I wish I could post the audio file I have of Marshawn Lynch talking at his locker yesterday. It would give you a better appreciation for what that scene like no other is, and why local reporters don't sweat him not talking to the media. But I don't have the recording/editing software that would allow me to bleep the profanities -- and thus allow me to keep my job(!) So I'll keep it by not posting what I have. Suffice to say, it's unique.
Again, the only time the NFL fines Lynch is after national media members complain to the league upon showing up at a Seahawks game (usually east of the Rocky Mountains) and find great horror in the running back not speaking in the locker room.
Coach Pete Carroll and his offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, also talked yesterday, far more extensively, before and after practice.
The most interesting comment I heard between the two of them was Bevell's answer when I asked the play caller if he could imagine Seattle's offense without Marshawn Lynch.
I asked thinking about this notion that's been around since before I took over this beat in early August: that for some pre-ordained reason Lynch is gone after this season. I didn't get it then. And after seeing how Lynch has become since the early October trade of Percy Harvin even more of an invaluable cornerstone to the offense and the team than he was last season, it seems even less plausible the Seahawks won't have him back for 2015 if not beyond.
Bevell sounds like he agrees.
When I asked if he could imagine Seattle’s offense without Lynch, Bevell said: “I don't even want to think about it."
“He's so special to us. I mean he does great things in every phase of the game,” the offensive coordinator said. “In the run game, the runs that he can make. Whether it’s in the protections, how he takes care of the quarterback and sees things that other running backs don’t see. And then his ability as a receiver. I mean, he’s outstanding in terms of running routes and his ability to catch the ball.
“Then, again,” Bevell said, “once he has it in his hands he does amazing things with it.”
For whatever reason, those comments aren't on the transcript the team disseminated below. But you can hear them here, beginning at the 4:47 mark near the end.
At the 2:29 mark, passing-by wide receiver Doug Baldwin interjects by asking Bevell "the receivers can or cannot get separation?" Baldwin was playing around, but his message had a point: he is tired of hearing talk that he and Seattle's receivers can't get open. "They can," Bevell answers Baldwin. That infers other reasons the Seahawks' offense has managed 200 or more yards passing in just two of 10 games, the lack of consistent pass protection being one of the biggest ones.
Here's the thing on Lynch: everyone I've talked to for months on the team -- before and after the unsubstantiated ESPN and NFL Network reports from mid-October that said the team is tired of his "act" --everyone inside the Seahawks' locker room and coaching staff love them some Marshawn Lynch. Love what he does for the offense. Loves the rugged, individual spirit he brings. Loves the 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown seasons he's churned out every season since 2011 -- the only guy in the league to do so, by the way.
We've discussed the $5 million base salary and $2 million more in roster and performance bonuses he is currently due in 2015, the final season of his contract. I don't care if he turns 39 not just 29 next spring. The Seahawks need Lynch as the centerpiece of their offense now, next season and for as far as they can see. I sense Bevell knows this. And Christine Michael, a second-round pick, has yet to prove he's the heir to Lynch as this team's featured back. That's the bottom line.
And that's why I think Lynch will be in Seattle's backfield beyond this season.
November 19, 2014
(Opening) Getting ready for this week, we’re looking at an opponent that’s really been playing great football. They’ve been playing tough, overcome a lot, and continue to get stronger, they’ve won tough, hard, close games and they’ve come out ahead. They’ve been really active taking the ball away from their opponents. They’re doing a lot of great things. I know they’re fired up and this kicks us into the division section of the schedule and there’s no better way than to go against the best and they’re on top of it. We’re looking forward to this matchup. We’re feeling a little bit healthier and hopefully we can take advantage of that in some areas and we’ll see how it goes, but we’re up against it.
(On if LB Bobby Wagner will practice today) He’ll practice today. It’ll be somewhat limited and we’ll find out how he handles it. But he’s going today.
(On how C Max Unger is recovering) It’s only been a couple of days but he’s making progress and he’s excited that it’s already starting to change. So we’ll see what that means but we don’t know long range.
