The SeattlSeahwks (8-5) will host NFC West division leaders Los Angeles Rams ( 9-4) Sunday afternoon ( 1:05 p.m. PT) in a game that will have a dramatic bearing on who wins the NFC West. The Seahawks beat the Rams ( 16-10) in Week Five and a win would give them the season sweep and the head to head tie breaker should both teams lose their remaining two games.
Here is what the coaches had to say about Sunday pivotal match up.
RAMS HEAD COACH SEAN MCVAY
(On how different do the Seahawks look than they did in Week 5)
“Well I think clearly you are missing some of the perianal role call players in [Kam] Chancellor and [Richard] Sherman are the guys that you notice aren’t there. But we still see a great football team that is capable of winning games. When you look at the way they beat Philly that was riding high at 10-1 and doing some of those things and then you see the way that the quarterbacks playing and just the belief.
You look at [Doug] Baldwin. You look at some of the playmakers, Jimmy Graham’s got nine touchdowns, [Paul] Richardson is averaging 16.6 a catch, so this is a great football team. Really you see sound defense. You see outstanding pursuit and you see the premiere safety in the league and one of the premiere linebackers with [Bobby] Wagner and you look at [KJ] Wright as well and [Michael] Bennett and [Frank] Clark rushing up front, so this is a great team and you can see why week in and week out, year in and year out, they are competing for world titles.”
(On if there is any extra advantage gained when you and your opponent play the same team back to back weeks prior to the match up)
“I wouldn’t say so. I think it provides good film but because it is a different opponent, it’s just like any other game that you would utilize in your break downs. I think what it does is it demonstrates when you look at similar opponents, just kind of being able to add some of the comps, so in that regard it can kind of help, but I think if anything, it makes you appreciate what a great football team the Seahawks are to be able to beat a team like that [Eagles] when they were playing with such momentum.
You look at the way that they were really kind of just pounding everybody they had played, until you guys [Seahawks] beat them a couple weeks ago. So I think it just demonstrates what a great football team the Seahawks are and how capable they are of beating anybody in this league because of some of the players and the coaching they have.”
(On how big of addition and piece of the offense has Cooper Kupp become)
“Yeah, he has done a great job. I think as soon as you meet Cooper Kupp, you realize he is a little bit different than most normal rookies. He is mature beyond his years. He’s got a great understanding of the game and then he is one of those guys who is conscientious. He is very smart so he is going to naturally get better and I think that is what he has done throughout the course of this season.
He continues to be one of the focal points of our offense and he delivers week in and week out. I love the way that he responds, both to the good and the bad. I think that is what really represents good players is their ability to respond from some of the adversity as well as be able to handle the good things and continue with some consistent approaches and some consistent performances week in and week out. Cooper is a special player, special person and he has been everything and more that we anticipated when we drafted.”
(On what does Todd Gurley mean to this offense)
“Yeah, I think that is the biggest thing. You look at Todd and he has truly become a complete back where he is able to do a variety of things. We know what a special runner he is, but I think he has demonstrated his ability to catch the football out of the backfield, use him as a check-down option, some of the things he has done in the screen game and then I think what a lot of times doesn’t get recognized or appreciated is what he has done in protection. Being able to hold up versus some of the pressure looks and allowing Jared [Goff] to be able to get the ball out in a timely manner to some of our receivers and tight ends.
He is a special player. He has done a great job. I wouldn’t say that we are surprised just based on the way that he went about his work since we first got here as a collective staff but very fortunate to have Todd has our running back and we know it’s going to be a great challenge this week but he is going to be a huge part of what we are going to try to do offensively.”
