Bobby Wagner on Eagles, “They have a lot of ways they can attack you.”

Despite losing  Pro Bowl players Kam Chancellor, Richard Sherman and Cliff Avril, the Seattle Seahawks defense has continued to rise to the occasion when needed. Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner has embraced the role of team leader and is leading not only the Seahawks but the rest of the league in superior defensive play.

Bobby Wagner is the league leader in tackles with 76 and is on pace to repeat as the league leader in tackles for a second consecutive year.   While  K.J. Wright has been a constant starter next to Wagner, Micheal Wilhoite and Terrence Garvin have split time at Outside Linebacker. What was a random whisper of Wagner being NFL  Defensive  Player of the year is now a league-wide conversation.   Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is happy to see Wagners had work payoff.

“I think he’s more precise in his pass-drops, he’s worked hard at that stuff and he’s in throwing lanes, and his anticipation is the best it’s been in terms of breaking back up on stuff throwing underneath him. Last game was a great example of that; there was a number of plays keeping short passes to minimum gains that he is great at, but he’s been terrific for years now, and that’s why he keeps throwing these numbers up there. The scheme has stayed the same; he’s a master of it and he totally owns what we’re doing and the adjustments and he anticipates beautifully because of all of that.”

Wagners spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon and talked about the Seahawks Sunday night  home game against the Philadelphia Eagles

Bobby Wagner intercepts pass intended for Trent Taylor
Bobby Wagner grabs the ball from 49ers wide receiver Trent Taylor. ( Rod Mar Seattle Seahawks)

BOBBY WAGNER

(On Philadelphia’s running game)

“They have a lot of different schemes and a lot of different ways they try and attack you whether it’s falling back with the Y and just different gap schemes but they got different bodies too.  They got [LeGarrette] Blount, bigger back but they also have smaller backs.  But I feel like we will be ready for them.  They are going to come out and they are going to try to throw those little wrinkles out there but I feel like with a good film study we will be fine.”

 

(On the thing about Carson Wentz that impresses him the most)

“I would have to say that he does not like to slide. I have seen a couple times him try and run somebody over which I think not to many quarterbacks do that, so I’m hoping he gives me an opportunity. That would be great.”

 

(On if this is the longest he has been in one defensive scheme)

“In my life? Yeah, definitely. Definitely.  I have been in this for six years and been able to not only be in it for six years, but been with the same group for a long period of time, so you get to learn somebody and really understand how they think and they get to understand how you think.  I think that is what allowed us to play fast.  We have been very, very fortunate to be in this scheme, but also have the same guys to grow up with.”

 

(On how does he pick the next thing he wants to master in his play technique)

“I think you just go and watch film and kind of look at all the opportunities that you had that you might have missed out on and that’s kind of what I did.  I looked back and I felt like there were some opportunities in coverage for me to make either a quarterback hold onto the ball a little bit longer to get the rush there or create a play myself so I just kind of looked at that and picked that as the thing to improve.”

 

(On how did he improve his pass coverage during the offseason)

“Yeah, it was just being mindful of it.  It was a lot of watching film.  I feel like I watched a lot of film in the offseason and then especially around OTA time, I was just really, really conscious of my drops and what’s behind me and what’s in front of me and just wanted to make sure that that area in my game improves. So a lot of it was just film study and taking chances at practice and doing it in a game.”

 

(On what does he remember about last year’s game against Philadelphia)

“We won.  Nah, I remember it was a pretty good game.  It was a fun game.  I think I remember Kam [Chancellor] having a pick.  I remember I think Cliff [Avril] had a sack that game too.  It just was a fun game for the defense. We had a lot of TFLs [tackles for loss].  I feel like we had a lot of aggressive hits and it was just a fun game.  I feel like at the end of the game we were happy with it.”

 

(On if it’s good to remember that the team has beaten Philadelphia recently going into Sunday’s game)

“I mean it doesn’t really matter. Last year is last year. I’m pretty sure they don’t care what happened last year. They are 10-1 right now.  We have to come in with the same mentality to do our job, fly around, hit them, and pull the win out.  I feel like we are very confident that we can do that.”

