Seahawks defensive captain Quandre Diggs was named NFC Defensive Player of The Week for Week 18. Diggs interception of a pass by LA Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield in overtime was well a game-changer. The interception came after the Seahawks had punted after their first offensive possession in overtime. Mayfield’s pass was intended for Rams receiver Van Jefferson who was wide open deep in Seattle territory. A reception by Jefferson probably would have resulted in a walk-off touchdown. Diggs’s intervention dashed the Ram’s hope and inspired the Seahawk’s offense who marched down the field and kicked the game-winning field goal.
MODEL OF CONSISTENCY
Since his arrival from Detroit via trade in 2019 Diggs has been a model of consistency and calmness. A quiet demeanor that is accompanied by a drive to be the best and make those around him better is why Diggs was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl. Diggs recorded three interception this season to become the only player in the league to record three interceptions in each of the last three years.
EXCERPTS FROM DIGGS MEDIA PRESS CONFERENCE
Q. Where are you sending your Lions buddies? Where do they get to go?
QUANDRE DIGGS: Oh, man, they get to go wherever they want, but when I see them, I told them I’ll make sure dinner is on me. Take them and make sure they eat good, take good care of them. I talked to a few of the guys. I let them know that for sure. Those guys, they finished the season playing great ball, and I think that’s great for the organization going forward. Those guys, give those guys confidence going into the offseason. I’m always happy for those guys to succeed except when they’re playing the Seahawks.
Q. What was it like? You obviously have ties to that organization plus the stakes in all the games. What was it like watching that?
QUANDRE DIGGS: It was cool. Of course, I was cheering for those guys. Still have a lot of friends. I always keep up with them. I always keep up and see what they’re doing anyway. You’ve always got a special place in your heart for the guys that drafted you and that organization. For me, it’s never any bad blood, it’s just watching and cheering those guys on and just happy for them individually.
Q. How bad do you want to play in the Super Bowl?
QUANDRE DIGGS: I mean, I’m not getting any younger, so for me, I mean, I still can play a long time, but I feel like I just don’t have years to waste. For me that’s really important. It’s always been a goal since I was a kid. To have that opportunity, it would be super dope. I’d love to just have my family there and enjoy it with my family because that’s always been the most important thing to me is spending those moments with my family when those things happen.
Q. Is that and All-Pro maybe the two things you haven’t accomplished?
QUANDRE DIGGS: Yeah. I mean, those are two of the things that — even the All-Pro thing, that wasn’t even something I came in the league trying to accomplish. As a sixth rounder I just wanted to stay around the league as long as I could and play as much as I could. As you continue to play, you continue to get better and you continue to see yourself being up there with the top guys in the league, you always want those opportunities. Yeah, those are two of the goals that I would say stand out for me.
Q. Not that you needed any validation, but Sunday you talked about that interception and how it might be the most meaningful. To get Defensive Player of the Week as a result, is that special, more special?
QUANDRE DIGGS: It’s definitely special. I mean, you grow up, and you always see Michael Jordan and Kobe and you’ve got guys like Kyrie now, and I know Lebron gets a lot of — I don’t want to hate, but he’s one of the most clutch players of all time, too. To come through in that moment for my team, being a captain, I think that’s what made it so much more sweet. I just think the honor, that’s extra. I don’t really care about that. It’s cool. But for me just to be and do that for my teammates, I think that’s what’s more important for me because the individual stuff, I honestly don’t care about the individual stuff. I care about us winning games and being able to get into the playoffs. That’s always been what’s the most important thing to me. I think it’s special. You still think about it, but you move on. You just go, I hope I can make one of those plays this weekend and propel us to win the game. Maybe this time I’ll pick six it.
Q. It was the anniversary of your injury the other day. After the pain subsided, what was going through your head at that time in terms of what your career might look like after that?
QUANDRE DIGGS: I mean, speaking of one year ago today I got surgery, and it was a successful surgery. To see these milestones continue to pop up and pop up and pop up, it’s just a reminder to me, like I tell you guys, I never take it for granted, never take this game for granted, always blessed to have this opportunity. But when those things happen, for me, my mind was everywhere. You try to stay strong. You try to put on the bravado face of I’ll be back, I’ll be back better than ever. I kept saying that. But it’s easy to tell yourself that until you’re able to kind of get back and you start rehabbing and you’re rehabbing, and you continue rehabbing, and for me my rehab went all the way until July. I was rehabbing all the way to July and able to start training in July. For me, it was just like a six, seven-month process of continuing to tell myself that I would be the same player, I would be back better. You go through and you feel it’s like some of these things I can’t do right now, am I ever going to get back. For me there was always that question, that doubt. For me it’s always kind of just trust in God. My Bible plans and things like that, it was always about doubt, anxiety, things like that, to help me get through those times. For me, I’ve been blessed to pull through, and honestly to tell you guys the truth, I’m still getting back to being myself. Of course, you’re going to say you’re back, but you still get by, you still see certain things, you still feel the scar tissue breaking up in your leg and things like that. For me, I knew it was going to be a long recovery, and you never want to say, ‘Oh, this year I might not be myself, but I’m going to still be out there.’ But that’s the reality of when you have a gruesome injury like me. It’s kind of like, you’re out there and you’re doing those things, but you’re never truly yourself until you have a full year to get over those things. I’m still rounding into form, Week 21, 22 of the season. I’m just blessed to go through the process and be able to share my journey with other people.
