Who says your voice isn't heard here?
After reading the long discussions the last few weeks here about the current state of Russell Okung, I made it a point yesterday in Renton to explore what the Seahawks think of their linchpin left tackle through four games of this season. The story is in today's News Tribune.
I found the team is united in two beliefs: 1.) This isn't the real Russell Okung, and 2.) The real one is on its way.
“He’s about 80 percent, yeah. That’s fair,” offensive-line coach Tom Cable said Wednesday when asked him where Okung is now compared to what Seattle has come to expect from its 2012 Pro Bowl blocker.
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"I think in terms of reps, and being real disciplined with your feet,” Cable said when asked what Okung is currently lacking. “Like the holding call he gets in pass protection (at Washington Monday night, the one that called back Percy Harvin's 40-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson in the fourth quarter) was a foot issue. Didn’t need to happen. Those are things you can fix. And we will do that right away.”
Okung had three of the offensive line’s six penalties in the Seahawks’ 27-17 victory at Washington Monday, a game that started 17-0 and ended closer than it should have been. One of the flags on Okung was one of Seattle’s four false-start fouls. Two of his penalties were for holding, the first negating a 17-yard run in the first quarter by Marshawn Lynch.
The Seahawks believe Okung’s still essentially rusty after the offseason surgery on his foot and toe which corrected issues that cost him eight games last season. He didn’t participate in the team’s minicamp in May and remained off the practice field until mid-August, deep into training camp.
“You think about it, he missed all spring and a good part of summer, even,” Cable said. “So where everyone else has had 1,500 reps, he’s had 300.”
There will be a time this season, perhaps soon, where this rust excuse will no longer be valid. But the Seahawks believe he will be back to normal sooner rather than, say, December.
“Just like any guy coming out, he’s a little banged up at times,” Carroll said of Okung. “He’s not at his 100 percent, but he’s plenty good enough to play, and he’s doing a good job at busting it.
“He was going to be behind for a while. He went through the whole offseason of not working and not being able to do the stuff that a normal guy does. So I’m hoping that he will continue to improve as we go through the middle part of the season.”
When I asked him how he assesses his play through four games, Okung said: "I think I’m only good as the guys next to me. That’s the great thing about the offensive line: It’s not just one guy. We’ve just got to keep getting better all together.
“I wish I could have been more disciplined to help the guys out more. The great thing is, I get another chance this Sunday.”
I hear you, saying Okung should be as healthy as he'll be all season right now only a week removed from Seattle's only bye of the season. But he's looked slower than usual going into and coming out of the week off. To say this issue is a concerning one for the Seahawks would be an understatement, yet the team is 3-1 and leading the league in rushing.
Then again, the scrambling Wilson has accounted for 209 of Seattle's 660 yards rushing, the most yards on the ground by an NFL quarterback. And many of those yards have come off crazy, self-preserving scrambles after failed pass protection.
There is enough concern between Carroll, Cable and general manager John Schneider that two-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger won't be able to play Sunday against Dallas because of a sprained foot that they have already moved to potential Plan Bs.
The first is Stephen Schilling, the backup guard and center who filled in on three plays Monday when Unger limped off at the end of a scoring drive in the fourth quarter. Those were the four-year veteran from Bellevue High School's first NFL snaps at center in his 22-game career.
The second option is Patrick Lewis. Seattle signed him yesterday off Cleveland's practice squad.
SHERMAN ON THE MIKE
The best of All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman's weekly meeting with us yesterday:
- Sherman on Wilson: "They keep calling him 'not elite.' And he keeps winning. I don't know how that goes."
- Him saying Dez Bryant "matters" in this league; "he actually does," Sherman said, smiling over the reference following Monday's game that Washington's leading wide receiver Pierre Garcon does not matter.
- And Sherman saying of the inverted cover-2 converge Monday that had him in the deep middle switching outside responsibilities to late-arriving strong safety Kam Chancellor "I think we're effectively going to throw that out."
