While the Arizona Cardinals will wrap up their 2018 season Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field the game will be just the beginning for the Seattle Seahawks who will return to the postseason after a one-year hiatus
For Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Caroll there will be no holding back of players or effort with an impending playoff game. Carroll made it very clear during Friday’s press conference with the media that the Seahawks are intent on handling the business at hand.
“It’s hard to imagine that here we are, Week 17.
It’s just hard to imagine, it just happened so fast, it jumped on us kind of here. I’m not saying we’re real nostalgic or melancholy or whatever those words are, but it just happened pretty quick. We’re ready to finish with a bang here. We’ve got to play a really good football game. We’ve had a hard time with the Cardinals in years past and we’ve got to make sure we take care of business and play good football to give ourselves a chance. We’ll see what happens.”
Despite his vow not to get nostalgic and take a trip down memory lane, Carroll took a moment to reflect on the evolution of his relationship with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
(On his meeting with Brian Schottenheimer in the beginning of the season that emphasized the rushing attack)
“We talked about the running game, getting that going. We had to let some things go to do that. We had to leave some things off the list that we had been working on to kind of get them out of the way so there wouldn’t be distractions to us as we were pecking our way through kind of developing the run game. The conversation started after Week One. We adjusted from Week One to Week Two, it didn’t look like it, and that’s when we really had to make a shift. It was real clear to us that we needed to do something, so we did.”
(On the job Brian Schottenheimer has done)
“I’ve talked about him a lot because it’s been obvious that he’s had an impact on all of us. It started with, the conversation about Brian was that he was so well versed in so many things, he really could interpret everything that we had done, bring the suggestions and stuff that he had done in other places and help us put it all together. I thought that was really obvious from the start. His effect on Russell (Wilson) started early, you could see that they were communicating on a really high level.
You could see that there was going to be a lot of potential for growth there, which we’ve seen. Russell has really had a great year in all ways, but in terms of really just expanding in ball, he has. He’s taken into account a lot of things we didn’t give him the chance to do in the past. He’s demonstrated command of all that, that’s been great. I think all of that has to do with Brian tapping into what made sense and what Russ could work with. He’s been really demanding and tough on the whole offense throughout and he’s brought us about. We’ve got some identity to us and we know who we are. We’re excited about finishing up.”
(On why he didn’t start from scratch and leave old coaching philosophies in the past)
“There was no reason. There was no reason to do that. We had done a lot of great things, we’ve won a lot of games doing what we do. We put on a lot of yards over the years and scored a lot of points and all that stuff, so it was really important that we maintained things that we had grown with, Russ (Wilson) and the other guys and Doug (Baldwin) and Tyler (Lockett) and those guys that’d done it in the past, just expedite the process, you know.
You don’t need to start from scratch and throw it out, so we didn’t. But, that’s a challenge to the coaching staff and all. I remember when I went to San Francisco years ago and they had a notebook that was 17, 18 years old. There was hundreds of choices and things in there and it was a tremendous mystery to uncover and to try and figure it out. You want to work with and make it as easy as you can for the players so they can learn and play fast and understand. All of those considerations go in, which is a lot. That’s what we went through.”
(On if there is anything unique about the Seahawks system and the challenges of bringing in a new coordinator and new coaches)
“Nothing unique about system, although philosophically, we’re not asking for a new philosophy. We’re not asking for a guy to bring in all the new ideas and a new approach. We’ve found the way we like playing and the way we believe in, we found success in. He had to adapt to that, so that’s a challenge, but that was all talked out immediately in our conversations. There’s no unique aspects of our makeup that’s going to make it hard on somebody, unless I’m a jerk to them and don’t listen to them – which obviously I’m not, except for sometimes.