Q. You guys are considered huge underdogs this week. Do you block out the noise or embrace it?
QUANDRE DIGGS: I tell everybody, I feel like I’ve been an underdog my whole career anyway, so that’s no different for me. Who wouldn’t put us as underdogs? San Francisco, they’ve been on the road, they’ve played great ball, they’re division winners, they’ve beat us twice. Why wouldn’t they be considered the favorite? For me, I just enjoy the process. I enjoy the process, and I’m just blessed I get another opportunity to go play the game I love and go out there and give it my all.
Q. Tyler (Lockett) was just up here kind of similar saying feeling like you guys have nothing to lose. Geno (Smith) was also pretty loose. Do you notice that this week, that guys are pretty loose and enjoying themselves?
QUANDRE DIGGS: I think we’ve been like that the last couple weeks. I just feel like nobody expected us to be in the playoffs, so the last two weeks we’re just like, well, what do we really have to lose. Nobody is giving us a shot. Even the last week of the season, everybody is like, ‘Oh, the Seahawks have a 30 percent chance of getting in the playoffs.’ For us, we just continue to do our thing, dance at practice and have fun and enjoy the moments because these moments all we can ask for after — especially since something that happened with Damar Hamlin last week. For us it’s just like you’ve got to enjoy these moments because you might never get these opportunities again. We’re just taking it and enjoying it, and whatever happens, happens, but for us, we’re just enjoying the process each and every day and just being the Seahawks Pete (Carroll) just allows us to have fun and do our thing.
Q. I know you and Tyler Lockett have been close for a long time. You’re a captain this year, he’s a captain. How have you seen him grow and evolve this year?
QUANDRE DIGGS: I mean, besides talk my ears off every day — it’s crazy because (Tyler) Lockett has been the same person since I met him in 2013, 2014. He’s been the same exact person. But I couldn’t ask for a better friend, a better teammate, somebody that I consider a brother that I know I can call at any moment, and I know he’ll be there for me. As you guys seen, when I had surgery, he was right there beside me. When I woke up, he was right there. Just to be able to see him for his first time being a captain handle it the way he’s handled it, fight back from injuries, always be a team-first guy, it’s special. You don’t see too many guys that have the accolades and the underappreciation that he has that just continues to be a role model and just to be a great citizen all the time. He’s never been a selfish guy. He’s never been one of those guys that’s asking for the ball or demanding the ball, going to the media, doing those things. He’s just been a stand-up guy his whole career, and that’s who he’ll continue to be, no matter the freaking long talks that he’s got to have with me, and I’ve got to listen to all the time. I’ll always love him to death, and I just figured out how to get off the phone with him, just make up an excuse, my daughter has to do something, and he’ll get off the phone. That’s typically what I’ve been doing for the last couple years now.
Q. Would you trust him to sell your house someday?
QUANDRE DIGGS: No, I’d trust him if I need to sell my house, but I ain’t bought a house in Seattle. I know he does real estate in Texas, too, but I’ve got a real estate agent out there, so him and my real estate agent are good friends anyway, so we’ll just leave it at that.
Q. With all the things Geno did this year and the records that he set, he said the one that meant the most to him, his goal was to be able to start and play every snap. What does that say about him or where his focus is?
QUANDRE DIGGS: I mean, that’s dope, because for a guy like G, he could have set goals and been like, ‘For me, I want to throw for so and so amount of yards and touchdowns and all that other stuff just to get the biggest contract you can get’, but for him being able to be contractible and being there for his teammates was the most important thing for him. Just says a lot about the character of him and who he is as a competitor. He took a big shot on Sunday and went right back into the game, which he was kind of mad that I was joking with him right after that about him getting popped on the sideline. That’s just the type of competitor and person he is. I’m super proud of him. I’m super proud of him, and we’re going to need him this week. For him, he wants to keep adding to that legacy of this 2022-2023 football season. He’s got a perfect opportunity this week with us being underdogs and us going on the road and playing a big game.
