The snap counts from the win over the Rams on Sunday show how much more 285-pound fullback Will Tukuafu played -- on defense, too. He's proving to be a find since the Seahawks signed him off waivers from San Francisco midseason. Coach Pete Carroll praised his uniqueness yesterday.
"It’s such a rare accomplishment for anybody for it to happen. You can’t remember guys that can do stuff like this," Carroll said. "He’s really good at it; he does a nice job. His effect has been obvious from the beginning. A 285 pound fullback? That’s pretty cool. And he lays the wood.
"I know he was up there talking to Sherm [running backs coach Sherman Smith]. He wants more carries. That as well as he contributes on special teams, he plays defense for us. We work him right into the rotations when we need him. That’s unique. He’s a remarkable kid. He’s really fit in well, he’s tough as nails, and he’s really been a great addition. He’s just right in the style of guys we like to have in the program."
With Jermaine Kearse out with a hamstring injury -- the Seahawks expect him to be back for their Jan. 10 playoff opener -- rookie wide receiver Kevin Norwood went from inactive the week before at Arizona to playing almost two-thirds of the snaps on offense.
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Here is all of what Carroll had to say in what will be his only public comments this week:
Head Coach Pete Carroll
December 29, 2014
(Opening) Well it took us an entire season to finally get it done. We finally only had two penalties. I think it started –we made the turn last week at the Arizona game, at the halftime where we had ten in the first half and bounced back with one and we made the turn. It’s a big improvement. We’ll keep working on that to get that down to none one time.
(On what point in the game he realize there was only a couple penalties) Well they out-penalized us in that one. It’s only happened a couple times this year, so we’re really happy to see that. I had a little clicker in my pocket.
(On what the secret was for the penalties) I wish I knew. No, we knew we needed to play smart in this game and fortunately we made a lot of good decisions, and guys made some great choices and really for us, the bare minimum. In a tight game which it was it could make a difference. I think it did help us. It really helped us in this game.
(On this week) Yeah, this is bye week. It’s really a bye week for us and what does that mean? Well for us, it’s fundamentals. We want to really see if we can get better and get rested as well. We’re going to take full advantage of the rest time but we’re still going to have good meetings today, two really good days of work, and we’ll gain a little advantage on the Monday work when we come back. We’re going to stress the things that give you the best chance to win, which is blocking and tackling and doing those things really well and hopefully by the time we get to game week we’ll have improved a little bit.
(On Jordan Hill) We’ll see. He’s got a chance in a couple weeks we’ve got to see how it goes, it wasn’t such that he’s out or anything like that. Both he and Jeron [Johnson] have the chance to make it back with really good fortune that could happen.
(On Tharold Simon, Max Unger, and others that were out) Those guys will all come running back at us this week. We’ll get a little surge there and it will be good to see those guys come back. Coop [Cooper Helfet] will get back as well. Those are really important additions to the roster in the competition game roster coming up for in the week to follow.
(On K.J. Wright) Yeah he dislocated his finger, you know, he had a bad dislocation but he’ll be okay.
(On the offense finishing in the top ten and what were the biggest things that happened in terms of production) I think the thing that stands out the most is I think the coaches did a really good job of developing the backup guys. So that when the time came for them to be called on, we didn’t lose anything. We didn’t have the continuity in the offensive line much of the year and I think time did a great job fitting guys together and making it work. We led the league in rushing and that’s hard to do that. A lot of guys played and a lot of guys contributed. I think that kind of across the board was the fact that the coaches continued to develop everybody on the roster and so that when they were called to play they’d fit in and they excelled and there’s numerous examples of that and we were very fortunate. I think it’s also a statement about John’s (Schneider) work on the roster to make sure we have great depth and all of that. But we lost a lot of guys, I think we had 16 or so guys who were injured reserve during the course of the year here and that’s like the teams that had the most – that’s up in there somewhere so we weren’t free of injury but we had very good fortune with the guys stepping up and making plays and the young guys coming through. It showed again in yesterday’s game too.
(On how Jordan Hill’s improvement over the season has helped in the later season) He really did because he really caught on late in the year to become a more effective--he took over that role that [Clinton] McDonald did last year and we had hoped that he could contribute like that and they wound up with same five and a half sacks for the year which was pretty cool. You know, it worked out. It would be a big deal if we don’t have him. He’s really become a good part of the four man rush.
(On Jermaine Kearse) He should be fine. He’ll be fine. We’ll make sure that this is a good productive week. We won’t test him to the point where we re-injure. We want to make sure he gets through this week. But he’s coming back which there should be no question by next week.
