(Opening… ) I was very pleased with our first game here at Qwest. The crowd was obvious today. We had to challenge them in the preseason, because that wasn’t anything like what happened today.
They factored in, keeping our defense going. This was a very challenging day for us early on. We couldn’t get anything going on offense. Field position was totally weighted in their favor, by their good doings. But, the defense refused to give up a touchdown, and won on fourth down as well, and kept us in the game to give us a chance to find the momentum. All we needed really was one score.
Once that happened we just had a chance. Our guys fed off that the way they played. Offense found their plays. I thought Matt played very well today. His receivers came through. Scheme-wise, we got a couple of good touchdown passes on them. Matt showed off his legs that he developed in the off season, that he owes to the strength and conditioning program. There was just a lot of really good things that happened, and yet, we have a million miles to go. This is our first game, first opportunity.
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We answered the opportunity, but now, we have to go back to work and get stuff right. I’m really fired up about the playmaking that occurred; Matt was part of it on offense, but also just the throwing and the catching. Both Deons made really nice plays; great route by Deon Butler; terrific catch by Deion Branch. Those are special plays for us. When you go to the other side of the ball: When you have a day where they only had 1 out of 15 on third down, that’s a remarkable day by the defense; and a fourth down stop. And not give up the touchdown. I’m really proud of the start, and excited about it, but mostly because we get a win and we still have much to do and accomplish. I hope everybody had a good time and enjoyed it. The crowd was ridiculous for us, and it was really fun.
(On the Seahawks pass rush…) I thought that the rush was pretty obvious all day long We didn’t have to call blitzes to get that done. I can’t pinpoint it, but we had a good push inside. Red had a real nice rush on the sack; caused the fumble that we couldn’t come up with. But it felt like we were close to them all day long. And when we did pressure, there was enough stuff happening on the other end that when we forced some bad throws that led to the third down wins. It was a very good day pass-rush wise. Obviously, it’s a big deal to see that, because we’ve been looking for us. It’s been an emphasis for us. It was hidden very well during preseason, so it’s nice to see it emerge today.
(On the concern after the first few possessions…) On a scale of 1-10? I never do that. Well, nothing had happened for us at all. There wasn’t even anything to gauge yet. We hadn’t even started. It seemed like we started somewhere in the middle of the second quarter; that the game began for us. We have a mentality that we don’t want to get moved by what happened. We couldn’t have had a worse start; other than had they run that ball back. We throw a pick on the first play. I think Matt had a thought that he really wanted to challenge the team, and make sure that we had our back against the wall from the beginning, and so he just gave them one. [laughter] Because that’s what it felt like. The lessons are really strong for us that you just hang. The defense hung in there and gave us a chance until we finally got something going and scored and then we scored again, and before you know it we’re getting out there and getting a good game together. We’ve talked about it so much. It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish, and this is one of those cases. The interception didn’t affect Matt one bit. He came right back and started hitting his stuff and getting third down wins, and had a very, very good game for us.
(On what he said to Hasselbeck after the interception…) I was proud of the fact that I said absolutely nothing to him. I did a great job of not talking to him. Jeremy had already talked to him, and Jedd had talked to him; and he’s ok. If it happened again I might make my way over there. If I would have talked to him, now that I’ve had a chance to think about it, I would have supported him. “Let’s go, let’s forget about it, it’s one of those lessons that we learn. How you come back is what’s important.” He did it anyway, on his own.
(On the touchdown run by Hasselbeck…) He had the opportunity to run on that play and he had guys in the endzone to throw to, and he just made the choice. It’s
(On the play of the offensive line…) I thought the pass protection was really solid. Matt had time to move, he had some ability to get to his second and third guys, and I think we got beat one time outside, but outside of that I thought the group worked really well. Gibby went down and Ben came in and did a nice job of filling in. It’s just a start for us, we’re just getting going; we have a long long ways to go, and many areas of improvement. But that has been pretty solid throughout with the first group.
(On Mike Gibson’s injury…) He has a lower back strain. They thought he could go back in, but Ben was doing all right, so the better choice was to hold him out and not do any further damage to him.
(On whether anything in his football experience that was similar to today…) This is a big game. There are tons of beginnings, but now that it’s over, it’s a nice game, but it doesn’t mean that much; it’s already done. To have the opportunity emotionally to enjoy it like that in the locker room with these guys that have worked so hard, that have been listening to my stuff all this time. For them to feel the benefits and the rewards, it was very pleasing in that regard. The crowd is such a good place. It’s such a good stadium to play in. I know that they got a little quiet in the fourth quarter, when they got more comfortable with it. But we love to keep them cranking all the way through the fourth quarter. It’s very much like –you think of the college game, but this was louder. This was crazier than places like that.
(On the Seahawks defense…) They did a nice job of mixing and matching the throwing the game, but the running game played really well. I don’t know what Frank had, but I thought we held him down pretty well today. They want to run the football; we felt pretty good with our base stuff, which is really a big deal to us. We’ve made a transition here in the way we play up front from how they’ve played in the last couple of years. Things worked out well against what we think is a very good running team. That’s where it always starts; it starts there. We stayed on top and didn’t give up any big plays in the throwing game. They kind of pecked around us pretty nicely, I think they did a good job of throwing underneath, and that’s how they kept getting those second and twos and threes, and it kept their drives moving. But after a while we settled in and I thought Gus did a great job of staying with the game plan and making it work.
(On stopping Frank Gore…) I think we played really good base defense today. We didn’t have to pressure a lot, we didn’t hit many runs with many pressures; it was really base stuff and that’s a big deal to us. When you can play good base defense against the run, then that helps you in so many ways, not just the run game. It’s what we had hoped we would see after all of this time together and so we’re pleased with that.
(On the Seahawks run game…) The fact that we had the good drive for the field goal I thought was a really good statement for us; that we were able to make the first downs and all that. We loved to see the balance in our attack, and we’re going to continue to work for that. When we’re right, we’re going to be a balanced run and pass team. So, we’ll keep working at it. But, that doesn’t mean you get it all early. It’s when the game’s over that you know that you’ve pretty much evened it out.
There’s nothing more fun for offensive line and coaches and a team than to keep that football and grind that clock and take it on down. We’ll hopefully be able to knock that one in and finish the drive off, but it was probably the best statement of the day, of all of preseason too, that we at least moved the ball and when we had to run it and they had to stop us, we were able to make some first downs. We’ll see, we’re just starting; just getting rolling.
(On Earl Thomas…) He didn’t have a very good preseason, tackling, I didn’t think. But he is a really good tackler. He was trying too hard, he was trying to blow guys up, and he was over anxious and stuff, so we’ve been working hard to try to keep him calmed down; to recognize the situation and make situational tackles. He’s going to be really good at it, because he’s as good an athlete as you can be back there. I don’t really know how he tackled today, but if he did a good job, then he’s on the come, and we’re trying to fix some things for him so that he can do that. I think he’s going to be very special in that area. He should be as hard to beat in the open field as anybody.
(On Mike Williams…) I thought that Mike played a good solid game. He had one ball that got away from him, but in general he played a good solid football game, and gave us the big X position that we wanted. Mike’s just getting started. We had so many first time things happening to us; it’s going to take us quite a while to really figure out what we’ve got. But, Mike had a good first game.
(On leaving Golden Tate inactive…) It’s always is [a numbers decision]. I would have loved to have Golden active, and we didn’t get that done and we didn’t play him this first time out. But, I’m really hoping that we’re able to do that in the weeks ahead and he’s got a lot of good stuff for us. He’s still growing and learning and the other four guys that came up, the way it situated for this game, it was the best way to go.