Here’s my final game story from last night’s rollicking good time — even for an exhibition game — for all things and people Seahawk at CenturyLink Field.
Here’s what coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson said in the interview room, and what the rest said in the home-team locker room, late last night following Seattle’s wowing runaway from the Bears:
(By the way, as for the question to Wilson about Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs hitting him so hard in the first half, to me it was more of a glancing blow off the side of the quarterback’s shoulder pads with Briggs’ shoulder pads, after Wilson had already slid down to end a scramble run. Not a crushing blow at all, but way late and worthy of the personal foul assessed to Briggs on the play.)
HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
Aug. 22, 2014 postgame
(Opening…) “I really like this night to see that we come back here at CenturyLink and kind of continue where we left off last week. We’re trying to just keep working at our game and executing well, and really the first groups again played really good football. We’re moving the ball on offense and making things happen. The defense is stopping them and getting off the field. We did a nice job on third downs on offense again this week, and the defense got off the field well enough to get us out of there. On special teams, I thought our kickoff coverage was excellent tonight. I was really fired up about those guys, a bunch of different guys contributed to get that done, so that was cool. So, we get that and you see Percy bust one a little bit. You see Earl get out on his punt return, too, so we had a lot of good phases that came through on special teams, and then Hauschka hits one from 59. A lot of really fun things happened tonight, and we’re just trying to keep on marching forward here. I don’t know who jumps out at you individually, I just thought it was a really good across-the-board night of playing football. A note that I’m really fired up about is that in the last two games, when the first unit’s on the field, we’ve had two penalties, which is really good execution for us and that’s a big step in the right direction and hopefully we can keep that going. I’m really happy with those guys and their attention to the details to get that done. That will help us down the road. A good night, and we had a lot of fun and a lot of guys got to play tonight.”
(On how ready the starters are for the regular season…) “They’re as ready as I can get them right now. We did just what we wanted, we wanted them to come out in the second half and make the transition from halftime, so we forced them back out there a little bit. We could have substituted, but that was the plan. Everybody hung on to that one. It’s a big change when the squad get cuts down, the practices are about the same, and then you have your first game coming up, and they’re going to play longer than they have, but everybody’s in the same boat. As far as conditioning relative to everybody else, we’re in good shape. We’ll be fine.”
(On whether they will keep 3 quarterbacks… ) “We’re going to go through next week and see what happens. It’s real important. Next week will be a good chance for the other guys to play again. They did not get a great look tonight, and didn’t get one last week either. We’ve had a couple games where the QBs didn’t get as much action as we’d like. Next week’s really important for Tarvaris and Terrelle and B.J. so we’ll see how that works out later.”
(On whether he is concerned by the lack of work for the punter, Jon Ryan…) “He’s a little underworked right now. It’s a good thing. We’re getting plenty of work in practice. We have a really good punt team. We have a bunch of guys that have played a lot together, so we have a lot of confidence in the whole mechanics of the snap and all that kind of stuff. It’s an experienced group, and we know they know how to play. All in all, we’ll take it this way.”
(On injury updates… ) “Heath did something to his groin. Cooper Helfet got banged up on that one play; he hurt a couple things. He got his knee knocked and his shoulder as well and something else, so that was a bad play for him. The fact that we got Luke back in the game; he got hit a little bit but he came back on a really good clean hit, too. Jeron Johnson had a sore foot, but didn’t seem to be too bad. We have to wait and see. Some guys got banged around a little bit. It was a good physical game.”
(On the effectiveness on third downs…) “I think the entire offensive group is executing at a good clip right now. Russell is really in command of what’s happening. We’ve got a really nice receiving corps, guys are all making their plays. A lot of guys contributed to it tonight. I think Percy had three or four balls and Jermaine had four, or something like that. It was good to see Jermaine get the activity and come through. We have good guys to go to, and they really believe in what we’re asking them to do. I think we’re hitting it at a pretty good clip right now, and hopefully we can keep it going.”
(On the play of the offensive line…) “I thought it was a continuation of last week. They looked pretty sharp. I know that Russell and Max got out there, and they felt a little gassed, first chance coming back, so we substituted a little earlier for them. But, I think it was a continuation; last week we executed really well and we did again tonight.”
