Seattle Seahawks (5-5) Linebacker Bobby Wagner met with the media Tuesday afternoon ahead of the teams pivotal Sunday match up with the Carolina Panthers (6-4). Like the Seahawks, the Panthers are second in the NFC South three games behind the Division-leading New Orleans Saints. Sunday’s game (10:00 am PST)at Carolina has definite Wild Card Playoff implications.
(On if he watched the Rams and Chiefs Monday Night duel)
“I did. I didn’t watch all of it, I was a little sick. I was watching the game, it was 20-something to 13, took a nap, woke up, it was 50-something to whatever it was – and I was just like what happened when I went to sleep. They showed the highlights, all the strip sacks for touchdowns and pick-sixes for touchdowns, obviously the offense. It was a pretty cool game.”
(On what’s the biggest key to slowing down Cam Newton)
“You definitely got to tackle him – he’s a big dude. You don’t want to get him going. You don’t want to misread something, let him get 10, 15 yards and make a good pass because he seems to feed off of good plays. Once he has a good play and has energy, that kind of seems to ignite the team too. You’ve got to limit his big plays as much as you can. I think a lot of that from the past playing him is recognizing the runs, recognizing when he’s going to keep the ball, when he’s going to give the ball. It’s a little bit different now because they’re kind of relying more so on one running back. Back then, they kind of had a lot of options. You just got to key in on those two guys, the running back and the quarterback.”
(On how big of a challenge Christian McCaffrey is to face)
“The offense alone is a big challenge just because of read-zone option. You’ve got to respect Cam (Newton) as a runner. You got a lot of pulling and then you add him to it, he’s able to hit the hole downhill, he’s able to get outside. They move around him a lot as a receiver, as a fly guy, so we have to just do a good job of knowing where he’s at and know what he likes to run in the certain spots that he’s at. It’ll be a good challenge.”
(On if facing a mobile quarterback like Russell Wilson in practice helps him when facing other mobile quarterbacks)
“Yeah, definitely. Going against Russ definitely helps the zone-read stuff, but you can’t simulate a 6’5, 240 (pound) guy who likes to fall forward. That’s a lot of weight going forward.”
(On how he views the weak-side linebacker position with K.J.
Wright in and out of the lineup) “We just have to understand it’s kind of a next man up and everybody knows. I trust everybody that’s been in the position. Austin (Calitro) is currently in there right now so we have a lot of confidence in him. We communicate a lot. All the guys have been rotating in there. We’ve established a pretty good relationship this offseason, so the communication has been there but obviously it’s not going to be as great as when we have K.J. in there. I just have to do a good job of making sure that I communicate and do my best to help them be good that day.”
(On adjusting to the communication with the roster changes made from last year)
“I just think it’s been a year of growth. You kind of have to restart your thinking. When I was a rookie and I came here, I was trying to figure out my voice within a lot of older established guys. Now, it’s kind of reversed. It’s trying to connect with the younger guys and try to find a way that I can help them and pass the knowledge that I have because that’s what the guys did when first got here. They were just giving me a lot of knowledge and I ran with it, so now it’s my turn to pass that knowledge down. As far as the communication, it’s been cool. I think when you have a guy like Sherm (Richard Sherman) who you talk trash with during the game, the communication with Kam (Chancellor) and my communication with K.J. (Wright), even Mike (Michael Bennett) – you lose all that. Sometimes you talk trash and the person ain’t there and you’ve got to get used to it. Everybody is growing, everybody is finding their own. B-Mac (Bradley McDougald) is a good guy to talk trash with.”
(On if he minds the fact that the NFL is turning into a more offensive-driven league)
“I think you have them (50-point games) every once in a blue moon. I think they’re trying to make it a reoccurring thing and trying to find a way to put up more points. Regular season and all that stuff, it’s cool, but when it gets down to the playoff times, it’s whoever got the best defense and who can keep the points off the board. Even if you look back at the year we won, you had the high-power Broncos offense that puts up a crazy amount of points and they didn’t have that many points, and that’s the team that won the Super Bowl.
So, at the end of the day, we understand that for the audience and for the people watching, they want to see more points and they want to see everybody score tons and tons. Like you said, a lot of those scores were defensive scores too and it seemed like the team who had the most defensive scores and defensive plays won the game. No matter how much offense you try to put it up, if you don’t got a good defense, you aren’t going to win. I think it’s just a message to the defensive guys and the defensive side of the ball to just keep doing your thing because we are needed.”