Here is the transcript
CB Richard Sherman
October 8, 2014
(On WR Dez Bryant) He’s up there. Dez is an incredible talent. Obviously his resume speaks for itself, but he does a great job getting open, playing the ball in the air. He made fantastic play for them last week which is indicative of what he can do when the ball is in the air.
(On WR Dez Bryant’s strength) He’s definitely physical throughout the route, especially in the red zone; they use him a lot on those fade balls and he does a great job of creating separation and catching the ball with his hands.
(On countering WR Dez Bryant’s strength) There’s numerous ways; I’ll show you better than I can tell you.
(On his thoughts about the interception total being down) Not really; people are playing a little bit more conservative. Obviously, they’d rather check the ball down and do things like that than to give us a chance at it which is fine; we’re winning ball games.
(On campaigning for teammates for the Pro Bowl) Yes, thank you very much. Bobby Wagner is having an incredible year. Obviously, the last couple years, our linebackers have been a little bit over shadowed; K.J. Wright also. Bobby Wagner was up there, I think maybe a few tackles above Luke Kuechly last year, and nobody gave him even a pro bowl nod. So voters, everybody out there, Bobby Wagner is a pro bowl player. He should be in the Defensive Player of the Year race as well.
(On does he feel guilty for linebackers being overlooked) No; not at all. We’re not the ones overlooking them. I feel like they deserve a lot more credit than they’ve been given. I felt like Bobby had a pro bowl season last year with the turnovers he created, the sacks, and the tackles. There are other guys in the pro bowl with similar or less stats than he had and for him not to get the nod was kind of weird. We had three guys on the number one defense go to the pro bowl and you got six guys here, seven guys here from this team, from this defense whose defense wasn’t playing as good as ours; those are the kinds of things you get frustrated with when you got a guy like Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright who should be in the pro bowl, who should be on the All-Pro teams getting overlooked on a great defense.
(On it being an elevation of LB Bobby Wagner’s play or continuation) It’s a continuation. I think he was among the leaders in tackles last year for the league and he missed two games. I think he was three or four tackles away from being the league leader and he missed two full games of the season. I think that’s an incredible stat; he played very well in the playoffs. Obviously, Malcolm Smith also played well down the stretch as evidenced by his Super Bowl MVP, but K.J. [Wright] is always consistent, he’s always been consistent since we got here and he’s stepped in the role early on in his career as a Sam linebacker; he’s played Sam, Mike, Will, and I think all of that should be considered.
(On him helping LB Bobby Wagner on interceptions) You know he usually catches those. I think his hands might have been too rough from getting the three TFLs [Tackle for Losses] and the sack.
(On suggestions for nicknaming the linebackers) That’s interesting. I got nothing for you right now. They’re a great group, they’re just under-rated right now; they’re the over-looked guys right now and I think that should change. Hopefully, this helps change it cause people should start watching them a little more they do a great job.
(On DT Brandon Mebane) C’mon. This is probably a three years running pro bowl snub. Brandon Mebane is like the engine that helps our defense go. Last game, he, Tony McDaniel, Kevin Williams in the middle, they did it -- Michael Bennett -- they all did a fantastic job stuffing the run. We’re the number one run defense for a reason but those guys are a huge part of it. Those guys are doing a great job; Brandon Mebane does not move, he’s an immovable object out there and he does a fantastic job with his hands. He’s an incredibly technical player in his movements and everything he does; he’s rarely out of position, he’s rarely out of the play and he does a great job running to the ball. You rarely see a defensive tackle running making tackles on the sideline or a tackle on screen plays and he does all that, but once again, he’s overlooked because I guess his stats aren’t there, he’s not a big sack total guy, he’s just a guy that does his job incredibly well week in and week out.
