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Pete Carroll, Richard Sherman talk about Saints playoff game

Seattle's coach, star player were on conference call with New Orleans media Tuesday

Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How difficult is it to flush the last game that happened only about a month ago?
"We do it every week. We're trying to create a discipline about that as we play our games. It's not something we just have to start to do this week, it's something we do every week. It doesn't matter what happened, win or lose, we start all over again. At a time like now you bring these questions up, it fits our mentality that that's not going to factor in."

There's been a report that the Saints felt like you ran up the score in the first game. Have you all ever been accused of anything like that before?
"Yes (laughter). As a matter of fact at (USC) there were a lot of times when that was brought up. I think people can say whatever they want and are entitled to say whatever they want about that. It's never a thought in my mind in what we're doing. We don't have any kind of a plan to be in that mode. We're just trying to win football games the best we can."

The Saints have your logos out on their practice field to try and mimic the environment at your stadium. How difficult is it to go to your stadium where you have that incredible home field advantage and why is it so great at your stadium?
"I think that coaches have to do whatever they have to do to get ready. I know that it sounds like Sean (Payton) did a great job of getting ready for the Philly game and so whatever they do, they do. Our situation is no different than any other really loud stadium, except that ours is the loudest. I don't know that there's any way…you try to prepare by making it so that your players can't hear and bringing the noise during practice. I'm sure they're doing all that. That's all we can ever do too, you know. We've played in stadiums, we've played in your stadium there years ago when I was in Minnesota for a playoff game and I never heard anything louder than that until I got here. You guys don't remember, but they sacked Tommy Kramer I think in the first drive of the game and you thought the dome roof was about to blow off. You just keep playing, you just keep trying to do things right, and that factor I think gets washed away when you have success."

Can you give us an injury update on Percy Harvin?
"Yeah I'm looking forward to seeing him at practice today. He's practicing today with everybody else and that's a good sign. What that means, I don't know. I can't tell yet. But he did well last week and so we just keep building these days up and he certainly knows our system. He's very well-versed and has stayed with it and worked hard so that when this opportunity arose, he would be able to jump in and he looks like he's doing that."

What was your impression of the Saints' performance in Philadelphia on Saturday?
"That was a beautiful performance. That was a great job on both sides of the ball against a team that had been causing people a whole lot of problems. They made it look easy. They played great defense. The running game was not a big issue for Philadelphia's side. They kept it down. They controlled the quarterback who had been extremely effective. They ran the ball and moved the offense just the way they like. I thought they played close to a perfect game against a really kind of difficult team to play against."

Are you a big motivational guy in that you can motivate mind-game wise or do certain coaches believe in it more than others?
"I think that in teaching it's an extremely important element. You're trying to get people to learn and you're trying to keep them focused and immersed in what you're doing. I think whatever it takes to do that is what you do. I don't know how to categorize it but yeah, I totally think I am. I think if I didn't do that, I would be nowhere in this business. It's a big part of teaching and coaching and a huge part of performance."

I know some coaches think it all goes out of the window when you start blocking and tackling in the game. It sounds like you're talking about the mental aspect of it, right?
"Without a question. Learning how to be prepared, learning how to be physically right scheme-wise and all. The better you can focus, usually that enhances your performance. Teaching people how to do that and giving them the appreciation of how to do that in games and as the game affects what's going on during the day. All that stuff – just a ton of things to teach there. So if you're teaching and somebody's learning, I think motivation is a big issue, yeah."

You've told your team that the Saints are going to come in loaded this week. I'm assuming you mean a month after getting blown out, they will be coming in with an edge to them.
"No that has nothing to do with it. It's just the fact that they are a fantastic team that just won a big road game that people questioned they could win, and they did it. Knowing that they're a championship clubhouse: they have a coach who has been coach of the year, a player who has been player of the year, they've won a Super Bowl, all of that. They have all of those elements. This is a loaded football team. They could play better than anybody through the rest of these playoffs and win the whole thing, without question. We've need to make sure we understand that. That's all."

Last time out against the Saints, your team dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. How big of a factor will that be on Saturday?
"Well it always is. That's football. If you play well up front, you can have success. That's where it kind of starts. In that particular game, it stood out that we were able to well on both sides of the ball, but that's always what football has been about. Nothing has changed there."

How different is the feeling around the clubhouse is it to be the number one seed as opposed to having to go on the road like last year?
"Well it's exciting for us because we set our sights on owning this division, and to do that you're given the opportunity to play at home if everything works out right. We set our sights on that when we came here four years ago, so we know it's a factor. Everybody's pretty pumped up about it. We took advantage of the week off. We rested some guys, we developed some stuff that we needed to improve on, and we've got some new stuff for the game in all phases. There's all kinds of things we've gained. The guys are pretty excited about it, feeling good, and ready to get this thing kick-started today."