(On if the Seahawks offense looks any different now than it was the last time the teams met earlier this season)
“I think just like anything else when you have good players and great coaching, you are going to get better and I think you’ve looked at them steadily improve throughout the season. I think when you look at the way that the quarterback is playing, he is as important to any team as there is and he is playing as well as anybody in this league, accounted for 32/33 touchdowns, NFL record, 17 touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
You talk about a great competitor that can stay in the pocket, create off schedule eyes down the field with his legs, there is nothing that Russell Wilson can’t do and then when you look at just the playmakers that he’s got with Doug Baldwin, who I think is one of the best receivers in this game that nobody talks about. Paul Richardson has emerged as a big time threat and Jimmy Graham leads the league with tight ends for touchdowns with nine. I’ve been impressed with [J.D.] McKissic as a change of pace back and what he has been able to do as a receiver. They are playing hard up front. You look at Duane Brown and some different things. This is a big time offense. They definitely look like they’ve gotten better and Russell Wilson is playing as well as he ever has throughout his career and he is a big time guy.”
(On how different Duane Brown has made the Seahawks’ offensive line)
“Well I think you just look at it, he is a perianal Pro Bowl left tackle. Great movement, great athleticism, you can use him in a variety of ways. So to be able to have a player of his caliber on that left side, especially for a right handed quarterback I think has been a big addition for them and he has done a great job. I have always had a lot of respect for Duane in his career watching him from afar.”
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
“Alright, we have a heck of a matchup coming up against a team that has been playing great football. They’ve really turned everything around and have been enjoying a fantastic season. We saw a great matchup with the Rams playing Philadelphia last week; two really big-time teams battling. It was a heck of a football game, so we have good stuff to look at, but man, we have a lot of respect for what they’re doing in all phases.
This is probably as well-rounded a team, and I’ve said that the last couple of weeks because we’ve been facing teams that just have their act together. These guys are great in special teams, they’re playing terrific defense, and their offense is way out there averaging over thirty points a game. we just have to do everything right to have a chance and that’s what we’re preparing to do.”
(On how much he can take from the last game against the Rams considering how much the personnel has changed on the defensive side of the ball)
“They’ve been able to kind of do what they do throughout the year, and they have a really nice notebook and the scope of what they’re doing on offense and defense, they’ve really stayed in that kind of.
They have a real philosophy and a real commitment to it that is real obvious, and it’s why they’re so successful. They’re going to go play their game pretty much; we have seen them, as far as the personnel, their personnel is pretty much the same with what we’re seeing. Some of it on defense is a little different, but we have seen them enough. We see them all throughout the division all year, so we have really been able to keep track of them. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be that much different.”
(On if he expects Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright to play on Sunday)
“I don’t know that right know, I don’t know. K.J. is in the protocol, that’s up to the doctors, and Bobby is going to go all the way through the week, as he has the last couple of weeks. We’ll have to wait and see.”
(On how Bobby Wagner has responded the last couple of days)
“He’s very upbeat and very positive. He’s planning on getting ready. That’s what he’s doing.”
(On what he sees with adding Paul Dawson)
“Well, he’s been with us for a few weeks now, we’ve been training him, and we just need the depth on the roster. He’s a very instinctive player, he’s played a lot of football, and we’ve watched him through the college thing and all of that and now that he’s been with us long enough, we think we can use him on special teams and also if we need to play him, he can get in the game and go.”
(On where he fits specifically) “He’ll be playing inside, in inside spots.”
(On how they did a good job defensively against Todd Gurley last time they played and how big of a factor he has been for the Rams this season)
“The offense I think is clearly built around his ability and the dynamics of what he offers. He’s a terrific outside runner and inside runner, he’s great with the ball in his hands coming out of the backfield, and he can do everything and the remarkable thing about Todd is he is so durable and so consistent. He’s given them a real, obvious positive factor throughout, and they know it; they’re going to him, coaches talk about it, and it’s in the stats. There’s no denying it. He’s really the centerpiece.”
(On how the injuries are testing the depth of this team and if he can remember the last time he had to deal with this number of injuries to players who are so crucial)
“I don’t have a specific year in mind or time, but we’ve been under it before many times. This doesn’t seem that much different; we’re not taking it any different and our approach isn’t any different. Next guy up, and away we go; and the guys have to rally around those guys as they step in. That’s part of what you’re calling for; everybody has to rally, and that’s what we’re doing.”
