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Carroll, Williams Talk with New Orleans Media

Posted Jan 5, 2011

Carroll talks about the challenges RB Reggie Bush brings and his quarterback situation. Williams discusses preparing with two quarterbacks.

Head Coach Pete Carroll

I know you were sorely disappointed that you didn’t get to play Reggie Bush the first time and now you’re excited to play him as a part of the Saints offense. Could you talk about that? “You may be surprised. I wish Reggie could have played. I know I got to see him in pregame after they made the decision. He was really frustrated at the time because he was so anxious to get back. I guess it was another week before he did, but I wanted him to play because he’s dying to get back out there. We’re ready for him as best we can at this point. You can imagine how much respect for the way he plays and how much he odes and how he can affect a football game. We’re doing all we can to try to take care of business with him.”

Who’s going to be your starting quarterback? “I’m sure it would be that easy. We’re going to keep looking at it and figure this out. We just got off the practice field, had a very good day and we still split it up with Matt (Hasselbeck) and Charlie (Whitehurst). Matt looked very good and had a very good day. I’m anxious to see the film and check it out once we get into meetings tonight. We’ll let you know as soon as we get it figured out.”

Is there a scenario where both could see significant action or do you intend to use just one? “I’m wide open for whatever it takes. Last weekend in that game, I thought it could happen that way in maybe some instance. I wasn’t sure how that was going to work. But I was open to it. Right now both guys are ready in my mind to start. We’ll figure that out here. Again, I just want to make sure we’re healthy and right and can do all the things we want to do with the fellas. Charlie got banged up a little bit in the game last week running around like he did and we just have to make sure he’s okay as well. I’m not thinking about any kind of scenario where we’ll be switching guys back and forth. We’ll go with our guy for the most part unless something changes.”

What’s your reaction to both Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas being on injured reserve? Those are the top two rushers for the team even though Pierre was hurt so much. That puts more of a spotlight on Reggie Bush and maybe depending on him more for the first time this year? “Both players that are going to be sitting out, Chris and Pierre, those guys are fantastic football players. Chris Ivory gave us a lot of problems when they didn’t have Pierre the first time around, but we also have tremendous respect for what Julius Jones can do. He was a leader in this program and we know that he can be a front line guy. You know how much regards I have for a guy who can play the game like Reggie can. They still present tremendous problems for us. I’m sure that’s disappointing for them, those players and the situation, but it doesn’t change anything for us. There’s nothing we’ll do differently and nothing we can do differently. We’re just going to play football. Anytime you miss a player that’s been such a big factor like Pierre Thomas even in last year’s run and when you have him available this year, it’s a big deal. I’m sure they’ll figure it out. We’re going to get ready for our football game and whoever plays plays.”

Are you surprised at how Reggie’s career has panned out in the NFL? Did you expect him to carry on with how he was in college and become a superstar? I know he’s a real good player. Are you surprised he hasn’t made quite the impact a lot of people thought he would have? “I don’t know about that expectations wise, but I do know that he has had a tremendous impact. Whether we’re planning against him for defense or special teams, he is an issue of big magnitude. He played with a lot of good players at SC. When he played, Lendale White was the all-time leading touchdownmaker in the history of the Pac-10. He shared time there too and we were able to do that, so I think that the way Sean (Payton) is using Reggie is exactly what his strengths are and he causes problems. In that role he plays for them he is very effective and does control the game and that’s the kind of things he did earlier on. I think now that he’s over his injury and back playing steady, Reggie still has a tremendous amount to offer and will continue to do that. Maybe even in this game. He’ll get more carries and all that. You’ll see he is a fantastic player and talent. I didn’t have an expectation for him except that he would be really difficult to play against when that time came. This isn’t new for me.