How did you do so well to control Drew Brees the last game?
"They were just an eyelash from having 300 yards. There were some plays made in that game for good fortune on our end of it. We knocked some balls down, we knocked some balls loose, made a couple of catches and throws, didn't quite work out. They were just an inch away probably four different times to putting 150 yards in the books. We understand how slight a margin that is and knowing how well they execute and how well-equipped they are that we were very fortunate in that game."

Seattle Seahawks Cornerback Richard Sherman
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How much do you like you guys hold a mental edge going into this game considering the way things went last time?

"I really don't think we have a mental edge to tell you the truth because they (New Orleans Saints) are just coming off a win on the road, their first playoff win on the road and they are playing good football. They are running the ball extremely well and that is different from the game we played against them previously. I think they are a confident bunch. They are running their offense very effectively. I think they are feeling good."

Has it been easy to purge the last game or did you guys say let's forget about that one?

"No it was easy. It is always a new game, a new day, what you did previously didn't matter in the playoffs especially. Anything can happen in the playoffs. They are a great experienced season/playoff team. The previous result really has no bearing in this game."

Did you watch the Saints vs. Eagles game on Saturday?

"I watched parts of it."

What was your impression?

"They ran the ball well. I think they did a great job. (Mark) Ingram did a great job running, getting physical and being effective. Drew (Brees) took his shots when he needed to. Their offense moved the ball effectively. Anytime you can run the ball and pose real well running the ball it is going to be a good day for your offense and they did."

You guys obviously cause problems for the Saints being physical in coverage.  I assume you do that for a lot of teams.  Under today's rules, is the mentality to go as far as you are allowed to disrupt routes without drawing penalties?

"You just play your game. You just play the game like you know how to play it. Sometimes they call stuff, (and) sometimes they don't. These rules don't really allow you to cover as much as you would want to. The old school rules when guys were really covering it would probably pretty effective with all the helmet to helmet fines and everything. I think you have to give the defense something. They are taking everything away from us. They are taking the hits, the press, you can't touch them after five yards so it is tough. I think we just play our type of football and we don't really worry about the rest of it."

You mentioned the new rules but you guys yourself were able to get 28 interceptions, what is the key to that when you can't do all the things you used to do?

"We are just situationally aware. We study together as a group, as a defense. We study concepts. We study plays. We study tendencies, quarterbacks, their movements. We are really a very disciplined film watching football team. I think when you work that hard, when you study that hard, when you are not out partying, you sit in that time and you are watching film and getting ready for your opponents, it benefits you."

How much time do you feel like the Saints can use that last game as motivation to come in?

"To tell you the truth I really don't think it is going to play a big part. I mean it may play a part in terms of the way they game plan and if they are going to use the plays that worked for them in that game. Otherwise I think they are going to treat it like we are treating it, treat it like a whole new ballgame. The ballgame is going to start 0-0 just like every other game and anything can happen in the playoffs."

How surprised were you in the result last time you played?

"I was very surprised. I was very surprised. Our team played a good football game. We played disciplined. We played sound. We did everything we were supposed to do and I am sure they feel like they didn't play their best game and they didn't. I doubt they are going to bring that same performance. I think they will play a better ballgame."

What do you think of the Saints ability to run the ball without Pierre Thomas?

"I think that was one of their best rushing games in the season statistically if I am not mistaken. To tell you the truth it looked good. Mark Ingram had a good game. He was finding the holes. He was running the ball physically. He was punishing tacklers and doing everything you are supposed to do with a physical running game. I think they are happy with that. I am not sure if Pierre Thomas is going to be back or how that would change things, but Mark Ingram looked very good."

Drew Brees was one of the guys you mentioned on Monday Morning Quarterback as one of the top quarterbacks you face. A couple of things stood out, one of them was that you have seen him do all the things that he can do, but he hasn't done it to us. Why do you think that is?

"I couldn't tell you truthfully. We don't run the most complex scheme. We don't do anything too exotic. I don't really have the answer to that. It definitely just worked in the playoffs against Philly in the first half. There were a couple of interceptions he threw. I'm sure he wanted them back, but in the second half they made the adjustments and scored at will pretty much and won the ballgame. Those are the kind of things that you expect from Drew Brees and his offense."

The Saints have a Seahawks logo on their practice field. What do you make of that?

"I guess that is them getting ready for our field.  That is all that I can think of.  There is going to be a Seahawks logo out there on Saturday when we play so I guess that is a way of getting prepared and being in a similar environment that you are going to be in.  It is hard to imitate the environment that our fans and our stadium create."

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