control the football game.”

(on if Seattle’s and New England’s recent success is an indication that sustained success is possible in the NFL) “We’ll find out, you know? We’re working at it. There’s an opportunity here that is really exciting, to see if we can play another good championship ball game here and keep something going. I think to talk about that when you’re playing games and in the middle of all this is really – there’s kind of no place for it. It’s just something that you look back at and you see after the fact. I know it’s fun to project maybe this is what’s happening. A dynasty is what New England has done, to return as their division champs for so many years. I mean, it’s ridiculous the numbers that they’ve put up, and to be a first-round bye team for 10 times or something in the last 12 years or whatever the heck it is – those are ridiculous numbers. Nobody has – I don’t know if anybody has done that so consistently. But even then, you still have to look back and you’ve got to get out into the future sometime before you really can recognize that, I think.”

(on how much more control he has over football operations in Seattle than he had in New England) “Well, it’s an entirely different formula. Really, it came out of the years at SC (University of Southern California) where you have an athletic director and then you’re the football guy. I had the opportunity there to make every decision from recruiting to academics to everything, and you’re responsible for all of that. That is why I thought that would be the only job that I liked, because I felt like it really gave me an opportunity to be at my best. When this opportunity came here, it was expressed and clearly laid out that I could have the same kind of responsibility and the same kind of approach. So it’s been really instrumental, because the way we do things isn’t the way a lot of other people do things and so we really needed our own way to do it. We needed our own language and our own control and our own decision-making process. I think it’s made all the difference in the world for us – not to talk about what was, but just what it is now. It’s what every coach needs, I think, to be at his best. The format and the structure that is generally accepted in the league is not that. I understand why, but this is a football game that we play. There’s a business that goes along with it, but the football, I think, has to be run by the football people, and so I feel very, very fortunate. I thought this was an extraordinary opportunity from the day that I arrived in Seattle to prove that. We’ve set out to kind of show that this is the way organizations can be run. I’m really excited to be here today, where we are. It’s been a lot different. I learned a ton there and in all of the stops before, but this has been the best format for me. Maybe it isn’t for other people, but it is for me.”

(on if he tailors his defensive scheme to the strengths of his players like safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas) “I like that question, because it allows me to tell you that we’ve always, as far back as I can remember having an idea about coaching defense – stuff that I learned from people before me that helped me is to formulate a scheme that will allow you to draw out the individual strengths of the people that you have. That is what we do. We try to find the unique qualities that our guys have. It’s not just because we’re here at Seattle and we had those safeties. It’s what we’ve always done, really, across the board – not just on defense but across the board – to really put them in the position to do the things that they’re really good at and they’re really accomplished at, and then we try to grow their roles from that. But we found that when you do that, players can have success early and you can play players early in their career and they can start to develop a confidence and some success that they can build on. It’s always worked out really well. It’s really on the coaches to have the flexibility and the ability to adapt their scheme to match the players’ unique qualities that makes for what we have. The fact that we have I think a core that maybe – we’re simple, is that what you’re talking about? – we have a simple scheme that we play with on defense, because we found that it allows these guys that we have to really demonstrate the wonderful stuff that they can bring to the football game. So that’s why we’ve done it and how we’ve done it in all phases.”

(on if cornerback Richard Sherman’s comments on the perceived conflict of interest involving Commissioner Roger Goodell and Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft were appropriate or accurate, and if he will discuss those comments with Sherman) “Well, first off, I think they’re on the air, right? He said them out loud? So that is what he said. Richard has an outlook that Richard owns and he had an opinion about something. I don’t think he knows the Commissioner and Mr. Kraft very well. I don’t think they have a longstanding relationship, but he has an opinion of that and he expressed it. Whether I talk to him about it or not, he’s still going to have his opinion. We actually talk about most everything that is spoken, so eventually that will come up. I don’t think – we won’t share with you how that comes out and all, but we will talk about stuff. We always have.”

