Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
What do you make of the way the Saints offense has played thus far?
"They're really tough, like they've been in the past so effective throwing the football and attacking people. They have such a great background and history doing it, they are great at it. Between Sean (Payton) and Drew (Brees) putting it together, it makes it very difficult. They have good weapons and they use them really well."
What are some of the reasons you think your run game has struggled?
"We just haven't hit it quite right. We've been in games that haven't been really close, haven't finished a game running the ball as much as we'd like. Russell (Wilson) hasn't had as many yards rushing as he normally has at this time."
How tough is it when you guys are a one-dimensional offense?
"We are kind of like everybody else, when Russell (Wilson) is running all over the place we're a little bit different and now he's been a little bit restricted and in that it's just made us more like other people."
What do you remember most about Max Unger's time in Seattle?
"He's awesome, one of our all-time favorite guys, as I'm sure he is for you guys too. He's a great guy, (a) great worker, really a brilliant football player and really one of our favorites."
What was your approach in trading for Jimmy Graham?
"I think you guys know what makes you want to get Jimmy (Graham), he's a great football player and that's pretty obvious and at the time there was an opportunity and that's what it took to get it done. We never liked losing Max (Unger) because like I said he is such a great player and a great contributor on our team, but that was what it took to get it done."
What have you thought of how Jimmy (Graham) has played this season after some struggles last year?
"He got hurt last year, we were starting out with him and he caught 50 balls or something like that last year before he got hurt, so he was doing fine, but Russell (Wilson) and Jimmy have really connected and it took some time to develop that chemistry and Jimmy's been great since he's got(ten) back and has his legs underneath him. After coming back from the amazing rehab that he had to go through. They hit stride and he's been really effective and he's off to a great year."
Is there a specific quality that makes Max Unger one of your favorite guys?
"It's everything, it's who he is, his character, his competitiveness, the smarts that he brings just a great team guy."
Why do you think Michael Bennett has had so much success in your defense?
"I think we recognized Michael's (Bennett) uniqueness and put him in situations to do the things that he can do so well. He has great instincts and great savvy and if you can find Mike to play in a particular five technique or something like that, like everyone else it's going to hinder what he brings and Mike has just an awareness that just separates him from other players and he has a great motor to go with it. When you give him those opportunities to show what he can do he really jumps out and he's a big factor, creates a lot of problems for our opponents and we love him."
Why has Richard Sherman been such a lockdown guy throughout his career?
"It is kind of a similar situation. I often use both of those guys to illustrate the example of players that have great awareness and savvy. That makes them so unique. They make plays because they can see things that other people do not see. They have timing that allows them to take advantage of those instincts. It makes them unique. Those guys in their own rights are very similar. We play them in similar fashion. We try to play to their strengths and allow them to use those instincts. There is some stuff that we let those guys do that we don't let other guys do because of who they are and how they play it."
What do you think about Richard (Sherman's) and the rest of your secondary's matchup against these three Saints wide receivers?
"I like these receivers because of the way that they use them. They utilize their strengths really well. Obviously, Sean (Payton) knows how to do that. We're going to do the best we can. I think they are really good."
What do you think went into creating the culture that has allowed the success of your defense to continue no matter who you have plugged in?
"I think it is philosophy. It is the approach of how we do it. That encompasses, not just scheme and not just the way that we play in the secondary and the way we use our front, but it's also in how you utilize your personnel. As the personnel has shifted a little bit over the years, we are always trying to uncover the unique qualities that our players have and then putting them in the position to use those. Within a very strict regimen of defense, we have found a way to play players that can demonstrate great freedom and use of their talents. You see Earl (Thomas) plays like Earl plays and Kam (Chancellor) plays like Kam plays. They could not be more different but they are both safeties in our system. Sherman plays as he plays outside and Michael (Bennett) plays like he does, and Bobby (Wagner) and K.J. (Wright) – those guys have been kind of fitted to play to their strengths within the scheme that allows that. I think that is why they have been so consistent. We have been on it for some time now. Put all of that aside, these guys really play together. They understand how to play team defense and complement one another, and come through with their stuff and fit it so that it keeps us really on a disciplined fashion and keeps us consistent. That's probably the best part of it, is the long-term consistency. It's a special group."
How long do you think it took to build up that culture?
"Well, we've been here six years I guess. This is seven years. We have really been on it with these guys and kept this going now for four straight years. It took a couple of years to get going and a couple of draft classes and free agents. Then, we saw our core come to life about five years ago. We told these guys that we were going to build it around you. We can see it and we are going to keep you together. John Schneider has done a great job of finding ways to keep our guys all here, and also compensate them well. They have just been the core of the program."
