Opening Statement: Before we get started, I guess I’ll just explain this ridiculous outfit I’m wearing. This is the consequence of losing a bet in a rivalry game with Evan (Engram).
Engram: Hotty Toddy, baby.
Judge: He showed up just in time. Otherwise, he was walking around with a cowbell all week. It was one or the other. That being said, I’ll open it up to any questions you guys have.
Q: Nice outfit, it looks good on you actually. A guy we haven’t asked you about on the Seahawks is Chris Carson. He made it back last week against the Eagles. What does he bring to that offense? Is he a guy that kind of flies under the radar?
A: I don’t know how far under the radar he is. He’s definitely a guy that everyone in the league knows about. I think this guy fits into really the identity of what the Seahawks have been as far as, I kind of look back and know them for the great running backs they’ve had there, starting with Marshawn Lynch and those guys. They’ve always been a downhill, aggressive, vertical run team. I think this guy fits into those schemes really well. He runs strong, he finishes his runs going forward, he’s a tough guy, and he’s kind of in that mold of wear you down over the course of the game. He gets stronger as the game goes on. Look, we’re fully aware of who he is. Whoever thinks he’s under the radar out there, to us, he’s high on our radar. We know that he’s a guy that we have to match up against. It’s going to take everything we can to slow down that run game.
Q: If I had asked you at the start of the year who your top four edge rushers were, it was probably (Lorenzo) Carter, Oshane (Ximines), Markus Golden and then Kyler Fackrell. You’re going to be playing a couple weeks here without any of those guys. What do you see as your edge rush now? I don’t want to say what’s the confidence in those guys but what do you have to do to maybe make up for not having those top four guys anymore?
A: I think all the guys we have right here have given us a variety of weapons and ways that Pat (Graham) has really figured out how to use guys to their strengths and their skillsets. I’m happy with all the progress these guys have made. We’ve been able to make some in-season pickups with Jabaal (Sheard) and Trent (Harris) and these guys, and Cam (Brown) and Carter (Coughlin) are really coming around and really getting a feel for the position and the flow of the game and the speed of the game. We’ve found different ways of using other parts of our personnel to complement and be used on the edge in different packages. Again, I’ve been saying the entire year, it’s truly what we believe. Whoever we have, we’re going to play to their strengths, we’re going to put them in a position to be successful. But the most important thing as a team and individually is improving week in and week out. I’ve seen every guy that we have on our roster show a level of improvement. Look, we don’t want to see any of our players hurt. I wish we had every player out there all the time. The reality is we don’t have them all available, but we have high confidence in who we do have available. I’m looking forward to getting them on the grass on Sunday.
Q: What are the keys to pass rushing against a guy like Russell Wilson or even some of the guys you have coming up, whether it’s Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray?
A: First off, you have to play with great control and space and be able to tackle these guys. That’s a lot easier said than done. They all have mobility, but they’re all very different in how they move. These are all very different quarterbacks. They just bring the element of passing and running. I think the biggest thing with these guys is number one, you want to try to contain them and not let them out of the pocket. That being said, they find their way out of the pocket. When you get them in space, you have to make sure you play with leverage and all 11 on the field keep covering down the field or rushing the passer, whatever their responsibility is, because the biggest mistake you see with a lot of these guys is when Russell gets outside the pocket, people panic and they run forward trying to tackle him. All of a sudden, he has a free runner going down the field. He’s not going to miss an open man. In terms of playing these guys, the biggest thing we talk to our guys is you can’t blink. You can’t think any play is a play off. That doesn’t exist with these guys. Every play, whether it’s a quick game pass or some kind of direct run or maybe the zone read runs that they run offensively, these quarterbacks are always at the point of attack. You have to always do a good job making sure you play with your leverage, your responsibility. If you’re a rusher, you rush. If you’re a cover guy, you cover.
Q: I know you spent a lot of time watching Daniel (Jones) at the start of practice yesterday. What did you see from him?