(on if Sherman’s comments on that relationship were accurate) “I don’t know that. It’s just Richard’s opinion. That’s the easy part of this, that’s what he thought.”

(on comparing and contrasting Sherman and New England cornerback Darrelle Revis) “They’re different cornerbacks and what I’ve found over the years is that each guy has his own style, because of their body makeup and their speed and their quickness and savvy and all of those things. I think these are two really, really savvy football players that really understand the game and have tremendous feel, which basically needs to be inherent to the great players. You can have all of the physical ability in the world, but if you don’t have that next level of understanding and awareness that Richard has and Revis has, that’s what makes them so special. They can make plays when other guys can’t because of things that they see and feel and can adapt to. So they are not – they don’t look the same, they’re not anywhere near the same style of player, but yet the results are really very similar.”

(on if he plans to change any aspect of the Super Bowl week routine from last season) “No. Really, we have our way that we do things and for us, it’s the discipline of staying the same is what the challenge is – it’s to not change. What we’ve done in the past in leading up to this game has gotten us here, so we’re not going to adjust now. It’s not that time for us. We want to do things as much the same as possible in relationship to last time here. Because of the scheduling, we stick to that schedule as well, so we’re doing things almost exactly the same.”

(on what remains for the team today) “We’ve practiced today already. They’re done, so they are free. After they get back and do their film study, they’re done.”

(on if quarterback Russell Wilson’s success provides insight into identifying the ‘it factor’ in a player, and if he believes those kinds of intangibles can lift a team) “Yeah, there’s no question that Russell has what you’re referring to. He has tremendous presence and awareness and habits and character and smarts, and athleticism to go along with that. I’m not sure what that ‘it’ thing is and I think people have different, maybe, opinions of what that is. Does he give you a better insight into it? He’s showing you the makeup of a player that has that. He’s very open and he’s very able to tell you what he’s feeling like and what he sees and what makes him who he is. I think he’s teaching you what it is for Russell, and I don’t think it’s the same for all players. But, I think he’s a tremendous study for anybody and a kid that has tremendous ability, tremendous potential, great competitive spirit and also the results to back that up.”

(on the team’s early scouting reports of Wilson) “Honestly, (General Manager) John Schneider had a feel for Russell early on and he had a sense that maybe he was really, really special, and he wasn’t wrong. He was right from his first impressions of him, and from that point when we started to really study him, we just kind of improved upon that evaluation. There was really nothing along the way, except for how tall he was, that would make us think anything other than that. We found it easy to overlook that because he was so special.”

(on the tough decisions they had to make to reshape the team through the summer and culminating in the Percy Harvin trade) “Every year you’re faced with difficult decisions because it’s constantly in motion to manage the cap and to manage the money situation. It calls for us to make very difficult decisions in terms of our guys’ contracts and whether we can renew or we can maintain the players with us and that’s all with long vision. We’re using long vision at all times. John (Schneider) has done an extraordinary job of seeing into the future, what’s necessary to keep things moving ahead and all of those decisions, we just work through every one of them and treat them with tremendous care because of the players and the makeup and the connection, the chemistry that guys bring to your team. That’s what makes it so difficult. But, it is what it is. You have to do that. You have to go through that process and make the choices. We lost some really good players from last year’s team and we knew that we were losing some heart and soul guys. But, they were the decisions that we had to make to make the choices to move ahead and also to continue to reward the guys. As you’ve watched John continue to sign our guys, we have a really strong belief in the core of this football team and we have had that for a number of years now and we told our guys we were going to do what we’re doing. We have done that and we’ve continued to carry out the process of maintaining the body of this team. There will be tough decisions again this year, as there always is, and so that’s just part of the process. I’m not going to go into the individual guys, but we made a big statement going after Percy and he’s an incredible football player and an amazing competitor. As it turned out, we just thought it was better for our team to move on where we had come from in a sense. We went back to more of the format that had gotten us here and it just seemed like the right idea and the right thought. It was a very difficult choice. It was an unpopular choice from the outside in, but it was the only choice that we could make at the time to do the right thing for us and hopefully it’ll work out for him as well. There was a big impact of that, but we had to endure that and since we’ve come out of it we’ve found what we were looking for really in that decision.”