Seattle Seahawks Cornerback Richard Sherman
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
What's your impression of the Saints offense so far this year?
"I think they're doing great. They are getting a lot of explosive plays. They are getting the ball down the field and scoring points. They're doing a great job."
As one of the leaders of the team, do you get a sense that Jimmy Graham is extra pumped up to come back to New Orleans to play them?
"Not anything that we can see obviously. He's pretty pumped up for every game as I'm sure you guys can remember. He's a pretty jacked guy. He seems like he's just status quo."
On the flipside of that thought, what was your reaction when your team traded away Max Unger? What did he mean to that team when he was there?
"We were all surprised. He is an incredible leader and he is an incredible ballplayer. He is reliable and he is a fantastic teammate. He is one of the better teammates that you could ask for. I think that everybody was surprised when that trade went down."
Who got the better end of that deal?
"I think both teams benefitted from it honestly. I think New Orleans got a fantastic center who solidified a good offensive line. We got a good tight end who makes big plays for us and gets down the field. I think it is a win-win."
What is the biggest difference you see from watching your offense from the sidelines, and how defenses are attacking it?
"I think it all starts with Russell (Wilson) and how he's grown and developed as a quarterback. When he sets his feet and gets the ball where it is supposed to go, he's great and he's fantastic. He's making faster reads, getting the ball out quicker and he's more accurate down the field. Obviously, having a big target like Jimmy (Graham) always helps. But, our receivers are also doing a great job in their route-running and their development."
What is the biggest difference you see this year in the running game? For a long time your identity was running the football.
"I think that's still our identity. But the quarterback's a great player and can still take over the game. I think the coaches just play it by ear and see how the game's going. At any time, Russell (Wilson) can get hot and they are just going to ride that heat streak and let him sling it a little bit. At the same time, it can always get back to the running game. Our offenses line does a great job of opening up the holes for him. Christine Michael is an explosive runner when you give him a hole. I think our offense has come together."
Is there anything that Jimmy (Graham) could add that you guys can't just turn on the film and look and find out for yourselves? Do we make a little too much of players coming from other teams?
"I think they do in some cases. If it is a quarterback coming from another team and they run the same offense then that is kind of different, or if it is a linebacker coming from a defense where they are running the same defense. But, in a lot of cases things change. We haven't gone to him at all honestly. We just turn on the film and study like we always study and get the tendencies like we always do, and go out there and try to play. I think that is the only way you can do it. I think when you try to get information from people, you kind of leave yourself at a disadvantage because you think you know something and you think you've got tendencies that you don't. You kind of put yourself at a vulnerable position if they change something up."
What do you think makes Michael Bennett so effective?
"He is just incredibly strong. He is aggressive. He is very smart. He has great anticipation and has great hands. He is just a gritty ball player. With him paired with Cliff Avril, and Frank Carter (they) have done a phenomenal job. They are developing into one of the better pass rushers in this league."
What does (Michael Bennett) add to you in the locker room?
"He's just a fantastic dude. He's funny and brings a lot of laughs. He brings a lot of information. He'll give you a history on black people, on Malcolm X (or) whatever you really want to know and things you probably didn't care to know. He is just a great teammate overall. He is a great guy to have in the locker room. He'll break his neck for any guy on the team. Those are the guys that you have to have around."
How long did it seem to take for you guys to develop this attitude and defensive personality that you guys have had now for the past few years?
"I think it was late in 2011 near the end of the year where we started playing really good football. We started trusting one another and playing disciplined. We started to believe in one another to do our job. The front office has done a great job of putting pieces in and taking pieces out to help our growth. I think we're as good as we've ever been."
How do you think another team could mirror what you guys do?
"You'd have to talk with John (Schneider) and those guys but I guess it starts with finding guys who care and finding guys who take pride in what they do, and really take pride in winning their one-on-one matchups. But, they are also selfless guys who aren't me, me, me guys, and who just go out there and do their jobs. They trust that the next man is going to do his job and they don't need all the glory, all of the hype, all of the headlines or the accolades. They just want to win. When you get a bunch of guys like that, it makes your defense hard to beat because everybody is playing hard and everybody is playing selfless and for one another. You get into the hard games and you never get into the animosity because you always know that everybody is coming from a place of love and appreciation."
What have you seen from the trio of Saints receivers? How tough is that matchup?
"It os going to be really tough. Obviously, (Brandin) Cooks is an incredibly explosive receiver. (Willie) Snead IV has been consistent at making big plays, and has a great set of hands. I think (Michael) Thomas has done a great job down the field and at being physical and getting people off of him. We look forward to the challenge. They present a great challenge."