(On Demarcus Dobbs) He’s getting close to being able to work this week. By the next week we think he should be in full flow. All those guys you’ve mentioned, five-six guys, coming back to us will really help us. It’ll be making those decisions much more difficult on the roster when it comes to game time, but that’s a really good thing.
(On Richard Sherman’s ankle treatment photo) He’s okay.
(On having such an early bye in the season, how crucial this bye week is) It’s huge. It’s a huge advantage. Just all over health purpose. The rest is important but we’re playing fast at the end of the year right now and our energy is there and we look like we’re midseason form in that regard, so I don’t have any problem with that. But it’s really the injury factor. We’ll be a little bit fresher which is really plus this time of year so of course it works out very well. The best part about it is coming home though – where we are. It’s not so much the rest. It’s playing at home.
(On what he’s seen from Earl Thomas) He has been more consistent than he has ever been. He’s been at his best. As it happens you know, when you gain the notoriety and the respect is demonstrated by the fact the ball doesn’t go your way, he doesn’t see much but that’s a big, big plus for us. That means that post routes and seam routes don’t happen again. That’s huge because that’s how people score the most in the league with the throwing game. So he’s been a huge factor. He had 11 tackles yesterday. The play of the day is the ball he knocks out with an inch to go at the goal line. He’s taking great pride in continuing to develop. He just will not rest until he gets better and he keeps working at it on a daily basis and week to week. It’s hugely important to him that he’s growing as a player and he’s done that. He’s a fantastic aspect of our team.
(On how much teams not challenging helps) I think the numbers came out. We led the league in pass defense. I think it’s a big factor and when you have corners that can make plays –like Maxy [Byron Maxwell] had another terrific game for us and we’ve had Richard [Sherman] for years just being such a factor, it all fits together. I think we had the fewest explosive plays this year which those are the kinds of things we’re looking at now to see where we stand. That’s hugely told by the story that’s going on in the back end. Those guys, eliminating long runs and then catches and runs, just the deep balls in general. This is a passing league. People throw the ball over the yard and our guys are great back there.
(On Paul Richardson getting more chances, into it, or something else) It’s more opportunities for sure. I think he’s had 10 balls in the last two games which is great contribution. Like I said before, variety of routes that he runs and things that he’s doing for us. It’s really just opportunity. He’s better now than he was earlier in the year of course. He’s much more comfortable with what we’re asking him to do. Russell [Wilson] is really comfortable with him. Russ [Wilson] really can feel him on his routes. They’ve timed up a lot of things lately in the last month or so that have looked really high class for us. So we’re really growing with him and we think we’ve got a really good player there.
(On what made the run defense better) Continuity – just believing in the system and scheme and guys taking great pride in it. That’s a fantastic number to it, being in that range again is so hard to do that. Just the overall performance and consistency of this consistency over the last two three years time has really –it’s been remarkable that we’ve been able to do that. It’s the players and it’s the coaches doing a good job. The scheme has worked out well for us. We’re very simple in what we do and we do it very well. Tony [McDaniel] did a terrific job again. I think probably one of the biggest surprises he asked about would have been Kevin [Williams]. Kevin [Williams] is playing so well. Replacing Brandon [Mebane], how would we ever think that that could happen. But he’s that kind of player, and he came through. He transitioned to a new spot and all and the later part of this year, the Kansas City game was his first start, and from that point on we’ve really been on fire and he’s really been a big part of that. I think it’s really consistency, continuity, belief in the scheme, players take great pride in it and really good players doing it.
(On bringing Kevin Williams here) He’s been around. He’s been a three technique and a five technique much more. A lot of three technique stuff. Fundamentally there’s a lot of things that are similar. There’s your footwork, the steps that you take, your hand placement and all of that -- they’re similar. Scheme-wise, that’s a little bit different. He’s such a savvy player that it just made sense to him because he’s been around so long. I don’t think he’s played a whole lot there though. When you’re playing nickel you’re getting knocked around to those spots so it’s not that unfamiliar but yet the burden of playing the running game that we’re getting attacked with and the consistency of that and the scheme that happens there, he’s still getting going, he’ll get better, he’ll still improve.
(On if he has heard of any interest in Dan Quinn) Yeah we have. What we’d like to do is let the teams who are doing their work speak for who they’re talking to and all that so we don’t have to address that in that regard. But there have been the calls coming in and the requests and stuff like that.
(On the first defense to lead the league in scoring defense three straight years and if that holds any special meaning to him – hasn’t been done since the Vikings “Purple People Eaters”) Yeah. I think it’s a real point of pride that that kind of consistency is rare. When you matchup with a team who has a nickname like that it’s pretty good stuff. Having been an old Viking, I take a little extra pride in that. That was great time for them and the defense that they played. Great regard for those guys who played for all those years. There was a point he would say that they started the same 11 guys for seven straight years. If you can imagine that in this day and age, that’s where they got their nickname because they played together so long and were so good at it – Bob Holloway and all those guys. I think it’s a pretty significant stat.