It’s just really, it’s dynamics, it’s working through the dynamics and the people and communications and interpretation and all that kinds of stuff – that’s the challenge. It’s a really exciting challenge for coaches because we have to dig back into why we do things and help somebody else understand it, make sense of that, see where it fits, put all those things together. It’s a great puzzle that we put together and it takes a long time and it takes good openness and good relationship building as well as you go through it or you can get stuck. I don’t think it’s that unique to us other than we’re pretty solidly committed to how we want to do it.”
(On sustaining momentum going into the playoffs)
“I particularly think it’s a part of the discipline of performance, that you don’t allow yourself to say that this game isn’t as important as some other game. I know that there are coaches – and you guys have all heard it for years – that you can only get up so many times a year. You can only have so many big games and all that. I just flat out know that’s not true. I just know it’s not true, but I understand why people say that. We don’t subscribe to that thinking and we’re going to go for it every freaking time forever, no matter where it is or when it is, so that we learn to find the edge that it takes to stay consistent and stay good.
” I don’t think it shows up one game to the next. It shows up when you look back over a long period of time, that you’ve minimized the ups and downs. We have some numbers in our background in our years here – and we had them at USC too – where there aren’t a lot of games that were really outlier games for us to the negative.
” We’ve been pretty consistent over a really long time. I think that’s a statement of what this mentality is all about, that you just don’t allow yourself to take a breath and kick back and put your feet up. You don’t get to do that. You just keep pushing and keep going and you only learn one way to do it. It’s hard enough to do it if you only have one way and to maintain the habits and the consistency and mentality and all of the things that you have to do to maintain a high level of performance over a long period of time, so it’s just too precious and it’s not worth cracking the egg and then starting over again.
” I just don’t want to do that and it’s worked out and I don’t feel like I’m driving these guys into the dirt by the way we do it mentally. I feel like they work to establish a discipline that allows them to have a manner in how they do this and they have habits that they create and they have regimens that they live by and that’s what gives them the chance to keep coming back, and we just don’t want to mess with those.
” They’re too precious and it’s fleeting. It’s so fleeting. It goes away in a heartbeat. Normal teams go up and down all the time. That’s not the way we want to do it. We want to be uncommon. Uncommonly committed to the discipline of this. It takes practice and I’ve got to do a great job of it and I hope you never hear me go off the rails in any way because I’ve got to be the epitome of the consistency if they’re going to do it. That’s why I’ve always had the same answers.”
As for the injury front, Carroll was upbeat out the prospects of Jarran Reed, Doug Baldwin, Bradley McDougald, and Rashaad Penny all participating in Sunday’s game.
(On Jarran Reed) “He had a great week. He was fine. Did everything.”
(On Doug Baldwin)
“He did fine. He made it through the week. He continues to carry stuff that’s happened to him during the season but he’s been just a rock and he’s ready to go.”
(On Rashaad Penny) “He practiced all week and we’ll find out and make sure. He’ll have a workout on Sunday, also. We’ll have the Olympics going on out there on the field if you guys want to come out early.”
(On how much he weighs into game-time decisions considering playoffs on the horizon) “It has nothing to do with that.”
The Seahawks head coach was more cautious regarding the health of D.J. Fluker, Tedric Thompson, and J.R Sweezy.
(On J.R. Sweezy)
“Sweezy improved during the week. He got really good, consistent information in the checks that we made around the country on what he has. It’s an unusual little thing that he’s dealing with. It’s real uncomfortable. He’s got some swelling that he’s dealing with. It’s probably a 3-4 week recovery for most people and he’s going to do it in two weeks. He’ll be ready next week.”
(On D.J. Fluker) “Fluke is a gameday (decision) but he’s made real progress this week and he did some things that helped him so we’re looking forward to him being ready to go if he can make it through the Sunday workout.”
(On Tedric Thompson’s game status) “He’s questionable.”
(On what happened to Tedric Thompson’s ankle)
“He’s got an irritation in the back of his ankle, kind of around his Achilles. It’s not an Achilles injury, but we thought it was for a little bit. He just hasn’t quite made it through it to our satisfaction yet, but he’s going to try and (we will) take a look at him on Sunday.”