A: I thought he threw the ball well. Obviously, we didn’t want to go ahead and open him up too much yesterday, really being just a couple of days into kind of moving around. But he threw the ball well. I saw a lot of good velocity and very good accuracy. We talked in terms of how he felt on different things, different movements. But look, I think this guy is doing everything he can to get on the field. Again, we’re checking with the trainers, seeing how much progress he made on their end today. We’ll see him a little bit on the grass today in terms of how he’s with the team, and we’ll make decisions really a little bit after the (practice), and we’ll also see how he feels going out there after a long flight to Seattle.
Q: Are you saying he’s out for Sunday? You said after the game.
A: I’m absolutely not saying that. I’m sorry, I meant after practice. I meant after practice. We’ll see how he does in practice today and after our flight.
Q: Would you need to see him go through a full, hard practice to play him, or does he have enough in the reservoir that if he tells you on Sunday ‘I feel good,’ you can play him?
A: I think there’s a mix of we need to do enough with him at practice to make sure that he can go back there and operate and have the mobility to protect himself and be able to move in the pocket, get the ball thrown away, pull it down to run if we need to. Then you have to trust how he says he feels. Now, to be honest with you, the dangerous thing with Daniel is he’s going to always tell you he feels great. He doesn’t want to not be out there with the team. We have to really trust our eyes more so than our ears when we’re dealing with Daniel because he’s definitely a competitor.
Q: Just thinking about their receiving core, of course, you talked earlier this week about DK Metcalf. But they have Tyler Lockett on the other side, their tight ends are pretty productive. How taxing is this receiving core in particular compared to some of the others around the league?
A: I think their skill group as a whole, from the receivers to the tight ends to the backs, every one of these guys is a threat in the passing game. I mean every one of them. The tight ends do a really good job of blocking, they do a great job of setting up play actions where they kind of come off, they slant or they slip out for open routes. But these guys are all very talented, very capable. They all have good hands and they have a great feel for playing with Wilson, the way he extends plays in terms of finding that second route they’re going to run or staying with the initial route and getting open. They’ve done a tremendous job of that. The backs are really good as far as screens with getting out of the backfield fast on empty protections. You have to have a presence of mind on those guys at all times. The receiving core, look, they’re all weapons. You have to just understand how they use guys differently and what they’re looking to do within their game plan. But that being said, every play out there, they have a group of skill players that can all go ahead and hit home runs. There is no one guy to focus on. This is a true team and we have to make sure we protect and defend against everybody.
Q: Jerome (Henderson) talked earlier this week about defending the deep ball versus Russell Wilson. Obviously that is a huge key. Did you look to do anything in practice this week to throw extra passes deep?
A: Anyone we play, you always want to go ahead and identify what are the key things you have to defend against those players. Make sure you can take care of those first. Everyone has a lot of different weapons, but you have to take care of the main things they do. You talk about Russell Wilson, you’ve got to be ready for him to scramble, ready to extend the plays. Make sure you cover throughout and consistently. Make sure you play with leverage and contain the whole pocket. In terms of specifically to the deep balls, that’s definitely an area we focused on this week. We always do deep ball drills on a weekly basis. We definitely got a healthy share this week on a daily basis. We’ll get in more today as well. We use different guys, (Clayton) Thorson is throwing the ball down the field. Riley Dixon is a guy with a really big arm who can chuck it down the field and let our guys play. The emphasis of it really is sometimes early in the week you do that full field, they have to carry the entire route. Work down there on a body and then locate the ball. Later in the week, you can start deeper down the field and just work on them on the back end part of the play of locating the ball and judging it in the air. That’s a bigger part of it than you think. It’s not just simply okay the ball is in the air, go get it. You’ve got it locate it, judge the ball, track it. Put yourself in position to defend against the receiver going up for it. Then also high point the ball and try to give yourself a chance to either break the pass up or come down with it yourself. That’s definitely been an emphasis for us in terms of how we’re practicing. That’s through the individual periods. It’s also been something we’ve extra. Whether it’s the offense is having a period, and we grab a couple of the defensive backs who aren’t working on the service team. Take them on a separate field and whether it’s Thorson coming over and throwing a couple passes before he comes back to get his reps or whether is Riley Dixon really throwing that thing deep. Letting them get a feel for that ball in the air.