(On how motivated is the locker room about league achievements) Not at all actually; a lot of guys just motivated by a win. Guys just want to win, whatever it takes to win. They can care less about pro bowls, all-pros, etc. They just want to win ball games and I think that’s what sets us apart; it’s a very unselfish locker room. I think guys play that way; a guy is not going to sacrifice the integrity of the defense or the offense to make a big play for him selfishly. He’s going to do what’s in the scheme and if it allows him to make a play then he’s going to make it.
(On speaking if he's succeeded in getting coaches to junk the switch, Cover-2 coverage that had him inside and Kam Chancellor outside on DeSean Jackson's TD catch on Monday in WSH) Yeah, yeah I don’t think they’re going to put me back deep very often anymore. That was interesting. It was actually cover two when they had me at safety. They send two seams at you and you have to pick one and you pick your poison with that play. But I think we’re effectively going to throw that one out.
(On what he feels is still lacking within the defense) We’ve stopped the run very well. I think we improved on third down this week that’s something we’ve been working on, a few of them got away from us that we could have stopped. We’ve been doing a great job of being disciplined and sound. You know obviously we gave a few plays last week and those are fixable plays. Like you said it was under unique circumstances that the plays were given up. I think we’re playing sound overall obviously we’re the kind of team where we’re 3-1 and if you were in the locker room right night you’d feel like you were going in the locker room of a 1-3 team the way guys are still hungry and after it. Guys are far from content and actually kind of frustrated with how close games have been and how things have gone.
(On evaluating QB Russell Wilson’s TV accomplishments as a pitch man) I think he does a great job. He’s done some unique commercials. My favorite is where he played a football player, he played a quarterback and I was like whoa that’s unique for him. Nah I’m just messing with you. I think the one where he is getting his hair cut is my favorite. I think it’s for Microsoft or something and he’s getting his hair cut and he’s walking around drawing up plays. I thought that was pretty funny.
(On if he thinks QB Russell Wilson should be marketable to the entire league) I would think so. He is a great player in this league. For some reason they keep calling him not elite and he keeps on winning. So I don’t know how that goes but he’s a great player in this league and when you play as well as he’s played and consistent as he has been he’s going to get an opportunity to sponsor some brands and be an ambassador for some other brands.
(On facing more passing games that are more conservative and if anything is changing based on the quick passing game) Truthfully it’s not changing much that we do. We’re just rallying to it and tackling just like we’ve always done. Because you can’t get caught up on the short passing game because then you have guys running up and a guy running in behind you so we are just continuing to do what we do. Obviously it’s worked for us before and it’ll continue to work for us again.
(On if he feels that as a pass defense are dictating what offenses do) Somewhat. I think we have an influence on it. I think Earl Thomas back there in the middle field having a great influence. I think Kam Chancellor is having a great impact and I think schematically we know where we want to get the ball. We know where the weaknesses of the defense are. We know where the strengths of the defenses are. We try to play accordingly.
(On the kinds of stress that is put on the cornerback when zigging and zagging and facing quarterbacks like Russell Wilson) I mean it’s tough. Just like playing Aaron (Rodgers), A-Rod, he finds a way to create space, create time, for his receivers to get open and it puts a lot of stress on the defense because you have to trust that everybody plasters to the receiver that is nearest to him because when he scrambles out it creates more time and defenses aren’t built to last five, six, seven, seconds down the field so guys have to find whatever guys are in their zone and stick to them. Sometimes that’s difficult because some guys aren’t in a zone or some guys are right behind them and you’re chasing them down anyways. So it creates a lot of stress in the defense in an incredibly tough situation.
(On if he’s noticed the point of emphasis the league has made about abusive language on the field and what’s being said currently) No. I have not. Not in our games. I don’t think we’ve seen it called once against us or for us. I haven’t noticed it. I have seen a couple people get fined for etc etc… and a couple other guys get called for it. But I haven’t heard what they said or been part of. So I haven’t seen it much.
(On how anxious he is for an interception and how much it matters to him) No, no it doesn’t matter. You get anxious for them and then you let your defense down, you start gambling, you start doing things like that. You know, it’ll come within the scheme. Obviously if we win in ball games, interceptions totals and things like that don’t matter because you’re winning. If the opportunity presents itself, we’ll capitalize.