(on how he prepares for trick play situations in the game) “This is a really smart football team we’re playing. They’re really smart and (New England Head Coach) Coach (Bill) Belichick has always been noted for challenging his opponents, really in all ways. He continues to do that and so we have to. We’re striving to stay ahead of that the best we can in the preparation and the awareness. Not all teams are like that, so this team really does heighten your awareness in the different things that they can do. So, hopefully we do a good job of that and we have a very smart football team, guys that have been together for a good while. They do communicate well. They have good awareness and all of that, but even with all of that, he’s going to find something in there to challenge us that we need to be ready for. We’ll see if we can get it done. You might not ever see the things that they had challenged us with in the game if we play them really well. You might not even know it happened, but with tremendous respect we’ve approached this whole preparation with that thought in mind that they’re looking, they’re going to try to find something that we’re going to see if we can head it off when the time comes.”

(on what he plans on telling Marshawn Lynch specifically about the touchdown celebration penalty) “You’ll never know. I will never answer that question for you, sorry. We’re just going to talk as we would to make sure that everything that comes into this game will be in alignment with how we want to go about the game. I would just tell you that it’s no different than when I would talk to other players about other issues and all kinds of situations that will come up. It’s pretty typical for us to do that, so we’ll address it.”

(on how he caters his message differently to Marshawn Lynch because he is a unique individual) “That’s really what I do. That’s my job and I’m not going to tell you how I do that because I don’t want somebody else to know that. We have a great understanding on our team that allows us to talk about whatever we have to talk about and to address all of the issues when we need to. But I’ll say this, and let me say it again, we still celebrate the uniqueness of our players. We celebrate their way that they see the world as they fit in with our football team. When things come in conflict with what we’re going to do as a team, we always address those things the best we can and hopefully we head off things that are going to hurt us and get in our way. We have to be really good at that. We have been over the years and hopefully we’ll do it again here.”

(on how big of a void Byron Maxwell stepped into this year and how much he has matured and improved since last year’s Super Bowl) “He’s been a pretty legitimate starter for us for some time now and ‘Maxy’ has a great personality and character about him that he’s very flexible and he’s pliable to situations and stuff. He handles challenges and difficulties really well, so I don’t see anything at all. He’s been fine. He’s had no problem adapting to the things that we’ve asked him to do whenever and he’s just a regular part of our team. I don’t think that he’s gone through any kind of a big change at all.”

(on what attracted him to Dan Quinn after Gus Bradley left to take the Jacksonville head coaching job) “Dan had been in Seattle when I arrived and through relationships that I had and people that I really respect, I learned about Dan because I didn’t know him before then and was happy that he would stay with us the first time around. Dan was with us for the first two years, I think it was, and then he took off and went to Florida. To me, he was a logical choice to bring back if Gus ever left. Those two guys were really special and unique. Dan is a tremendous football coach, a great communicator, a great leader. He relates very well to the way we do things and understands how to represent. He’s done an incredible job for us.”

(on if he feels like there is a possibility that New England Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft learned something from him during his time wih the Patriots regarding which coaching and management structures are necessary to be successful) “I would hope so. Really, because Robert and I had a very open relationship and I didn’t hold back talking to him about stuff like that. Knowing that he was a new owner, he was in a new business and really liking him, and we communicated really well. We talked about stuff and whether he applied it or not I don’t know. But I know that when he was making his choice to hire Coach Belichick, I had one opportunity to say something to him about that and I thought that was really a unique hire, a special hire and a guy that would really fit in well if he let him do what he was capable of doing. I think Bill is a very open, free thinker and a guy that needs that kind of control to be at his best. I don’t know how they structured it. I don’t know how they designed it or how they’ve defined it, but it’s worked historically and in extraordinary fashion. They’ve proven to be a great relationship and they’ve made a great statement over the last 10 years, or 15 years or whatever it has been since they’ve been there. Robert has really grown as an owner, obviously, he’s World Champions a number of times and they’ve shown extraordinary consistency, the kind that everybody would like to have.”