(On what the expectation is of the Lemuel Jeanpierre being able to play right away) We’ll have to find out today. We’ll start the process today and Lem will get out there and show us what--he’s retained a lot. We already know that. We’ve quizzed him pretty well, now he’s just got to get back to football playing and it just depends on how he handles it. Patrick [Lewis] is ready to go. He’s played for us and jumped in a number of times for us now. So we’ll see how Lem does and just let those two guys compete it out and see how it goes. I’m open to him playing this week. I have no problem with that it just depends on how he feels about it.
(On if Jeanpierre is in football shape) He looked good. We got a good feel for that yesterday. He looks like he’s ready to go. He’s worked very hard to get back.
(On if his health is no longer an issue) No he’s in great shape. He’s passed the physical with no signs so we’re hopeful it’ll be okay.
(On what he liked out of DT Travian Robertson) He’s a big, big tough guy. We saw him play a lot of nose tackling in preseason and at 324 that’s a big ol’ body and he’s played hard. He has really good recommendations from his coaches and the people that have worked with him in the past about his work ethic and all of that and his attitude. We thought it’s a chance and we’re going to jump on it and see if he can help us out a little bit through the final stretch here.
(On what Arizona Cardinals do well) They’re really a tackling defense. They are very aggressive. They are causing a lot of problems and in that they’re not allowing any rushing yardage. They’re under 80 yards a game, which is really hard to do at this time of the year. That’s one aspect of it. They cover very aggressively, very tight, they have really good corners so they can get away with their one-on-ones and their zero coverage blitz that they throw at you and so they make it real tough there. They’re a committed run team. They’ve run the ball a lot. Not for a lot of yards but they’re really committed to continue to run it. We admire that. That’s part of the division I guess. Bruce [Arians] is really holding up their end of it. They get after it. They’ve also been very committed to throw the ball down the field. They’ve got very good receivers and a really fast guy John Brown. Can’t get any better than Larry [Fitzgerald] and Michael Floyd is a big threat, we know. So they use those guys and they’re not at all hesitant with [Drew] Stanton and go ahead and check it and see if he can make the big plays on you. It’s a nice mixture of attack from both sides of the ball. You can really feel their attitude.
(On what the key is getting to the quarterback) They seem to have a really good sense for getting the ball out. They know where they want to go with it. The quarterbacks aren’t looking around. Carson [Palmer] was the same way. They’re very well coached. They know where they want to go and their guys are good enough at getting open. They are really open when they need them and the ball’s out on rhythm. They’re not running around with it. They’re not scrambling and sitting in the pocket with the football at all. Even though they do work the ball down field so they take some deep drops and all but it’s coming out on time and on rhythm.
(On how much of a concern depth is along the defensive line) Maybe a little bit less today because we picked up another guy. We’re addressing the rotations here to try to maintain if we can. We’ll have to see how this week goes because I don’t know how Tray (Travian Robertson) is going to do. But we’re just trying to maintain enough numbers so we can keep moving our guys in and out.
(On how difficult it is to rotate so many guys in and out) It is not any more difficult than it is for anybody else. At this time of year if we look around our division, our division is pretty well banged up. These guys have overcome some tremendous losses during the season. The 49ers have had a big number of guys coming in and out of their lineup so we’re all just dealing with it. It’s really about the guys stepping up to the opportunity more than what you lose. We’re always looking at what the guys are going to give us and bring us as opposed to what’s leaving. Is it hard? I don’t know. You’d rather not have it. We had a much better fortune last year at this time but at this point we could start ten guys that started on defense early in the season. That’s about as good as we could hope for. We miss [Brandon] Mebane but it’s still not a bad number if Bobby [Wagner] gets out there and Maxy [Byron Maxwell] and those guys are all back out then we’re pretty fortunate in that regard so there’s an upside to that as well.
(On if you admire what Head Coach Bruce Arians has done) I’ve really admired what Bruce [Arians] has done whether he was coordinator or not. He’s been a really top notch coach at the head of his game for a long time. I think he’s perfectly suited to be a head coach in this league. He knows the league really well. He’s got a great approach and a great mentality about him. It’s no surprise. I don’t know how our division got so darn tough but it just is. I know that he has really added to it and quickly. It only took him half the season to get going last year and then they were rippin’ and they were really hard to deal with. I love coaches and I appreciate any of their trials and tribulations to get where they get and to stick as long as they can and guys bounce back. It’s a great challenge and he’s got great resolve. He knows exactly what he wants to do and I think the message comes across loud and clear.