--Here is all of what coach Pete Carroll said yesterday:
Head Coach Pete Carroll
October 8, 2014
(Opening) Just because we got back so late, we didn’t talk about the game. I’ll just give you a couple shots: We’re really happy we played so hard in the game. We were a little over anxious and a little sloppy at the line of scrimmage and that really kind of marred the game, but the most important thing we wanted to get done was come out of the bye and play really hard, fast, and tough and I think we did that. Things that we need to clean up, we’re all over it today and the players are taking accountability for being sharper, but we’re fired up. We made it through the bye and we come out of this thing with a chance to get on kind of on a normal schedule from this point forward; Sundays to Sundays, and that’ll feel pretty good here as we get rolling. We came out of it in pretty good shape; Max [Unger] strained his foot, we’ll have to see him day-to-day; see how that goes. Alvin Bailey; we’re still waiting see how he comes back; he’s kind of on a day-to-day watch too. Other than that, we’re in pretty good shape and we look forward to getting ready and cranked up for coming home. Dallas is playing great football, they’re flying high; they’ve shown the dynamic football team they can be in so many ways. They’re really fast, they are playing really tough on offense; they’re running the ball very well. Of course, we all know that Tony [Romo] is going to do a great job with his receivers and Dez [Bryant], and [Jason] Witten. The running has been good for years now, but it’s just right on it. So you mix that with this defense that’s really improved and really flying around playing hard, it makes them very difficult. Obviously, they’re beating everybody with four wins in a row. So we have to be on our best and it’s going to be a great matchup for us.
(On replacing Max Unger) You’ll see what’s going on here after today. There are a couple things we have to take a look at.
(On speaking with the NFL about penalties from the Washington game) No, I haven’t heard back from them; which ones you want to talk about? I saw Dean Blandino talking about James’ [Carpenter] penalty on TV so they’ve obviously already concurred with that thought, but I haven’t heard about the motion one on Percy [Harvin], I don’t know anything about that yet.
(On being over-anxious on the line of scrimmage) I think we were jumpy, we were really anxious to get going and it took us a long time to get settled in and we were very sloppy. Really, it was eight penalties at the line of scrimmage; that’s just far too many for a team that expects to play well.
(On Dallas’ offensive line) Well they’re going to get so much better as they grow together with just the young group, but they’ve made an obvious commitment; Zack [Martin] looks like he’s going well and [Travis] Frederick is good, and we already know about Tyron[Smith] and the rest of those guys; they’re playing. They’re running game is very consistent and they’re very strong upfront and they’re just going to improve like crazy. We’re fortunate we’re getting them this early cause a year from now or by the end of this season, these guys are really going to be something.
(On DeMarco Murray) He’s really special and he continues to break really solid tackles; guys have him and he keeps on moving, and keeps on going. He’s got enough speed to run around you, and set you down and bust away from you. He runs through tackles, he runs up inside very well, he’s good on the perimeter, he’s a really good straight-arm guy; they get the ball to him some on the passing game too and he’s really tough to just deal with and you wonder why the guys aren’t in good shape on their tackles; they can’t get him down, he’s got extraordinary running ability and sense and all; he can break those tackles. So it’s going to be a great challenge for us and we had a really cool week of preparing for the run this last week; hopefully that will help us, you know Alfred Morris is a terrific player and we worked really hard to do that; well, we’re going to have to do that exact same thing again and see if we can pull it off and slow them down.
(On Dez Bryant) He’s a marvelous player. He can make all the plays; he’s really strong; probably the thing that separates him is his strength cause he’s got terrific speed, he’s got great catching ability, range and etc., but he’s stronger than most guys so guys kind of drip off and like the great catch he made at the end of the game this past week, that’s just muscling through the play because the ball should’ve been knocked out, but he found a way to make a phenomenal catch to set up their win.