(On if he has seen any of the younger guys who are getting these opportunities become more vocal and take on larger roles)
“Well, Mike Bennett has always been a vocal guy, Michael Wilhoite is an experienced football player, he doesn’t have any problem stepping into the role of calling stuff when he plays. When he steps up, he’s done a good job.
Earl [Thomas] is always a guy that leads in his way, so it’s different if they’re not there, but we’re moving ahead. I’m not really concerned about that; I think it’s more about playing the game and getting out there and doing things right and executing.”
(On how Mike Davis is progressing) “He is going today, so he’s getting through it.”
(On Dion Jordan’s status) “He is going to practice. He is practicing today. We’ll see how he does”
(On how different is the offensive efficiency form the first time they played the Rams in October)
“We’re further along now; there’s no question. We have much more continuity than we had at the time, and up front, our matchups are going to be ok. They’re a very difficult front, but our matchups are going to be ok. It’s great to see Duane [Brown] on the left side protecting Russell’s [Wilson] back-side. I think our communication is better than it’s been at any time, so I think we are much further along.”
(On what the biggest difference is of Jarred Goff between this year and last year)
“It’s a big difference, it really is. He is playing to his potential; you can see him game-in and game-out making great throws, he’s in command of the offense, he’s creative with the plays that he makes, and he is utilizing his players really well.
He was more in the survival-mode I think in his first year, and he is not there at all; form early on when we played him, he had already started well. He was playing good football and he has just continued to show that consistency, which is a fantastic attribute. His numbers are great, their offense is doing awesome, and he has really grown.”
(On how they have blocked some kicks this season and what he sees there with that) “Yeah, they’re really good at it.
They’ve always been really good and [John] Fassel does a great job coaching these guys. We’ve had great respect for all of the stuff that he’s been able to do over the years, and fortunately, Brian Schneider has gone against him and he used to work with Brian, so we know them and they know us. Scheme, aggressive mentality, good players at the right spots, their special teams with the kicker, the punter, the returners, and Pharoh is going great on the back end. It’s just a well-oiled group and they really challenge us.”
(On how he has never treated an opponent different than anyone else and in terms of what is on the line for a chance to be in first place if he can remember a regular season game meaning so much)
“Yeah; last week and the week before and every one of them have been the same. It’s the same thing; every one of those gave us a chance to be in first place. That’s the facts; that’s the truth. You can look at it differently, but we don’t, so we’re going to keep going with everything we have to play a great football game, and then we will see what happens next week.
Next week will be the exact same thing, regardless of what this outcome is. It doesn’t matter; you have to win next week. Every once in a while they say ‘Ok, you’ve done this or you have done that,’ but this season isn’t going to be one of those. We’re going to have to finish all the way to the end of it, so being in the right mentality and the mode is hugely important and valuable to us. Here we go, and we’ll see what happens.”
(On Bradley McDougald filling in for Kam Chancellor for a couple of weeks now and how he has filled in at that spot)
“Yeah, it really has. He’s done very well; he has strengths that we’re playing to. He’s done a great job, he understands the defense as well as he has at any time, and he’s able to take advantage of the scheme. He’s a very good coverage guy, he’s been an excellent tackler, and he’s been active making stuff happen.
He’s had some big plays, some run-through opportunities, and some hits and things like that. He’s really filled in very, very well for us and we’re really happy with the matchups. We have no concerns about what he can do or how he can matchup.”
(On Chris Carson’s status)
“He’s running again; he is running and doing all of the running and rehab stuff. I don’t know if he would’ve been able to practice this week anyway, but he had a chance and we were entertaining that thought, so it probably goes to next week is how we would think of it.
That’s how I’m thinking of it; I have to talk to the trainers about that, but I’m trying to push him along, but there was a bit of a setback, but he’s back working again. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but we were hoping to have none of those in the process.”
(On how DeShawn Shead came through last week back in practice)
“He made it through the week and he just survived his first week back. This week and next week will be his two weeks to really get going, and we’re just looking for indications of how far along he has come. He is able to go, he’s running fast, he’s working hard, but each day of practice is really big for him, so we don’t have much time to take, but we’ll take it all that we can to figure this out.”