 

(On what looks different about Philadelphia’s offense this year)

“I would probably say, obviously, Wentz.  You know, he is definitely more confident, making more plays and you can tell he has a better grip of the offense and you know, they opened up the play book a little bit more for him.  He is making really good decisions, whether he will hold onto the ball and run with it or get it out and he is finding open receivers and tight ends.  Their run game looks really good.  LeGarrette Blount adds a new element for their run game, so I think they complement the run game, pass game really well.”

 

(On if he has ever set Defensive Player of the Year as a goal and if it’s something he pays attention to)

“Yeah, I have definitely set it as a goal.  It’s always been a goal of mine wanting to win.  I mean I think you look at all the players that they consider greatest linebackers to play like Ray Lewis, Ken Norton, Brian Urlacher and those guys.  You see what they got to accomplish during their careers and so you want to hope that your career kind of does the same, if not better than that.   It is definitely something I would be honored with but I feel like as long as I keep doing what I am doing, it will work itself out.”

 

(On if he believes playing inside linebacker is a hindrance to winning the Defensive Player of the Year award because of the lower number of sacks)

“Kind of.  Not really, but I feel like they don’t necessarily appreciate tackles as much though.  You can’t just get it off tackles.  You got to do more.  You got to do interceptions, you got to do sacks.  A guy can have 10 sacks and he can win it.  You definitely have to do more and I feel like the inside linebackers that have won it in the past understand that and have done more.  And you know, I can do more, so I’ll be fine.”

 

(On if he feels like he is playing as well as he ever has)

“I feel like I am playing really well.  I feel like I am on it. I feel like I’m in a good groove.  I feel like I have a good grasp of the defense.  I feel like I am calling plays, seeing plays a lot cleaner than I have, so I feel faster.”

 

(On what goes into this team finishing seasons as successfully as it has in past seasons)

“I think the emphasis on the little things, like the details of everything.  I think we keep that emphasis throughout the year and I feel like as the season goes on, I feel like some teams tend to get away from the smaller things and the detail things and I feel like that is something that we do a good job on, our coaches do a good job on emphasizing all the time, whether it is tackling, how we prepare during the week, we tend to stay on those details and I think that is what separates us toward the end of the season because the teams don’t stay on those details towards the end.”

 

(On what does a 10-1 record feel like as a team…remembering back to his second year) “Yeah, that was a long time ago.  I just remember a lot of winning and a lot of laughter. It kind of just feels like you understand you are going to get everybody’s best game.  I just remember teams would put in plays that they hadn’t practiced, hadn’t put on film, so we just had to prepare for a lot of things because when you that top dog, everybody wants to take you down and they will do whatever they can to take you down.  I remember it just being fun trying to figure out what new play or new concept that they were going to try and come in and put and we were usually on it.”

 

(On who is the better second year quarterback, Russell Wilson or Carson Wentz)

“Russell Wilson because the numbers say themselves.  I mean you can’t really compare those two guys.  The way Russell plays and the quarterback he is, the composure, the guy…Russell is my guy so that is who I am going to go with.”

(On has his leadership role changed with Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman out)

“I mean I feel like you just have to do more.  I feel like Coach was saying earlier, some of the communication that Kam would have, me and KJ [Wright] have to take over or have to make a little bit more calls and make sure everything is set.  I think it is just we have to communicate more because a lot of it too is we are playing with guys who we hadn’t played with before, that we haven’t seen for the last six years that I’ve been playing so you have you can’t just leave everything to the verbal communication that you may have established with Kam or Earl [Thomas] or Sherm.  You have to make sure everybody is on the same page and everybody is thinking the same thought because when Kam and Sherm was there, you know that you were thinking thought.  When they’re not, it’s like you are wondering if they are or no, so you just have to make sure it’s a lot clearer.”

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