(On expectations of Seahawks offensive line) I think we’re still growing. I don’t feel like we have it nailed yet. We’re getting pretty good yardage in the running game and we’re being pretty resourceful to get that done. I think we’ll do better in pass protection as we go, but we’re playing good solid football but with a lot of room for improvement.
(On defense’s miscues on takeaways) Unbelievable; we had three balls that were there just this week: Earl [Thomas] had one; Bobby [Wagner] had one, the fumble that K.J. [Wright] knocked out just this week. Last week, was the same situation; we were three or four balls away from having a big, big day and they were right there for us. So we’re hoping that we’ll keep with it and keep attacking the football; we kind of got this feeling that they comes in bunches so if we can get this thing going, it can really make a big difference cause we’re really playing without the turnover factor in our favor. Offense is doing a marvelous job of taking care of the ball. The running backs; Marshawn [Lynch], the receivers have done a great job, and Russell [Wilson] continues to do a good job. So that part is in line, just hasn’t come our way yet and they’re there so we’ll keep busting trying to make the plays happen.
(On front seven doing anything different to stop the run) No; I do feel like the continuity of our guys, and the familiarity of what we’re trying to get done, Brandon [Mebane] may be playing the best he’s played. He may be at the top of his game right now. Tony [McDaniel] played really well last week too and Kevin [Williams] in his spots; those guys are really strong upfront; they allowed Bobby [Wagner] and K.J. [Wright] to just make all kinds of plays and Bruce [Irvin] was a factor. The whole front group is functioning really well; we’re not doing a lot of special stuff, we’re just trying to play really good base defense and great technique and play really solid ball there. So I think it’s just a continuation a little bit; we’ll see how it goes, we’re just a few weeks into it right now.
(On does he think Bobby Wagner is playing well) He is; he’s making all kinds of things happen. He’s playing with speed, he’s playing physically, and making his hits; just been really on the spot with his fits to a great extent and I think everyone is fitting together. I don’t think there is any one guy, although I think [Brandon] Mebane up front is doing a great job to get the thing started, but everybody’s playing from inside out very well. It’s great to have Kam [Chancellor] there involved too; he’s a terrific run defender to complement the front seven.
(On Malcolm Smith not playing) We wanted to play Bruce [Irvin] and see what happened; he played really well. I think Bruce played about 35 plays in the game; which was really good for bringing him back in and we just went that way in this game plan. Ready to rotate it, but he was doing so well; we left K.J. [Wright] at Will and it worked out fine.
(On Bruce Irvin improvement defending the run) He’s a good edge player. He’s just getting back and getting started again. He’s got good length to him, he strikes real well, his quickness helps him too getting off blocks; he had two or three really magnificent plays on the edge this past week and the speed thing always helps him pursuit, but he’s quick to strike and get into guys too so I’m really excited about the way he played his first time out and he was too; he felt really good about his contribution and we know that he’s going to continue to get better.
(On how much opposing teams using more quick passing game has more affect to slow down sacks) It is to some extent; it isn’t always a factor. Some games quarterbacks are really fast; we’ve played Peyton [Manning] and some of the guys that really get the ball out in a hurry, you just can’t get there. I don’t think we’ve worked together well enough; really our ability to set up the rush, and the rush’s ability to set up faulty play by the quarterback is really where the ball comes out; it’s where you get your plays. It hasn’t happen as much as we like so we’re working at it; we’re close though and it’ll be really cool to get back here at the stadium; we know what we’re doing with our guys now, we have everybody upfront together; you know Bruce [Irvin] will be part of the rush group, and I’m hoping that we can get better and show some improvement and making some things happen.
(On Tyron Smith development at USC camp) When he was 16, he came to camp and he looked like he was 30. He was just a grown man; he was a grown man, physically fit, he was just unbelievably developed as a young guy. At times, we weren’t sure what position he would wind up playing because he was such a marvelous athlete; played tackle and that’s where he wound up of course, but he’s just an amazing athlete. He’s got tremendous proportion to him; he’s lean like a defensive back but just in an oversized body. He’s having a great start to his career; he’s really rolling and it’s great to see him doing it.