(On Earl Thomas’ punt return…) “He’s been working hard at it. It was a terrific opportunity for him. It was a good quick punt, the hang-time was not real long for him, so he got a good look at the coverage. We had a really nice scheme up front, everybody got on their guys and he hit it really cool. It was great to see that. We’re all in anticipation of Percy hitting his, and he did exactly what we hoped for. For Earl to get some space finally, and get a shot at it, he looked really good. He said it felt like Pop Warner, and back to his old days when he used to get to do that.”
(On whether Thomas will get a hard time for being caught by their punter…) “I’m not talking about that.“ [laughter]
(On Marshawn Lynch…) “He did great I told you he’s looked fantastic in practice, he gets his first looks, and he looked great. Every carry, I think he maxed it out. He’s just looked really quick and decisive and in great shape. He had no problem with that workload. It was really exactly what we had hoped to do, and it worked out beautifully.”
(On what else the team needs to do before September 4….) “Yeah, we have to keep playing. We have a long ways to go to get it right. It’s about consistency. I’m thrilled with what we saw, both last week and this week. The first week, I don’t know what it was, but Week 2, Week 3, we played nice football. We have to go on the road, pack it up and do a nice job down in Oakland, and then wrap this thing up and get ready for the opener.”
QB RUSSELL WILSON
(Opening…) “I thought the way we played tonight was exceptional. I thought on the offensive side of the ball we really clicked. The timing, the rhythm. I thought we were great on third downs, we were great in the red zone. We’re really starting to put things together. I felt all the guys looked really, really good tonight, so that was the exciting part about the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, watching those guys go out there and play against a very, very good offense and stop them the way they did, I thought that was pretty exciting.”
(On the play of the O line…) “It’s nice to have big Russ back in there at the left tackle position; a Pro Bowl left tackle. Then, have Max Unger, your Pro Bowl center. The communication was very, very good. I’m not sure we had any penalties until we got to the second group. Just, our focus, our laser focus, in terms of one play at a time, stay in the moment and just make the plays when we need it.”
(On whether the offense can stay this explosive… ) “I definitely believe that being explosive is what we want to do. We want to be able to get the ball in the right guy’s hand at the right time, make the right decisions and be on time with it and throw a great pass where they can get upfield and make a play. So, to get the ball into Percy’s hands, to get the ball into Doug Baldwin’s hands, and Jermaine Kearse; those are exciting players. They can do a lot of great things, and then we have so many other guys that can step up in terms of Zach Miller, Luke, and Cooper Helfet, too, and then you factor in the running backs, so it makes it kind of tough.”
(On the effectiveness of the return game…) “To watch Percy Harvin start off the game the right way, that’s what you want. That’s what you have him for, to be able to make plays like that. It looked like the Super Bowl all over again, almost. Then, to have Earl Thomas back there to catch punt returns and to be so agile and so quick and to be able to get all the way down to the 30 yard line. I’m surprised he got tackled actually, I think it was by the punter, so I’m going to pick on him tomorrow. He’s so talented; we have so many talented guys across the board on offense and defense and special teams. That makes it tough for teams to beat us.”
(On whether he has a better idea of what Harvin brings to the offense… ) “What Percy brings to the offense is grit, and a desire to get into the end zone, a desire to get the ball in his hands and make something happen. Every time he touches the football, he’s either going to run over you or run by you, one of the two. That’s what he brings to the table, his explosive mentality, but at the same time we had a lot of receivers that are like that already. Doug Baldwin is very much like that, very similar. Jermaine Kearse is a down the field guy who is a great possession receiver, and has great speed to, as well. He’s always right on time, too, when you need him. Jermaine Kearse is always in the right spot at the right time. You think about all of the other guys too. To add Percy to the mix, it makes our personnel so much tougher to defend. For me, the process of elimination to read coverages. I’m learning a lot more and understanding a lot more and just trying to get the ball out as quick as I possibly can. But also still look downfield. Then, our scramble game, too, helps, to have that many guys, too, that can really run that fast.”
(On whether he sees defenses adjust to Harvin’s pre-snap movements…) “It’s kind of hard to tell right now, it’s pre-season. I think that when they go man, it’s tough to defend all 3 or 4 receivers that we have in the game. When they play zone, the ball is to get the ball out, and get the ball to the right guy at the right time. They’re trying to adjust, but there’s only so much you can do when you have guys like Doug Baldwin on the other side and Jermaine Kearse on the other side, or all 3 of them on the same side. It’s hard to stop us defensively with the personnel.”