(on if there are any plans to appeal the fine on wide receiver Chris Matthews) “I think that was just a moment’s reaction. I don’t know, whatever happened. I know it wasn’t planned or any of that kind of stuff. It just happened and so he got fined by the league. That’s all I really know about it.”

(on how Russell Wilson’s leadership is different at this year’s Super Bowl) “I think he’s only different in that he’s naturally continued to evolve as a player and a leader of our team. The core, the character, all of the makeup has been intact throughout. He came to us like that. But, he has grown with the experiences of it. He’s grown through the process of what it takes day-to-day, week-to-week and through the course of a season. His offseasons are great and really well organized. That all just fits together that now in this setting, the fact that we’ve been here before, I know he feels great about that and the comfort of that and he couldn’t be more excited about making his expression of what this game is all about and how he would like to approach it and all. He’s very clear about it right now. It’s just a natural process of evolving through the experiences. I think he’s learned a great deal, but the foundation of the guy and what he is and the makeup hasn’t really changed, it hasn’t changed at all.”

(on what he said during the meeting he held with some of the players after the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and if he thinks that directly led to the ensuing 8-game winning streak) “There’s no question that the change took place the night we got together and the days to follow because of the leadership of the 12 guys that were in that meeting. They took the thought, they took the messaging and delivered it to the club. I told them I will do our best to keep us on topic, but you guys are going to have to embed the thoughts that are going to give us a chance to adjust at this point and they did a remarkable job. There’s no doubt that our team has changed and we’ve grown. In essence we really recaptured something that we had understood earlier and we just needed to get back in touch with it. We had lost a little contact with how crucial it is to play for each other and how crucial it is to support the people on your team and how crucial it is to get out of yourself and give to the guys around you. That’s really what has taken place and maybe that sounds oversimplified when I say it to you and all that, but it has been a powerful understanding that our guys have come to and it is the essence of team sport I think. It’s the essence of playing with the team. That it’s not about you, it’s about the people around you and you give yourself to them. That’s really what has taken place.”

(on the growth of tight end Luke Wilson in the offense, particularly over the last month) “It’s been really fun to watch Luke and Russell (Wilson) just continue to hook up and we’ve had a number of opportunities that we’ve captured and had success. Luke is a really strong, big, fast kid that can catch the football and has a really good game. He has a great future ahead of him. We’ve been really excited since the time we drafted him that he might turn into something really special. I think it’s taken some time since (tight end) Zach (Miller) was pulled out of the lineup with an injury. It’s given Luke the chance to really express himself and it just seems like in the last six weeks or so, it’s just picked up. We’re not doing anything different, it just seems like the chemistry between those two has really caught on and we’ve benefitted from it. I think Luke always had this potential, Russell always had this potential, but it just had to just kind of come together and, fortunately, it’s been a big part of the last six, seven weeks here for us.”

(on the intangibles that he saw in New England Running Backs Coach Ivan Fears as an assistant when he was with the Patriots) “Ivan was a tremendous guy that I hired way back in the day and that was a long time ago now. He’s been a lifer just about hasn’t he? He’s strong, he’s a great communicator, very demanding coach, but also a guy that has great sense for dealing with people and that’s why he’s been able to maintain. He just gets along with players and they respect the heck out of him and he’s a wonderful guy to have on your staff. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that he’s been there through all these championships and these great years. I just wish we could have done some of that together when we were there. I wish him the best.”

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