Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson took to the podium Thursday afternoon for his weekly press conference with the media and the four-time Pro Bowler was honest and candid about head coach Pete Carroll’s influence on him, on and off the field. Carroll signed a multi-year contract extension that will keep him with the Seahawks until 2021.
After Sunday’s regular season home game with the Arizona Cardinals, the Seahawks will participate in the NFL postseason for the seventh time in the nine years Carroll has been the head coach.
(On Pete Carroll’s contract extension)
“It’s exciting. Coach Carroll, he’s been one of the most consistent people in the building every day. He has a great culture, he knows how to win and he’s just a great coach. He cares about his players and everything else. It’s a great thing for the Seattle Seahawks organization, that’s for sure.”
(On what Pete Carroll has taught him during his time in Seattle)
“I think he’s taught me so much. He’s taught me more about the game. Just being able to be around him, he has a great mind. He see’s things that others don’t see usually. He’s continued to feed into my thought process on just staying positive, how to believe, how to see things, looking for the best things at all times. I think that’s his optimistic approach, his thought process on that. I think also too, his consistency I think more than anything else.
My biggest goal in playing football is to be a winner, number one and number two is to be consistent. I think that’s in your approach, in your process, how you study, how you learn, how you approach the game and how you come to the building every day.
The one thing about Coach Carroll, through all the good times, all the amazing wins we’ve had, through some of the tough ones too – tough losses – he’s been the same way every day in terms of his approach. That’s one of the things that makes him, in my opinion, a Hall of Fame football coach. Just a coach that makes a big difference.”
(On Tyler Lockett drawing pass interference calls)
“Yeah, I don’t think about the flag part of it, but I do think about him making catches and him making plays, I know that. He’s done a great job – all of our receivers have done a great job making plays all year. It’s been a lot of fun playing with these guys. Just how they have a knack for the football – how to catch it, how to go up for it, how to make plays, how to get away from guys. Tyler’s been phenomenal at that, catching those plays down the field and also when he gets the ball in his hands, he may score. That’s always a good thing for us when he’s going up for it.”
The Seahawks will make the enter the NFC West playoffs as the number five seed after an 0-2 start. Wilson was asked about where the Seahawks are right now.
“I don’t think we wavered at all. I mean, I think the reality is – I always go to the reality of it all – we went to Denver, we feel like we should have won that game early on. First game of the year you never know how that’s going to be. Von Miller made some nice plays in that game, he was pretty special. Then the second game, we didn’t play our best football at all. We still had a chance, but we didn’t play our best football against the Bears – they’re a really good football team. So, that was the reality of it. We had started slow before and there was no panic.
I think that more than anything else, it’s just always about the work. Like I’ve always said to you guys, you’ve got to love the process more than the end result. I think that the guys on this football team from the coaches to the players in particular, we really love the process. We really love the practice part of it, we really love the competing with one another and just trying to be at our best every week and every game and every practice, and it’s a lot of fun. We really embrace one another, so there’s no fear, there’s no fear in that.
I think with the vets and the guys who’ve been around, we know we’ve done it before and there’s no doubt that we could do it again. It’s some new faces and new young guys, but we have to show them how to continue to prepare and don’t doubt and don’t listen to the outside stuff. The outside stuff will make you believe it if you want to, good or bad. I think for us, we’ve just been focused on each other, been focused on the process of it all.”
With one game left t he Seahawks are on track to tie the NFL record for fewest turnovers in a season. They have 10, same as the 2010 49ers and 2011 Patriots. Wilson was asked if he was aware of the record
“I haven’t been made aware of that particular stat, but I do know that we’re doing a really good job of protecting the football and also making a lot of plays while doing that. Guys are making touchdown catches all over the field, guys are running the ball really well as well. I think to play winning football, you’ve got to be able to execute with a football. It’s all about the ball as coach says, every day matters. We focus on that every day all the way from OTAs and how we prepare with that, all the way to when we’re just throwing in the offseason, to obviously big games and big matchups. It’s about being smart with the football and being strategic with it.”
(On finding the balance between taking care of the ball and making plays)
“I think that it is a skill. I think that is a skill to not give the ball away. I think how you prepare, the fundamental side of it. Our running backs do a great job. Chris Carson, Mike Davis, (Rashaad) Penny, J.D. (McKissic), those guys do a great job of holding the ball high and tight. That’s a skill, that’s a focused thing that you practice, and you prepare for.
I think also too in terms of the throwing game, we’ve been protecting it pretty well for a while and I think that’s because the receivers going up and getting it, making plays and trying to be as smart as we can with the football. I think that’s an intentionality and being intentional with it and practicing it that way.”
(On if he’s ever thought about what his career would be like if Pete Carroll wasn’t his coach)
“No, I’ve never thought about that. First of all, going back to when I was at the Senior Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks were actually the first team I met with. You get a little card and you have meetings. As soon as I got there that night, I had my first big meeting – it doesn’t tell you what team it is yet, it just tells you to come to this room. I remember knocking on the door, and Coach Carroll and Tater – Coach Carl Smith – answered the door. John Schneider was in there, a bunch of guys, like a bunch of coaches and everything else – Coach (Darrell) Bevell was in there, just everybody. It was a packed room. Whenever you go into a room, you want to feel the room kind of. It just felt right from the get-go, it felt real. When I left that room, I was like, ‘That’s the place I want to play, hopefully.
I believe that team’s going to pick me.’ I’ve told you guys the story about me putting the names in a hat and Seahawks – that’s a true story and everything else, so it’s kind of crazy. So, when I think about another coach or anything else like that, I never thought about that before, you know. I don’t try to think that way. I do think that Coach Carroll has been a big part of just my love of the game, continual love of the game. He’s just great in terms of how he approaches the day. It’s not just for me, I mean this is for the whole entire building. How he approaches you guys, I think he does a great job with the media and you guys. I think he does a great job with the cooking staff, the equipment guys. He just has a very positive personality in that way and he makes you love coming to work. I think that’s what he does best and so that’s what I enjoyed the most. It’s professional football, things change and everything else, but I do think that he’s been a blessing in my life for sure, as a coach and a friend.”
(On first meeting Pete Carroll)
“I’m trying to reflect back. I had so many of those interviews, but I do remember them just asking a bunch of questions about football, about life, about my thought process. They really asked me about my preparation because they had heard about my preparation and how I think and visualize and how I go on the field at Camp Randall when I first got there and throughout the season and would walk through plays on my own.
I think John Schneider did a lot of studying and figuring things out in terms of how I prepared and everything else. A lot of it was those kinds of questions and why I thought I could be successful. I told them why I knew I was going to be successful, not why I thought. I think that was just a confidence thing for me. I just really believe that and really knew that because of the preparation, and also I think my skill set too and what I could do and everything else. I love the game and where I could go and hopefully, the Seattle Seahawks was going to be the spot.”