(On thoughts on Coach Harbaugh not being in the division anymore) (Smiling) Yeah, it’s good he’s out of here in that regard. He was tough. We wish him the very best. He had a fantastic run in this division. He meant a lot to us building up a little reputation of being a hard-nosed, tough division. I’m sure they’ll make a great replacement and all that kind of stuff. He was tough to go against, we enjoyed it.
(On if he thinks this has been Marshawn Lynch’s best season) Yeah, I do. I think he’s been on his game most consistently. Unfortunately the last couple weeks he’s had issues with getting started and all that. But his production is really good. His pass catching has been really good. Seventeen touchdowns they said, that’s a fantastic football season and I think I’ve been saying it all year long this is the best I’ve ever seen him, most consistent and all that and he carried it all the way through the whole schedule and did a great job.
(On Will Tukuafu playing both sides of the ball) It’s such a rare accomplishment for anybody for it to happen—you can’t remember guys that can do stuff like this. He’s really good at it—he does a nice job. His effect has been obvious from the beginning—285 pound fullback? That’s pretty cool and he lays the wood. I know he was up there talking to Sherm [Sherman Smith], he wants more carries. That as well as he contributes on special teams, he plays defense for us—we work him right into the rotations when we need him—that’s unique. He’s a remarkable kid—he’s really fit in well, he’s tough as nails, and he’s really been a great addition. He’s just right in the style of guys we like to have in the program.
(On pros and cons of the six inch punch) It’s a technique of striking that is used in a lot of aspects of the animal kingdom we’ve found. So whether it’s a kangaroo or a ram head butting, we look for that six inch punch, and we found it even significant in shoulder punching as well, which I know is a unique term and phrase that you don’t know anything about.
(On the purpose of the six inch punch) We try to knock the ball out or strike when you hit people. We’re a shoulder tackling football team—there’s an ability to strike with your shoulder that adds an additional punch so it’s not just the punch you would think with your fist, we’re attacking the football all the time—a perfect example of Bobby [Wagner] doing it on the ball that he knocked out that we scored a touchdown on. Earl [Thomas] went a little more opened handed with his six inch punch—kind of the karate chop thing that knocked the ball out down by the goal line, but those are both prime examples of the power of the six inch punch.
(On this season being more gratifying because of the injuries and drama) It’s been quite gratifying because of the challenge of answer the Super Bowl accomplishment. When I went into this year with the thought that this is a very unique chance at showing that you can handle all of that—it’s been difficult for people and the history of it shows you that it’s hard to come back and get yourself back into this kind of position again. So this is exactly where we’d hoped we would be right now—it’s precisely where we hoped we would be. So that’s something that we’ve accomplished—it’s rewarding to this point. We can start all over now—now it’s the post season. Then, there were some stuff—every season there’s some issues. Every coach is always faced with challenges, hurdles, and obstacles and how you deal with them and come out of them is what’s important. We had a big change that we made during the year, we’ve responded, and we’ve improved since then—whether that had something to do with it, I don’t know, but we were challenged. We were challenged with injuries; we were challenged with matchups, and rivalries and I’m really proud that we’ve made it to this point. We had a lot of work that we had to do.
(On the benefit of trading Percy Harvin) I think we returned to the strength of knowing our guys, how to use them, and how to implement their strengths. We always talk about unique qualities that players have, and we may have lost connection with some of that. I think Doug [Baldwin] has really come to life, I think the way we have used the tight ends have really come to life for us. Jermaine [Kearse] has been a big factor throughout the year. We’ve seen the young receivers in Paul [Richardson] and Kevin [Norwood] helping us. All of those things, we rediscovered the things that had been good to us that we had just fallen out of somewhat. So it helped us in many ways.
(On trading Percy Harvin bring cohesiveness to the team) I don’t think that had anything to do with it at all. I think the fact that we weren’t playing very well, we weren’t connecting with our best was really what was there and we had to rediscover what that was and that was about playing for one another. As simple as that sounds, that was a huge transformational realization for us. We figured out something that was really key and it became what you see—you saw it.