Q: Just a few Covid related questions. Is Cam Brown a concern for Sunday? Or is it more of a guy who has symptoms but you have to keep him out for a day?
A: Yeah, I’d say he’s been cleared on that list today. He’ll be in the building, he’s in the building right now with us. He’ll be on the field today practicing. We had to take precautions. Anyone at this point that comes up with any kind of symptoms, we encourage our players and they’ve done a really good job. If they have symptoms they communicate with Ronnie (Barnes) talk it through. They’ve gotten the rapid test back and then also they have to stay overnight to make sure before we bring them in the building, they’ve gotten the PCR test cleared as well. And he has been tested multiple times before coming in today. We made sure he wasn’t really a threat as far as the Covid related stuff. He’ll be in the building and practicing with us today.
Q: Matt Peart, Kaden Smith, Dante Pettis, do you see them physically recovered from their long quarantine? I know you’re keeping some players separate from the team. Are you keeping any coaches separate from the team or is that different because you have to have them at practice?
A: The coaches element, we’re not keeping any coaches separate from practice. What we are doing in the building is we’re actually doing a lot of meetings through Zoom when we’re in the building and keeping guys kind of in their individual offices. When we have staff meetings, I’ll try to do a skeleton crew and make sure we kind of hit the necessary points. The coordinators and a couple of their assistants communicate with their sides of the ball so we’re keeping less people in rooms. In terms of at practice, we have all the coaches coaching at all times. If something were to happen with any coach, we’ve got a progression. We have a plan in place for each coach to be, not replaced, but for someone to take over their role. In terms of the players, we have kept several guys away from the team. (Inaudible). Today will actually be a day where we bring all the players in for practice. We’re bringing everybody on the grass, move them around. The players that have been kept away on, call it the emergency list, make sure they get one day on the field moving around with our guys. That being said, we have our masks on at practice. We’ve got those clear shields on the helmets as well. We’re keeping our guys spaced out at practice to make sure there’s not that much crossover. There’s guys like (Carson) Tinker and (Ryan) Santoso from the specialists, they are going to come and they are going to get their work in kickoff periods and punt periods. They’re not going to have too much contact with the rest of the team. They will be on their own field doing most of the stuff until they have to come over and work with the team. After that point, we will let them kind of go off. We’ll get the rest of their work independently, get a lift in and get out of here. There’s kind of a fine line you walk right there. You want to have everybody here because you really want to develop every player, that’s really the priority. I’ve got to kind of balance that line of not keeping players out of here enough where it stunts their growth as a player. At the same time, we have to thin out these numbers enough that the meeting rooms are not as populated. We limit the contact we have overall. Limit time in the locker room. That will balance in the weight room to make sure we don’t have a lot of guys that are packed in. We’re doing everything we can. While it’s frustrating for coaches and players not to have everybody here for every meeting, every practice. We’re working through Zoom, we’re having individual period practice after the majority of the team leaves for the guys who are on that quarantine list if you would. We’re doing everything we can to keep progressing and developing every player on the team.
Q: How has Colt (McCoy) looked in practice this week? What’s the plan with Alex (Tanney)? How close is he to coming through the protocol?
A: As far as Alex, he won’t be officially cleared until Saturday. We’ll take him to Seattle with us and keep him in the fold. In terms of if we needed him if something happened in the last minute, activate him. Colt’s had a good week of practice. He’s working hard. Colt’s got a lot of experience. He doesn’t really miss a beat. He gets in there, it’s like riding a bike for this guy. He gets in there and he competes. Everything is very, very competitive with Colt. He goes in there, especially offense versus defensive period, we’re making it competitive. He gets a lot of the juice flowing there throughout the team. He’s not afraid to mix it up and talk a little smack with the guys. It’s fun seeing him operate.