(On what your evaluation was of DT Kevin Williams filling in) He did alright. He held up his own. The ball was not at the point of attack where he could have been responsible to make some plays and didn’t. He did okay. He’s a little green at it because there was more scheme-wise than he’s used to getting at three technique and at five technique but he handled it well, he’s a good square body and did alright.
(On evaluating where the passing game sits currently) It’s our style to play off of the running game and there’s a lot of play pass and a lot of movement by the quarterback. We encourage Russell [Wilson] to play the way he plays and to get out and create problems for our opponents. The last two weeks we have rushed for over 500 yards. We can gripe about the things we didn’t see but we’re hoping to be really efficient. We want to be efficient and make sure we can have a good completion percentage that keeps the ball moving for us and then winning on third down. If we’re getting that done then the next thing would go to the Red Zone issues and try to get that done. We’re better in the Red Zone than some of the numbers show. We’ve done a lot of things that have been pretty good. We’ve scored a lot down there. Those are all part of the throwing game. We’re always trying to get better and trying to be more efficient and that’s about where I see it fit.
(On LB Bobby Wagner’s play number –limited or not) I can’t tell you that yet. I don’t know. The first thought would be yes, limited somewhat we’ll see how he does. When the guys worked him out yesterday they thought he was in phenomenal shape. He breezed through the workout. He’s worked really hard to maintain his conditioning level. Let’s see what happens though. We won’t put him in harm’s way but if he’s ready to go we’ll play him more. We just need to find out. We won’t know until game time.
(On not being as concerned about being 20th in touchdowns last year and 14th this year) It’s the timing of it. Did you not get it done to win the game? That’s what was unfortunate this past week. We have scored a lot of points and we have been active down there and we’ve done well with the ball. There are a lot of good things down there. Two weeks ago we were five out of six. This week we were two out of five or whatever it was and that wasn’t good enough for this game. We didn’t win the game. We’re always trying to get better. We’re trying to hit them all. We’ll just keep working at it.
(On if he would rather QB Russell Wilson not be leading the league in yards per attempt rushing) Absolutely not. No no, absolutely not. He got hit one time last week. We should keep track of that as much of anything if we’re concerned about it. As long as he continues to run and find space and get out of bounds and get down. That’s our style of the way we play. He’s brought that uniqueness to us so there’s no reason to discourage him from doing that. If it’s taking away from another part of our game, then okay. Marshawn [Lynch] has been making tremendous yardage and has a terrific average too. The combined yardage is really special when he’s running. We’re not worried about that at all. As long as our rhythm is there and again, the efficiency and throwing game we have to keep that up and make sure we’re doing that well.
(On RB Marshawn Lynch and the wallet he found) I did hear about the wallet. Just another deed well done.
(On how QB Russell Wilson has been doing when scrambling and being in the pocket long or short enough) There are always plays in the game when we would say how come you got out here. When he does what he does because he’s forced or flushed or whatever, we don’t have any question about that. We always want him looking down field and try to get the ball down field to the receivers first, which he does. Sometimes there have been games where it’s been so easy for him to escape that he tends to get out and just take advantage of it. There are times there where we encouraging him to hang with it, there’s no reason to go. His efficiency is tremendous when he takes off and does that sort of stuff. It’s difficult to deal with and we just work with it as we go and make sure we assess this as we go along and hopefully keep him guided well.
(On what Arizona Cardinals defense did so well) They adjusted from the first time we played them really well. We did some things in the first game. We had a pretty big day offensively the first time out and they took some things away in good fashion it was nice adjustments by them. They did run the ball very well. We had plenty of opportunities we took the ball off a ton of times that game and they just kept hanging and hanging. What they did well in that game was they ran it 47 times I think and they just kept doing it. I don’t think they got a ton of yards but for that many attempts but their persistence was really obvious. I think we had four interceptions that game that should have been the difference in that game but Carson [Palmer] was able to make a play with Michael Floyd right at the end and won the football game. We allowed the game to be so close that a great play can make a difference and they did it. Great job by them.