(On Jermaine Kearse’s growth as a wide receiver…) “Jermaine Kearse is a tremendous receiver, he can do it all. He goes down the field and can go up and get it. As you’ve seen for the past few years, he runs great routes, he’s always on time, gets his head around. Then, on third down, he makes a lot of big plays for us. You saw the first third down, I believe it was, I fit it in a tight window, he gets up field, and gets another 10 yards, and that’s how we need to be, that’s how we need to play all the time, and I believe we have the guys to do that.”
(On when the last time was that he was hit as hard as he was by Lance Briggs…) “I’m trying to remember when he hit me, to be honest with you. I haven’t been hit that hard, I guess, in a little bit, I guess, since playoff time. That wasn’t that big of a hit. I just try to get down and get as much as I could.”
(On the receiving ability of the running backs…) “That’s something we work on all the time, in terms of the running backs, and getting out for me. Getting to where they need to be, as quickly as possible. Marshawn does a great job of that. Robert Turbin does a great job of that as well, and Christine Michael is doing a really good job of that, too, and he’s continuing to try to learn. I’m really pushing that part of it, too, because that helps me a lot in terms of avoiding sacks, in terms of getting completions, and keeping the ball moving. Because when the defense drops back because they have to cover Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse and Paul Richardson and whoever else we have on the field, all the tight ends, when they drop back and get depth, then the back is wide open, too. So, the more I can get the ball to them, the more that pulls the defense up and the more shots we have behind them.
(On getting that field goal at the end of the first half…) “That was Coach Carroll’s decision, and I think it was a great decision because we need that work, we need that practice. If the game is tied or we’re playing a great team like the Chicago Bears in the regular season, we need to learn how to still be on the minus-40, or wherever we were, and still get into field goal range. That’s something we practice all the time, we called a pass play, I looked down field and it wasn’t there, so I just tried to run it and get as much as I could and get out of bounds, because I believe that left us with 6 seconds left, so then we tried to throw the ball toward the sideline and get out of bounds and then Steve Hauschka made that 59 yard field goal. Those are things that we work on all the time. You have to give credit to Coach Carroll, my quarterback coach, Coach Carl Smith and Coach Bevell do a tremendous job of that, too, of communicating. That way, I can communicate to the huddle and throughout practice, and so in those game situations, we’ve been there 100 times before. That’s one of the things that I’ve learned the most in my past two years.”
(On whether he feels bad for the punter….) “Jon Ryan is one of the best punters in the league, if not the best. I know that every time he’ll get in there, he’ll give us a good chance of allowing our defense of getting there and have tough field position there for their offense. ”
(On whether the defense was doing something to reduce the catches by the tight ends…) “No, I thought the tight ends did a great job tonight. We didn’t get them the ball as much as we wanted to, but the receivers got the ball a little bit more, tonight, and it’s one of those things. You have so many guys, you just have to go to the right guy at the right time. You can’t necessarily try to go to one guy. That’s the great thing for us, because that makes it tough on the defense.”
WR JERMAINE KEARSE
(On offense this year vs. offense last year) I just feel like we’re actually doing well right now. We get a great look every day against our defense and I feel like the timing and our chemistry is starting to come along.
(On impact of Percy Harvin) He’s an explosive player so every time you get the ball in his hands you just can expect big things.
(On what Percy Harvin can do for other receivers) It opens things up for us. It just gives us more opportunities to get open and just try to make a play.
(On tonight’s overall offensive goal) Just stay consistent and execute the way we know we can.
(On role of the offensive line) They did a good job and I felt like the offense as a whole just executed well, the chemistry was there, the timing was there, and it was a good game by us.
WR DOUG BALDWIN
(On number one offense) I think there’s still a lot of things we can improve on especially in the passing game, but for the most part our guys played excellent. The receivers caught everything that was thrown to them, they ran their routes crisp and clean, and they were on their assignments. Also in the run game I felt like we were on point with our blocking assignments. I can only speak for other receivers, but I felt like the offensive line played pretty well too, but there’s a lot of improvement that we can still have.
(On game three of the preseason, being final test for regular season) For the most part I feel like the ones will get a series or two at most next week. We’re still going to prepare for that game like we prepare for a regular season game. We will get to that mode so that when we do get to the regular season it will be like we’ve been doing it for the past four weeks.