What are your impressions now that you’ve had a chance to break down Drew Brees in preparation as well as seeing him play? You didn’t get to see him a lot in your college career. What are your impressions of him now that you’ve gotten to see him up close? What makes him so successful? “You’d be surprised. We studied him a lot when Johnny Morton came to our staff at SC. We studied tons and tons of Saints film. We watched Reggie. We did have a chance to appreciate Drew. Until you have to play against him, you don’t get the true appreciation of what a tremendous football player he is. He just blows me away with his ability to find open guys and how he does what’s necessary to make plays, keep the stakes moving and to make his big plays, whether he needs the big one to throw it down the field or fire one between two guys, or the ability to take something off it and put some touch on the ball, the one that applies to that situation. It’s amazing. He’s a fantastic player. The other thing that impresses me just in this particular time more so than before is his ability to avoid the pass rush. He has had guys come free at time and he finds his way out of trouble. You just shouldn’t be able to do it and he does and he does it consistently. He’s an amazing player. He’s taxing us to the enth degree to find a way to slow him down and try to limit them on third down. They’re the best third down team in the NFL and that speaks extremely high of the quarterback and the system. I’m just as impressed as you could possibly be by a football player.”

What’s the reason you and coach Morton were looking it up, mechanics or fundamentals? “For a lot of reasons of things Johnny had brought to us, but also in watching what they did with Reggie. We had a real nice player that followed him in Joe McKnight and we just continued to learn how to do things, taking advantage of the play and the kind of makeup he and Reggie has, kind of respect and also a matter of trying to get better.”

WR Mike Williams


(On getting reps with more than one quarterback)
“At this point in the season, you just focus on what you are doing. Charlie (Whitehurst) got the start last week so I got a lot of reps with him. Matt (Hasselbeck) has been our starter, so my relationship with him is pretty good. It’s more game planning, knowing the game plan and things like that much more than who is the quarterback.”

(On being motivated by the press surrounding the Seahawks) "Not really. The motivating factor was to bring it all together and finish the season like we started it; at home, playing with a lot of energy, giving our crowd a reason to stay in the game, moving the chains, getting off the field on defense and doing the things it takes to win. It’s all about focus. We have been dealing with the things that the media has to say about us and the NFC West all season.  Week 17 was going to be the time where we got the negative media and it motivated us. I just wanted to play good football.”

(On the turning point in the last matchup against the Saints) “I don’t think there was a turning point. I think there were a few things that added up to us losing. That was getting inside the five yard line and not coming away with touchdowns and trading touchdowns for field goals with their offense. When you are on the road and are in a hostile environment, you have to cash in on your opportunities. We had a couple penalties that could have gone either way. We also had turnovers. You can’t turn the ball over when you are playing a good team. We did that. Drew Brees is a real good quarterback and that offense is really good. They made us pay with the short field. Other than that, we felt like we matched their intensity, we played at a high level, and we made some plays. This time around, we just have to go out there and match their intensity, play at a high level, and not beat ourselves with turnovers and penalties and give ourselves a chance.”

(On if every team is 0-0 entering the playoffs is how they look at it) ”Not really. We more so just look at it as the next game. It’s the next game that we have to play. It’s the most important game we have to play. We played the Saints and offensively, they were a challenge for us with their coordinator. With Coach (Gregg) Williams and the brilliant mind he is, and the defensive calls that he makes where he tries to confuse you, we were still able to do things on the perimeter, probably the best we have done on the road. We had a lot of positives to take away from that game that we hope to bring this week. We are very familiar with them, and anything can happen this week.”

(On facing cornerbacks on the Saints and other teams, almost all of which are smaller) “I really don’t think about that. It’s the NFL and guys compete and guys play hard. Some of the best corners in this league are not very tall. They are guys that play hard and fit their schemes, they watch a lot of film, and they are prepared. That’s what I see when we played the Saints earlier this season and that’s what I see when I watch the film. Their defense will rise to the occasion, rise to the personnel that they are facing. If you turn on the Atlanta film or the Baltimore film, teams that are really good in this league, they call it up, they make their plays. From a size matchup, it really will come down to execution and if we can take advantage of situations. I don’t think the size of their corners is the biggest factor. I don’t think that I caught any jump balls or anything against them so I don’t think they are looking at that as an issue."

(On the key to the Saints’ pass defense) “It comes down to confidence. I think they are confident. When you know that you are a good team and when you believe what you are doing and what your coaches are trying to get you to do, there really is no end to what you can accomplish. When you see them on film, they are obviously well coached. They fly around to the football, the first guy that gets there is wrapping up and the second guy there is trying to get the ball out. Roman Harper, how many plays has he had this year of extra effort or getting a hand in there and getting the ball out? He had one or two against us. You know those guys are going to play hard and they are well coached. You just have to take advantage of the few opportunities that they might present.”