RENTON — Intimating an underling has been brainwashed brings thoughts of a diabolical plotter at work on evil plans.
That’s not the persona of Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, but he’s nonetheless relentless with his message.
In Week 3 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carroll said it was a championship week, just like he did in Week 1 and every week since. The same messaging is being cranked out this week, when the NFC title will indeed be decided.
Carroll made multiple references to that mental approach Wednesday when standing next to the NFC trophy situated between Seattle and San Francisco helmets on a table to his left.
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“If it wasn’t normal for us to be like this, it might be a challenge,” Carroll said. “But we have a way
with dealing with stuff. Practice is really important to us, and the preparation and their involvement is held to such a high standard on a daily basis that they don’t know any other way; this is the way we do it. So when you have standards, and the players meet up to those day-in — in every meeting, every practice, every walkthrough — you know you can trust that.”
The pursuit all week is to make it ordinary, largely to avoid what happened to the Carolina Panthers this past Sunday, when they lost to the 49ers, 23-10.
Carolina committed multiple penalties after the whistle. One Panther head-butted San Francisco wide receiver Anquan Boldin. The Seahawks took notice.
“They were hot, they were hot,” Seahawks right tackle Breno Giacomini said. “A few of those penalties will add up. Believe me, I know.”
Giacomini was being self-effacing about his past propensity for personal fouls. But with a spot in the Super Bowl to be determined Sunday among two of the league’s biggest rivals, finding a balance between mania and control is paramount.
“It’s a huge game for us,” quarterback Russell Wilson said. “It’s another game on the schedule, and we’ll play great football. The thing is, can we slow down the energy a little bit and get back to playing normal football?”
During the Week 2 game against San Francisco in Seattle, the Seahawks and 49ers combined for 22 penalties: 12 for San Francisco, 10 for Seattle. Those flags led to both teams being pushed back a total of 205 yards in a game during which 497 total yards were gained.
They were at it again in San Francisco in Week 14. The teams combined for 16 penalties for 155 yards.
“A lot’s on the line here, but you definitely have to control your emotions,” Giacomini said. “Just hit them on the next play. There’s no need for that. That’s something I’ve learned. Just get them on the next play.”
In the run-up to Sunday, Carroll’s philosophy will be key. The Seahawks won’t see the same circumstances in their media-swarmed locker room as in past weeks. They know they are just 60 minutes — as Wilson keeps pointing out — from the Super Bowl.
Which means the Super Bowl questions start before the Super Bowl participants are known.
Cornerback Richard Sherman and his Manhattan-sized personality were asked how he might fit in during two weeks in New York.
“We’re a match made in heaven,” Sherman said, before explaining he’s not taking time to enjoy this moment like people are telling him to.
“They’re like, ‘Man, you don’t know how many times you’re going to get this opportunity, so sit there, enjoy it, embrace it,’” Sherman said. “We don’t have time for that. This isn’t the end goal.”
There was no talk of New York from Carroll. Giacomini was only prompted to think about it when a reporter asked if the Boston native had thought about the possibility of playing his hometown New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Otherwise, he was full into Carroll’s routine.
“Today is just Wednesday,” Giacomini said. “I get it that there is a lot of things on the line, but it’s just Wednesday.”