(On the elements in Bruce Arians passing game that makes it tough to defend) He’s like an old soul in the league. He really understands concepts and the principles and the good stuff that’s difficult for you to defend. He knows how to stay in constant motion with that to stay ahead. He doesn’t just keep doing the same stuff all the time. They have a real confidence about going for it. That’s instilled in their quarterback. So you can see it as soon as Drew comes on the field when Carson gets hurt and bang they’re going right after you. They’re not hesitating. That’s the mentality that they have to go along with the great system that they have. It’s as well designed as anything we’ve faced.
(On if G James Carpenter is on track to come back this week) James [Carpenter] is going today in limited fashion and we’ll see how that works out. This is his first official day back so we just have to take it as it comes but we’re excited to see him back out there.
(On LB Brock Coyle and CB Marcus Burley’s status) Brock Coyle will go today. He feels pretty good. He’s scheduled to get a good amount of work to see how he handles it. Marcus [Burley] will not make it back today.
(On if CB Jeremy Lane not playing defense was health related) He was a little sore going into the game so we just thought we’d make sure and with the weather conditions we didn’t want to take a chance with him if we didn’t have to. He was there as a backup and he played special teams.
(On the players relying on swagger) They’re pretty confident now. Our guys are still confident. They’re holding on to the hope that we can continue to play good football and the chance to finish the season in great fashion. They’re going to be very strong about going after this game right now. They realize how crucial it is right now as the division begins. You feel better when you do well, that’s part of it.
(On handling the back-loaded schedule) I think there’s so much at stake coming up here in the next month and a half that everything’s still out there and everybody’s got to win and I think this is a great time to be watching NFL games if you’re really tuned in to it. Because of the matchups and the every game will be so crucial and everybody has a chance to do it. Everybody is feeling like that. The Rams feel it too, and the Niners, we’re all feeling the same thing. There’s a lot out there. We know we have to do it one week at a time and with Arizona starting and that’s the only game in the world that matters. I think it’s a really cool time of the year.
(On how he feels the offense is playing) We’ve not been as consistent as we would like. We’ve been very tuned in to running the football and doing a really good job there. The whole running scheme is really coming to life. Meaning that the quarterback run and all that stuff is fitted together. We feel very confident in the roles that we have our guys in and what they can do I think Doug [Baldwin] has really shown he is really doing a great job for us when we keep him inside. He’s been very consistent for us. [Jermaine] Kearse continues to make his plays and the young guys continue to fit it. I’d like to get a little more of Ricardo [Lockette]. He has not been as much of a factor but he’s a guy that we’re looking for to always be a part of it just hasn’t quite happened. I think we’re okay.
(On if he is concerned about RB Marshawn Lynch being fined $100,000 for not talking to media) I’m aware of it. It’s the rules. I’m aware of it.
(On WR John Brown in the draft class) We knew about it. The name came up because his speed was so obvious and all that. They got a great pick in him. Gosh darn he’s done a fantastic job. Really explosive just as you’ve seen in the highlights but when you see him play after play you really appreciate what the guy can do. He made a lot of big plays for them this year.
(On what QB Drew Stanton brings as a quarterback) He’s got a big arm. He’s confident. At times he looks just like him, even when he’s delivering the ball. He’s taking on some traits. I go through that they have confidence in him to do what he’s doing. They have trust in this guy so that they know he’s a productive football player. He’s tough enough to run and takeoff when he has to. We have to deal with all of the problems that their offense brings you, whether it’s Carson [Palmer] or Drew [Stanton]. They’re both dealing it out and it looks really good.
(On how FB/DT Will Tukuafu did on defense and whether to keep using him on both sides) He’ll continue to play on both sides. He did fine. He just had a handful of plays. He played really hard. He’s a very big motor guy and chases the ball real well. He did well for us. He’ll be in that same role.