(On how injures to special teams had an impact on that long punt return by Jacksonville last week)
“I’m not going to go there with that, but it’s a factor that we have to keep working at. We knew our guys, we knew our situations, not as much back-log, so we just have to keep working really hard to position guys. There’s a little bit of that of that we didn’t handle the ball bouncing and picking it up and taking off as well as we liked to.
There was a moment of the ball was going to be let go, and there’s that little moment and there was enough to give them the edge with a great returner, and they took advantage of it.”
(On if Michael Wilhoite has done everything that he expected when they signed him)
“Yes. The only thing that Michael hasn’t been able to do is that he missed some time. He wasn’t able to stay consistent; we really were counting on Michael to be a big factor throughout, and he has just missed quite a bit of time with some muscle issues. He’s back doing great, and he’s really brought the leadership and the toughness and the versatility. He’s played different spots for us already and done well, and he can really handle if he has to be the caller, he can do that. He’s done fine; we just wished he would’ve been more available.”
(On the emergence of the Rams’ Cooper Kupp and what he has seen from him)
“He’s really good, he’s really good. He really fits into their offense in a way that they know how to use him, he’s been a factor in a lot of games, and he made big plays last week against Philly. He’s just a go-to guy and he does a lot of special things; getting open in tough situations, coming through in big opportunities, he makes the plays, and he runs well with the football. He’s doing a good job and has had a great year.”
(On the magnitude of these crucial games and how important it so for how they do things all year long so that these ones don’t become too much to handle)
“I think it’s really important. I think it’s the process and it’s the consistency so the mentality is developed and the discipline that it takes to really see things clearly and see things accurately, and not mistake situations and opportunities the wrong way.
It can distract you; we’re just working to clear our minds as much as we can to function like we’re capable of. You have to deal with the issues; so the discipline that you can create over a long time is really what comes through at the end of the season. Hopefully, here we are in a great finish mode with all of this stuff that’s out there to be had. We’re going to rely on what’s brought us and see if we can pull it off.”
(On what he sees in Blair Walsh that makes him continue to feel comfortable with him)
“He’s a good kicker; he has a great leg, he has terrific mechanics, great habits, and his mentality stays strong. Yeah, he missed a couple here and there, but he is doing things right to give himself a chance. He’s our guy; that’s who we have and we hope that he’s going to come through.”
(On how Frank Clark has handled the workload this season)
“I think he’s relishing the opportunity. He loves that he’s playing so much, and I think he is doing well. He’s strong, a good physical guy and he can withstand the rigors of the plays and all of that no problem, and he has a great motor. He had a great week two weeks ago; he got kind of quiet this last week, and we’re just hoping to get him right back on track this week.”
(On how at times when the pass rush hasn’t been there how much is that a product of QBs getting rid of the ball quickly)
“We do see a lot of that. We see a lot of quick-game, and we have all season long. We have a lot of hits on the quarterbacks; check our numbers there, we’re hitting the quarterback, but we need to convert those into sacks more-so. We’re getting around the quarterback; last week, that didn’t happen, and it was evident. You could tell. There’s a style that we see, and that’s nothing new though. We’ve seen that for years.”
(On how Naz Jones is doing) “He’s still in the rehab mode here. We’ll see if something shifts by the end of the week, but he won’t go today.”
(On if he kicks himself at all ever about letting go of RB Alex Collins and the success that he is having)
“I’m thrilled for him, we’re thrilled for him. He was right in the middle of the competition here and other guys were ahead of him, that’s just how it turned out. I’m thrilled that he’s having a good year. He’s great; he works really hard, and it’s really meaningful to him and he has a good spirit about him. I’m thrilled that he’s doing well.”
(On what Thomas Rawls is not doing to get himself in games)
“He’s not getting in very much right now. He hasn’t had a chance, and we’ve talked about that after the game. He can’t show us anything unless he gets his opportunities, but there’s only so many handoffs that you can get in a game, and it just didn’t work out.”