Bobby Wagner is having another All-Pro year and needs one tackle to record his seventh consecutive 100 tackle season. While Wagner is currently eighth in the NFL in tackles this year, his forced fumble, recovered a fumble and 98 yard pick six in last weeks 43 to 16 Seahawks win over the San Francisco 49ers earned him his first NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
During his weekly press conference Wagner was asked which game was his favorite and how he rates each game. Wagner also talked about being miked up during the 49ers game.
The Seahawks defense has undergone a complete transformation from a 0-2 that saw the team lose All-Pro safety Earl Thomas due to a season-ending knee injury and have only had the service of All-Pro Linebacker Wright for just three games. If you go all the way back to last year the Seahawks current defense is missing five Pro Bowl starters from last year. Earl Thomas, K.J Wright, Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman
Despite the personnel changes the Seahawks defense has made some incredible strides. One Achilles heel for the Seahawks defense has been giving up chunk yards due to power tackling. The Seahawks gave up big plays against the run in the win over the Carolina Panthers and the two losses to the Division-leading LA Rams. In the 49ers games, the Seahawks gave up big plays in the passing game, a Dante Pettis 75 yard TD catch and four other pass play of plus 20 yards or more. The common denominator according to Wagner is poor tackling.
On Monday the Seahawks will there hands full with the Kirk Cousins led Vikings who have the seventh-best passing offense in the NFL.
(On the defenses red zone success)
“Again, I think it’s your mindset. It’s no matter what happened for you to get down into the red zone, you having that belief and that confidence that you’re going to stop this team from getting into the end zone no matter where it’s at. If it’s on the 1-yard line, if it’s on the 10-yard line, it’s all about a mindset. Since I’ve been here, we’ve always just preached that and we’ve seen that from Earl (Thomas)’s plays to Kam (Chancellor)’s plays – even the two-point conversion on the goal line where he’s right there and you knock it out and recover the ball. I think it’s a mindset. It’s a way to train yourself to think and we’ve been making plays. It’s always huge to not let points get on the board.”
(On K.J. Wright being the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee from the Seahawks)
“Amazing. I’m so happy for him. This guy does it all. If you see some of the work that he does in the community – this offseason, I’m watching him build houses, I’m watching him go to Africa and build libraries, he’s trying to help kids in the community, he’s trying to help adults in the community, and then comes and gives that same energy in the building trying to help younger guys. Even last week, when he was down in San Francisco, he was FaceTiming Austin (Calitro) just to check on him and making sure that he was doing good with the playbook and things of that nature. I think it just shows his personality, shows he’s a caring person who wants to give back and wants to see everybody around him do well. I’m super happy for him, I’m excited for him and it’s a pretty dope moment for him.”
(On the interception return)
“Well, earlier down the drive, they ran kind of a similar formation and he threw it. The running back kind of sat over the ball and he threw it. I didn’t get there fast enough and I just made a tackle so I kind of felt like if he was going to do that in the red zone, I would have a little more time to make the play so when I saw the formation in the red zone, I kind of baited him. I kind of acted like I didn’t see the running back and then as soon as I’d seen him throw it, I went and I grabbed it and then I tried to run as fast as I could and make sure the quarterback didn’t catch me because I wasn’t trying to hear everybody’s mouth.”
(On his touchdown celebration)
“I did not know that was the celebration I was going to do. I wouldn’t say I was gassed, but I was tired and I was just like, ‘well, I feel like they always sleeping on us, and I’m tired, so why not just take a nap?’”
(On how he baits quarterbacks into throwing to certain areas)
“It’s more of your body language. In that particular play, the running back kind of sat by me – I didn’t move too much. He probably thought that he could throw it on the outside because I was on the inside, knowing the whole time I had my back leg planted waiting for him to just look at the running back. As soon as he looked and I saw him move his shoulder, I knew he was going to throw the ball, so I just broke on it.”
(On Jarran Reed)
“He’s been getting after it. He’s been amazing in the run game. The thing that I’m impressed with the most is his growth leadership-wise. He’s been very vocal, especially up front. He takes a lot of pride and accountability on not just understanding his job but understanding what the offense is trying to do. He tries to call out the plays and that kind of reminds me of how (Brandon) Mebane was when he was here. Just the way he’s been playing – you watch him work on his pass-rush moves every single game. You see it – you see the production, growth. You see the leadership, growth, and he’s just been really, really good for us.”
(On the Vikings receiving corps)
“They’re good. They got a bunch of receivers, they got a great tight end that can get the job done too. I’m not surprised that you (Vikings) pass it. You got running backs who can get out in the flat and make plays, make people miss. You’ve got a receiving group that can go up and jump over people’s heads and outrun guys down the field and you got a tight end who doesn’t mind coming over the middle and getting hit. You’re not surprised by it, but you probably would like a little bit more balance. You don’t want to be predictable where everybody just understands that you’re going to throw the ball every time. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if they just came in here and tried to pass the ball the whole time.”