(On what the Arizona loss last December did on a positive or negative do for the team moving forward) I think anytime you have a streak like that you get disappointed. It was disappointing we couldn’t maintain that. It was right there to be done and we couldn’t finish the game the way we wanted to. It reminds you that it’s not automatic when you’re home and you have to fight your tail off to keep your head above the water there. It was a good illustration to us of how tough the division is. For them to overcome all of the things they had to overcome and still win the game was a big statement for them.
(On if he is surprised Arizona is as good as they are this year with many players missing they had last year) I think it’s a great accomplishment by their coaches and their players. Those guys are really good players. They have not skipped a beat and they seem to be playing better. Larry [Foote] has had a lot to do with it and his attitude that he brings and the style of play that he brings. Deone Bucannon has been a big factor for them too, putting the pup in there and the way they use him. He’s been a big factor to go along with the other guys. It’s a big accomplishment I think to have overcome that. I think it’s really obvious. That’s coaches and that’s players and that’s attitude and all that good stuff.
(On what he thought when the schedule came out with Arizona and San Francisco back to back in five days) I saw it like I’m conveying to you now that I think it’s a really cool way to have the schedule come out. We never worry about a short week there’s nothing we can do about it. Somebody in the NFL office figures that out and we just have to deal with it. This is what it is. Somebody’s got to play the Thursday night games and we get the call so we got to do it. It won’t matter for the ‘Niners and for us and when it comes time for that week we just crunch it and we go play and we try to benefit from the break that happens afterwards but I think this is NFL football at its best during the regular season. This is as good as it gets. We’re going to try to make the most of it.
Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell
November 19, 2014
(On Marshawn Lynch) We appreciate everything that Marshawn’s doing—he’s balling. He’s playing great football—running the ball, catching the ball, everything that we ask him to do—he’s doing it and the proof is on the field. That’s the bottom line—the proof is out there on the field on how well he’s playing.
(On the passing game struggles) Like I’ve said every week coming up here, it all works together. We’ve had some real nice plays, and then we’ve had some plays that haven’t been there that we thought should have been, but it works together in terms of protection number one. Number two is guys being on time, where they’re supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be there. Number three is the quarterback making good decisions, making good throws, putting the ball where it needs to be, when it needs to be there as well and all those things have to come together at the right time to be able to do that. So for whatever reason, it’s different things at different times—being able to stay in the pocket, trust your protection, trust your read, trust your throws, being able to get open down the field on time and then block the guy that’s in front of you. All those things cause that stuff to be off.
(On issues in the red zone) Well we didn’t score last week—we’ve kind of had some good games and some bad games there. We’ve done a nice job at times—there have been a couple situations. For example, it was a situation where it was two minute so it was only twenty two seconds when we had a first down so we were trying to make sure that we had all of the plays, so really you’re just throwing the ball every time. The run game didn’t become a valuable part of it because then you would have run out of plays. So we have to be able to throw and catch and do all of those things. There were a couple opportunities that we had on that one drive where we could of have touchdowns and we didn’t make plays and that’s basically what it comes down to when you get down in there is being able to capitalize on the opportunities when you have them.
(On did he get the look he wanted on the 4th & two play) Yeah—they did a good job with the defense. They knocked us back—we didn’t do a good enough job of gaining the line of scrimmage. That’s a play that we’ve used a number of times in short yardage situations and they did a good job against it.
(On was Doug Baldwin the first option on the goal line play) Well it’s a couple options on it—just depends on how the defense presents itself. He could have gone to [Jermaine] Kearse and he could have gone to the other side as well. So it just depends on what the defense looks like.
(On how much does having a short field limit the offense from being on a roll) It doesn’t necessarily limit your ability to roll—you can still move the pocket, there’s still space to have down there but obviously it’s condensed. We talk all the time—things happen faster, you have to throw to spots, the field is condensed so they have to cover less field so you have to be on time with your throws and with your routes. So you just have to be really on it when you’re down there.
(On getting Lemuel Jeanpierre back) It’s huge—a guy that we love, that’s done a great job for us when he’s had an opportunity to step in there, that knows the offense—so it’s not going to be a big catch up process, but we’ll continue to go through the week and see how that goes.