RB ROBERT TURBIN
(On first team offense) Everybody’s feeling confident. Percy (Harvin) talks about how he’s feeling faster and getting his legs back. Doug (Baldwin) is feeling real confident, and Russell (Wilson) is feeling real comfortable with all his receivers and running backs and using us in the passing game as well. We just want to get better.
(On offensive explosiveness) For us and really any team if you put in the work the sky is the limit. We want to be the very best possible, whatever it is that the best is, that’s what we want to be. We’re going to continue to work, we’re going continue to work to get better, we’re going continue to find something on film from this week even though it looked good. We’re going find something to improve and we’re going work at it until we achieve the goals we want to achieve.
(On getting game action with the whole starting lineup) It’s definitely great to get those guys out there. It’s good for us and it’s good for them to get some game action, get the feel of it, try to get themselves prepared for the regular season, it’ll be much faster, but it’s good to feel it. Feel one another, feed off one another, kind of get that continuity together. So now we’re going into the regular season playing like we’re playing right now it’s definitely a good feeling.
RB CHRISTINE MICHAEL
(On his feelings about his performance this preseason) I try to come out here every day and keep working. I’m trying to help contribute to the team as much as possible. This is a great team. It’s a hard team to make and I’m just trying to put my hand in and improve every day.
(On what else he needs to do before season starts) Just keep getting better at the small things. Knowing where I’m supposed to be, knowing who to block, protecting the ball. You can never stop getting better. You have to always keep getting better.
OT JUSTIN BRITT
(On learning during the game vs. learning in practice) You learn different things in different ways. With practice you’re not going full contact all the way, and in practice a guy isn’t really trying to get to the quarterback, there’s different experiences, different learning tools. As I transition into the NFL bad things will happen and I’ll make sure I learn from them so they don’t happen again.
FS EARL THOMAS
(On punt return) It’s about staying true to yourself and knowing what you can do. I just want to help impact the game. But it wasn’t just me, it was the team. They open up the holes for me. I made them right [the holes] when I had to. Initially on the take off, if it wasn’t for that big gap, I wouldn’t be able to do anything. It was a great great job on the hold up and the vice, in the interior, and everything works hand in hand. Everything works together.
(On team performance) I’m just pleased with the hard work we been putting in. The way we are in practice, we’re bringing that same person to the game. It’s a lot of distractions out there, but we’re not letting that get in our way. We’re playing beautiful football right now. From the first group to the second group, guys are just coming into their own. You see guys like Jeremy Lane take over a game and we’re just out there having fun. It seems like it’s sandlot football at times.
(On what has to happen between now and next week) You just excited for the week that’s ahead of you. We just take it day by day, but last week I learn so much. I had my scuffles, I had my good times, laughter in the meetings, and you just take in all of that and you love it and enjoy it. When you put in the work, you got to play with confidence when it’s game time. It’s no reason for me staying at the VMAC 10:30 at night, 11 at night and not come out here and let it hang and let it go.
DE O’BRIEN SCHOFIELD
(On is the defense what you guys thought it would be) It was. All week we talked about being physical and building on what we did last week, really pinning our heels back. Mike B [Michael Bennett] didn’t get to play last week so it was good to have him out there with us and just to see what we can do as a group. We mixed a couple rushes in, different types of looks, I think coaches just wanted to see how we problem solve.
(On what do you take away from everything the defense was able to do in the first half) It’s a lot of hungry guys out there. It’s inspiring to see, with guys coming back, what type of leadership that we have. It’s something to build on as the defending champs. Everybody has the mindset that we already know what it takes to go all the way so we’re trying to make it happen.
(On how important it is to get a feel for everybody together) It’s a great feeling. You see Earl (Thomas) and Sherm (Richard Sherman) out there, then to have Kam (Chancellor) back and next week we’ll have Bobby (Wagner). We’re getting all our starters back and guys are going to be fresh and ready to go. To play as a group, I think it’s going to be a very fast and physical defense. Probably faster than last year.
(On how much far along are you guys from last year as far as knowing each other) I think we’re pretty far. Last year Clem (Chris Clemons) was out, Cliff (Avril) was out, and Bruce (Irvin) didn’t play the first four games so it was kind of me and Benson (Mayowa) at DE. Now since the rotation is going like it’s been going since OTA’s, I think we have a pretty good feel for what we do, but more so when we get in the game and see guys turn up.