(On any concerns about secondary on DeSean Jackson’s corner route) There’s always concern. We’re always tuned into it; that was a magnificent throw and catch. Both Earl [Thomas] and [Byron] Maxwell thought they were going to intercept the ball and it just kept going and he just kept running and they just couldn’t get to it. Again, even going back and studying it, there was nothing they could have done differently but they couldn’t have imagined that the ball could continue to fly. It looks like it just kept going and DeSean [Jackson] made a great play on it.
(On DeSean Jackson’s 1st deep catch) The first one was a coverage situation and the scramble messed us up a little bit. The guy got out and got us stretched a little bit out of whack. Really, Richard [Sherman] was in a half field situation back there that he’s not in very often; it’s a very difficult situation and another great throw to one of the fastest guys you’re going to face; made a play you couldn’t make, but that was a little my fault, I shouldn’t have put him there.
(On Russell Wilson) He played a marvelous football game; he really just did everything a guy could do. We were the beneficiary of a really good plan in terms of the quarterback runs that came off the run game. He didn’t have to do any of that on his own; really stuff was called for him and he had to make the right read and the right option. The scrambles really that’s a whole different story now; throwing play turns into a running play and he was magnificent there. He just got in that flow; he passed up some opportunities to throw the ball because there was so much space to securely run the ball and make a lot of yards and he did a great job with it; that’s not going to be like that every game and it just was this week. He took full advantage of it; he was just right on the money with making great choices and decisions and took care of the football marvelously. Again, gave us a great chance to win.
(On Russell Okung injury) Just like any guy coming out, he’s a little banged up at times. He’s not at his 100%, but he’s plenty good enough to play and he’s doing a good job at busting it. He was going to be behind for a while; he went through the whole off-season of not working and not being able to do the stuff that a normal guy does so I’m hoping that he’ll continue to improve as we go through the middle part of this season.
(On Russell Wilson needing to prove that he can make good decisions when running the ball) If he did, he proved it a long time ago; it wasn’t like this week or anything. He’s demonstrated that he understands and he gets it and he does have a knack; you give him the space out there, he can take it; he knows how to figure that out, maybe better than I can tell you. He’s got a since about it so we put him in a situation where he has a skill, and he’s exercised it really well. It isn’t always going to be like that but the coaches did a nice job in the plan; we lost a couple carries to Marshawn [Lynch] in that game because of it but we were making ten yards a shot so it worked out well and I think it influenced the game pretty much.
(On coaching him on scrambling to throw) No; he came to us like that. He already had that sense about him. We might have amplified how important it is to take care of himself, don’t take chances running the football up in there, and we’ve been real empathic about that since the day he’s got here, but the sense to get out of that one and to find Cooper [Helfet] 30 yards down the field, threw a strike run to his left with a guy pressing him, I think he was doing that back in the days. So that’s just a marvelous part of his make-up and we’ve encouraged our entire offense to play to that; when the play does break down and it does change, we want to kick into the scramble mode and try to really strike you. I think it’s a really good idea to do that and that’s a good example of it; not to mention the other little ones: the one he threw to Luke [Wilson], and the one that he got to Marshawn [Lynch]; those were great plays too. He really came here with that skill.
(On Tharold Simon injury status) Tharold is really getting close. Tharold and Jeremy [Lane] are both racing to get back. Zach [Miller] he’s in the normal process of getting there; it’s going to be a couple weeks past this time but everything is going well so far.
(On Byron Maxwell) I think Maxi’s playing terrific. He’s done a great job; he had one of the best plays in the game, I don’t know if you guys noticed it, on a second down play when he makes a tackle right in front of the sticks when they were backed up; great hit, great tackle to knock him down so we had a third and short situation that we wanted and had a big tackle for loss. He’s doing it on both ends; in the run game and down field. He’s had a lot of plays come his way; had a lot of activity and he’s been up to it.