Q. Geno said you’re constantly letting guys know that your hands are among the best in the locker room.
QUANDRE DIGGS: I mean, for a while, for a while I couldn’t say that anymore. For a while I didn’t have any interceptions and I had dropped like three in a row, and then I dropped a big one against the 49ers. I was kind of questioning my hands a little bit. I mean, that’s just the work that I put in in the offseason, catching the football, honestly you guys would be amazed how many footballs I really catch in the offseason. My trainer, who is my cousin, he is a former quarterback at Texas State, and it’s just like football after football after football. Like I’m just catching footballs every chance I’m doing fieldwork, every drill that I do has a football in it. That’s just how I kind of go about my business. This offseason I wasn’t able to do that because obviously I couldn’t train, but just getting back into the rhythm and always trusting. A funny, funny story is I remember my rookie year, I used to go up to Calvin Johnson and be like, these hands are second to none, and he would look at me and just laugh, like you don’t even have any interceptions; what are you talking about. But that’s always the confidence that I kind of had in my hands and my catching ability. That just kind of goes to tell you that if I talk trash to Calvin Johnson about my hands, I’ll talk trash to anybody about my hands. That’s just kind of how it is.
Q. Between Tariq Woolen, Mike Jackson and Coby Bryant, you’ve got three corners who hadn’t been full-time starters before, and then after Jamal Adams goes down, you’ve got four other safeties that start. Has any of that put your leadership to test? What has that done for you as a leader this year?
QUANDRE DIGGS: I mean, it’s definitely tested me. It’s definitely tested me, and it’s definitely made me better on how I’ve got to approach certain guys and how I have to be on my P’s and Q’s every day because those guys are looking up to me and looking at me for answers a lot of the times. For me, it definitely, definitely, definitely tested me because I’m not a guy with a lot of patience anyways, so for me to have to go out there and play with four different safeties and play with my young guys at corner, it definitely would test me at certain points. But you know, nobody on the outside really sees that. They only see ‘6’ is back there, he’s supposed to do what he’s supposed to do. I think you have a different level of being comfortable when you can look to the left and right and you can see the same guys every week. It just kind of puts you at ease where I know what I’ve got to do and he knows what he has to do. I’ve been blessed to be able to stay healthy, and as everybody goes through those transitions, I’ve been able to be a steady rock back there for all the guys, and two years in a row for me to play a lot of football, I think Sunday was my 50th consecutive start, so for me being available has always been something for me. But it’s good to be out there and have the same corners. Having different safeties can be a little challenging, but you communicate with them, tell them what you want them to do, and hopefully they do it and it puts me at ease.
Q. Has anybody tested that patience the most?
QUANDRE DIGGS: Oh, man. I mean, there’s certain times I get a little testy, I get a little feisty, but I try to stay as calm as much as possible. That’s why I come to the sideline and just kind of decompress. I’ve had some blowups on the sideline a couple of times this year, but I’ve kind of matured past that.
Q. Did it also teach you about trusting them once you give them information and then not overplaying that sector of the field? Did you have to go through that a little bit?
QUANDRE DIGGS: Yeah, for sure. Anytime you play football with new people, you always kind of wonder when game time hits how they’re going to react. I feel like with me, I don’t know, I’ve always kind of been a person that it takes me a lot to trust people before I’ll fully open up and be who I am. For me, it took a while. It took me a little bit to know that if I make a call, these guys are going to see it the way I see it and things like that. But yeah, it took me a while. It did test me a little bit. But those guys definitely earned my trust. They’ve came in and they’ve stepped up and did their job the way they were supposed to. I don’t have anything negative to say about my teammates. Those guys, they’re going through the battle Mike Jack (Jackson), ‘Riq (Woolen), Coby (Bryant), those guys stepped in and played big snaps and played a lot, a lot of snaps. Same with Ryan (Neal) and Josh Jones and Teez (Tabor) and (Johnathan) J-Abram. Those guys all stepped in in the departure of Jamal, who you guys know I trust him with my life. Everybody has done a great job, and I’m excited for the progress that we continue to make.
Q. As a former nickel yourself, what have you thought of Coby Bryant switching to that position for his first time in the league?
QUANDRE DIGGS: I think he’s handled it well. I think just the — you can see like the passion that he plays with. It’s perfect for what you need with a nickel. He’s feisty, he wants to tackle, he wants to blitz, he wants to get pass breakups, interceptions, forced fumbles. I think when you play that position, you’ve got to find different ways to get the ball because you’re not going to get too many interceptions because a lot of times you’re in man coverage and the balls are going outside, over the top. I think he’s stepped in and done a tremendous job. He’s very like studious. He always knows what he’s doing and if he has a question he comes and asks me and he gets it fixed. For me, I’m just proud to see him continue to stick to it throughout the year, and I’ll be expecting a leap from him next year also being comfortable his second year in that position and really understanding and making those calls for the defense, also.