(On winning the Super Bowl have an effect on the next season) There is an effect yes—there’s an obvious effect because you’re unique in what you’ve done and we addressed it from the first meeting we got back here and we did—we figured it out, it just took us a long time. It just took us longer than we would like, but the thing that happened this year just happened in different order than it did last year. Last year we started really fast and then we took a swoon and we got back going again. This year, we had trouble getting started and we left those three games out there, and we lost them. Then we came back and won a bunch from that point. I was hoping that that was going to be the case that those were the issues and we’ll see if we can get back on track, and we were and we did. There is a factor and I think it’s a positive factor, not a negative factor, it’s a positive factor—we’ve been there before. We’ve been through this now so hopefully it’ll make us stronger as we go forward.
(On how difficult is it to recapture the chemistry) I think every team is faced with it every year. It’s not just you got it and you have it from now on—you have to get connected to reach in to bring out your best—those around you really help draw that. There’s greater power in a group and as you stand alone, you can only go so far, but when you mix and you interact and create the inspiration for other people—it’s all of that; that’s where the great power comes from. We listened very carefully to Bill Russell—he spoke very carefully about team and what the important aspects of understanding of how to play at your best and he talked about loving your teammates. It couldn’t be more true—we heard it, we knew what the message was, we just hadn’t connected with it yet and playing for one another is powerful than we ever knew so that’s it.
(On Jeron Johnson and Jordan Hill making it back in time) We won’t practice those guys (this) week—those will be guys that will benefit from the week and take the week off from that because of rehab, but we’ll wait until we loop around to next week for those guys. They were hurt significantly and they need to see if that time will allow to get back, but we don’t know—they’re not out at this point.
(On buying in being easier for new players after the success the team has had) I think that’s dictated by the leadership—I think it’s the guys on the team that lead. There’s really a significant thing that Paul Richardson said on a radio interview that he realized the leadership and what they stood for and he mentioned Kam [Chancellor], Earl [Thomas], and Richard [Sherman]—how they had shown him what this was all about and what it was like to be a real man in the NFL. I think that’s where the connection comes from when you have guys that can live it and demonstrate it on a regular basis to the point where it’s obvious to the younger guys that, ‘Ok, I want to be more like them.’ Paul made a real clear declaration of that and I think it was real significant. I think he helped other guys realize that too when you talk about buying in.
(On having leaders that are so young an unusual thing) I think so—they’re really young players. I don’t know how many of our guys are 5th year guys yet but that’s kind of a mark but we’re just getting there. There is a lot of optimism for the future because of the youth of our team and the continuity that we think we’re developing by re-signing our guys and keeping it together as best as we can. It’s a lot of excitement about down the road and what’s next and big draft class coming up and adding to it and the competition that would generate will only make us better so a lot of good stuff happening.
(On Russell Wilson) It’s not been a topic that people have brought up about how tough Russell is—there’s not a tougher competitor that we have on our team and we’ve got some real tough guys here. Russell would go through anything to play for these guys—he would do whatever it absolutely took and he would do it and he happens to have the power of discretion. He knows when to and when not to that really allows him to maintain his health and stay out there on the field, but there’s nobody that would work harder or try harder, do more for you, or play more for the guy next to you than he would, and I think he’s tough as nails. He’s not going to tell you when things are bothering him, he’s just going to make it through it and we have to really work hard with him because he’s just so tough-minded about making sure that he’s always going to be available for his opportunities and he hasn’t missed very much and hopefully he can keep going in that same manner.
(On Russell Wilson saying he doesn’t want to miss a practice in his career and if that surprises him at all) I’m not surprised he said that. I’m not surprised. That’s how he is and who he is and that’s my guess –if you gave me a chance I’d say he probably would say. He really doesn’t miss anything. He doesn’t miss a rep. It started in the beginning, we should have known when he took five hundred passes in minicamp or whatever that was as a rookie, he didn’t miss a snap there so he’s just continued being that throughout.
(On Robert Turbin’s season) Robert has done very well. He’s been very consistent. He looked great in the game the other day, yesterday and continues to try to maximize his options. He’s a great kid, a great practice guy, great study guy, does everything you want him to do, he’s a great guy. I think he’s played very well.
(On if there was a time he wanted Russell Wilson to dial it back and he wouldn’t) No. No, I haven’t done that yet. It hasn’t happened.
(On six straight games without giving up a point in the fourth quarter, and if there’s anything important defensively about being ahead in the fourth quarter) You have more opportunities to get the ball away from your opponent. That’s certainly the case. They’re more one-dimensional and the throwing game is part of the deal and that shows you can rush more, you can adjust your coverages more directly to the throwing game and not have to take care of the running game. That certainly helps you. That’s always been the case when you start to add up the turnovers, it happened yesterday again and that’s generally what you count on. I think that’s a really cool stat too though. I love that stat. Fourth quarters in these games that man will score. It’s about finishing and that’s something we take great pride in.