(On quarterly assessment of team so far) We just finished the first quarter and to be in the top of the fight for the division, that’s a good spot for us. We get to play everybody that’s involved so that will all take care of itself. Really disappointed that we were so far off down in San Diego; that one’s not going away; I’m going to kind of carry that one for a long time because we just weren’t right. All in all, we played a lot of really god football and we’re doing a lot of really good things. I’m really fired up about the kicking game; our ability to play with [Steven] Hauschka; how he’s doing, with the way Jon Ryan is firing it down there and even in our returns and the factor in the return game that Percy [Harvin] has had is marvelous for us. So that’s there; it’s just a lot of really positive things I think that have happened so far and I don’t think we’re showing any wear about last year or any of that kind of stuff; I think we’re all playing football and we’re taking it one big game at a time and focusing in that manner; that was really important to capture that and that doesn’t mean you have it forever but we have it at this point and we’ll prove it again this week by playing well against Dallas. So I think we’re in good shape right now.
(On Marshawn Lynch back injury status) Yes; he went through the walk-thru today. He looked fine.
(On Steve Schilling filling in for Max Unger if Unger can’t go) He’s ready to go. He’s had a great off-season with us. We’ve been really, really excited about his play and so if he gets a chance to play this week, we can expect him to play really well.
(On having quarterback extend plays like this, do you have to teach receivers different tactics) What we do is really emphasize effort. What happens is they start to run a regular play and then something happened and they aren’t quite sure what it is and then okay he’s going one way or another and now they have to bust in to a full speed mode again after already having an extended play. We’re just looking for our guys to just buy into the effort part of that and making themselves available for a big play because we all know it’s happening. Something good is going to happen if they work to get open. It’s just that emphasis. It’s nothing new or different it’s just so obvious to us that we have that factor on our side. So we’re trying to do well with that.
(On Dallas offensive line of young guys maturing at once) No, it hasn’t happened all at once. They’ve been growing. Zack Martin is the new guy this year. You’ve got to admire the commitment that they’ve made. They made an enormous commitment to take three number one picks and go to the offensive line with them. I know they’ve got to be thinking of the great years when they had an incredible offensive line, in the day they were just unbelievable up front and they’ve made that effort to recapture that. They’ve got the X, they’ve got the tailbacks, they’ve got the quarterback, it’s a lot like the formula that they had in years past. I’m sure they’d love to see that come together. It sure looks like it is.
(On using Gary Gilliam as a third tackle) Yeah he did. He’s a part of the plan. We just didn’t go to it in the game. He’s ready to play.
(On the challenge of QB Tony Romo compared to other quarterbacks) It’s much the same as you know you have a guy that can get it done. He can just do it. He can throw for 400 on a day and the games never over when he has a shot. He’s a little different, more mobile. More creative in his ways to find receivers. He can get out of trouble magnificently. He had a great one against JJ Watt. Watt had him dead and somehow he got out. It’s really cool to look at him just barely peek out around the corner of his eye to see him come and how he found a way to do that. That element that he adds to their game you know, in that sense. But he’s big time productive can get it done and as cool as a quarterback can play.
(On if he looked at Zack Martin at all and projected him as a guard) Yeah we didn’t think we’d ever get a shot out of him. But we did look at him. We thought he was a fantastic player.
--And here is offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell:
Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell
October 8, 2014
(On if it was frustrating watching the film knowing how many more points there could have been) Frustrating? I don’t know if that is the right word. But it was concerning. You never want to see that many plays get called back and the penalties are something we need to get a handle on and something we’re looking at to correct.
(On leading the league in penalties last year and winning the Super Bowl, and what the difference is in having a good amount of penalties this year) Well we’re always trying to fight them. We’re not saying they’re okay. Particularly the ones that we always talk about, just the false starts, the ones that aren’t during plays where guys are just going hard. Not those kinds. The ones that really kill you are false starts, illegal procedures, lining up wrong, delay of games, those kinds are the ones that really hurt you.
(On what your reaction is to QB Russell Wilson when he spins out and he sees RB Marshawn Lynch coming open there late in the game) I think we’re used to it now. He’s made such spectacular plays like that before. You never know what’s going to happen. That play or the play where he gets close to the line of scrimmage, backs up, finds Luke [Willson] over there on the right side. I mean they’re just phenomenal plays. We try to coach the play within the play as much as we can but guys have to be able to react the right way. Obviously because Russell [Wilson] is reacting in certain ways and we want the guys to be able to react with him. I mean great play on his part, but great play for everyone else that’s functioning around him as well.
(On if this is a growth thing the more they get used to it) Yeah I think we’re pretty used to it. He has opportunities to do that quite often during the game and we were able to show him on tape. I mean there’s a lot that really goes into it. The offensive line has to react the right way. They’re blocking guys a certain way and then they get an abnormal reaction from a defender, so they have to know not to hold, not to crack back on guys, the receivers need to be able to react with Russell [Wilson]. So there’s a lot that goes into it and the guys are doing a great job with it.
(On if he feels the offense can succeed over the entire season with the quarterback running around) Yes. He does a great job back there. He plays smart. Are we trying to create all those? No we’re not trying to create all those. Some of them work. Obviously they were designed for some of those things to happen but some of the ones on the pass plays, that’s the way he reacts to them. A couple of them there was pressure. You’re not going to have a game quite like that last game each and every week but we’re not going to discourage him from using his legs.
(On how TE Luke Willson held up) He did a great job. I thought Luke [Willson] and Cooper [Helfet] did a really nice job. They were working hard. The back side, they did a great job at protection. When they were able to leak out we did some stuff there. Both of them did a really nice job of holding down that position.
(On how Dallas has statistically been playing much better than last year, and what he’s seen from that) Well the first thing you see on defense is the effort. They’re doing a great job at coaching effort and doing a great job at having their team flying to the ball. They’re playing hard and that’s something that jumps off tape. You can tell they’re coached really well. That’s the first thing that you notice.
(On how big plays are down around the league, and if it is getting any more difficult from an offensive standpoint) I don’t know if it’s any more difficult than ever before, I think it’s pretty the same. There’s always going to be opportunities and always opportunities to be able to take shots. We love to have about eight explosive plays during a game is kind of what we shoot for. I don’t know if it’s any different from any other year how it’s being played.
(On how he feels they’re doing in the explosive category) For our parameters we’re doing okay. We’re always talking about being explosive. You don’t have to be explosive through the air. Our runs are explosive runs as well so we count those for the things we’re looking for. I think we’re doing okay in that area.
(On having WR Percy Harvin a little more involved and what effects it has on the offense lining up) We’re just trying to make it difficult on the defense. ‘Where’s Waldo’ or whatever, we’re just trying to make it difficult on them. We line them up in the slot, we line them up outside, line them up in the backfield. We do many different with them in all those areas. That’s just a piece of it though. We’re moving other guys around within that. Maybe we need to get Jon Ryan and put him back there as well with the run that he had. Just being as versatile as we can with all the guys that we have.
(On if this is still an experimental phase of the offense early in the season and if they’re working towards tightening everything up once they know what they’re best at) I wouldn’t say experimental. This is the wrong time to be doing experiments. The things that we put out there, we’re sound on. That we can handle them. That it will be to our benefit to do those. We’ll kind of move in and out of them. You don’t ever want to have major tendencies. So you want to jump in and out of some of those things that you’re doing and if you do have a tendency, then you need to have some things off of it to break those tendencies. If you have Percy [Harvin] lined up in the backfield, you can’t just have him running routes. You have to change things up a little bit. That’s what we’re working on. I just wouldn’t call it an experiment. That wouldn’t be a good connotation for me.