Seahawks Insider Blog

Carroll on the NFC title game: 'I’m grateful that it’s coming from our division'

Here's most of what Pete Carroll had to say Monday:

(Opening...) Well it’s been a long year here to get to this point and its one that’s been really fun for us, exciting, and it’s really a thrill to bring a championship game to CenturyLink and to our fans. The 12s are deserving and they’re ready for it and excited about it as we are and I think this matchup is exactly what everybody is looking for and it’s an exciting one with a lot of background and I’m grateful that it’s coming from our division. I think our division really made a statement this year about how good we were and a lot of losses came within the division. So when you look at it, this is a fantastic matchup, with a great opportunity for both teams, and we’re really thrilled about going for it and love that it’s coming home.”

(On how he alters his preparation after playing against the 49ers for the third time...) “You just dig in. You dig in with the preparation and with the knowledge that you have. We’re all going to really try and find all of the edges that we can and there’s a great chess match with coaches on both sides, both teams. It just makes it exciting and it’s really… it’s a great challenge. It’s really the best of the best opportunities for coaches because you know you got great guys on their staff and great guys on our staff and we’re going to try and figure things out and see how this all affects the game. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us as coaches.”

(On if there is a danger of over-thinking this game...) “Sure. Sure yeah. It’s always too much. You could do too much and you miss the points of emphasis that are really important playing good, fundamental football and stuff like that can happen. So that’s my biggest concern is doing too much in the game planning. So we have to guard against that and we have a lot of checks and balances to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

(On how he keeps his players focused for this game, considering that the Seahawks have a chance to play in the Super Bowl with the win...) “Well this is really one step closer to really the ultimate goal here and the discipline and the standards that we have set for the way that we prepare every week is really what we kick into and we utilize at this time so that we don’t miss the point of how to prepare and be right on the right emphasis and all that. So we are a disciplined group about that. Our language is really solid. You’ll hear from these guys, they know. They understand what this is all about. This now is truly an NFC Championship opportunity for us. So it’s really, in that regard, it’s not different than the preparations that we’ve called for in other games. We hopefully will find our best as we go through this and the whole design of the mentality and the language and all the things that we talked about is to get us ready for this opportunity, this moment.”

(On Russell Wilson’s performance...) “I think he’s doing great. I think he’s doing what we need to do in these games. We can always do better. He’s very concerned about leading us in the way that keeps our philosophy intact, which is take care of the football and he’s done a great job of that and he’s done that all year long. We’re always looking for more and he is too and all that. But as long as our football team is playing well and we’re playing within the formula and we’re playing good defense, we’re running the football, we’re playing on teams, and we’re taking care of the ball and getting it, we’re going to have a really good chance to win and that’s what’s most important to us. It’s not about the stats and all that. We didn’t put a lot of yards against these guys when we played them at home and we didn’t put up a lot yards against the Saints to get our win. That has nothing to do with what’s important, as far as the game is concerned.”

(On if he’s thought Russell Wilson has ever been too cautious at any point...) “No. No I really haven’t.”

(On if he’s heard anything about Percy Harvin's injury status...) “No not yet. We’ll wait through the week here and see what happens. Wednesday and Thursday will be the important days to figure out what’s going on.”

(On if the concussion the only injury that he has to worry about...) “Yes.”

(On if Percy’s hip is okay…) “Yeah. Yeah he came out very well. Yeah we’re way ahead of the game on that one. Good question.”

(On what allows Doug Baldwin to make the spectacular catches that he has made...) “He’s really a clutch performer and he’s just had so many significant plays in difficult situations. We’ve seen him just on the sidelines so many times come up with great catches, in the back of end zone and stuff. He just has that knack for him. He’s a great competitor, he’s got a tremendous focus on battling and fighting and clawing and scratching. He comes through and works for him in really crucial moments. So he’s just been clutch for us and we need him a couple of more times.”

(On if he could see Doug Baldwin making those unbelievable catches immediately or did his catching abilities develop overtime…) “No I think we had to come to appreciate him. I think in the middle of his rookie year, when he was getting a lot of play and making things happen, we started to realize that he’s… he had some numbers behind it. He really demonstrated a lot of big third down catches and things like that. So it kind of grew on us and we had really liked him. I had liked him in college and John [Schneider] had really liked him coming out and all that because he had been a tough competitor and all, but we didn’t have the depth of that that we do now.”

(On if K.J. Wright has a chance to play in the NFC Championship game...) “K.J. Wright has a chance yeah. We’re going to take a look at him on Wednesday. He ran well today and over the weekend. So today, he ran and he’ll get a rest day tomorrow and then he’ll come back out Wednesday and we’ll see where he is. He has a chance. We’re excited about that for him.”

(On if he sees this game as a rivalry game like the fans...) “I think it’s natural for everybody to see it that way and I wouldn’t want to disrespect any aspect of that on other people’s views. For us, we treat all of these games the same and we look at the opponent, hopefully, with the ultimate respect and our preparation demonstrates that and our performance on game day shows that. That’s our language, that’s how we talk. So the last thing I’m looking for is something else to get fired up about. We don’t need that here. We need to stay on track with what’s going on and perform through the preparation and let this process work for us and we’ve proven that over the years that that’s the way to do this. To stay steadily and in touch with each opportunity as they come along. So that’s how we do it. It’s just a different way that we look at it than maybe some other people do.”

(On if Jim Harbaugh had the same approach of game play when he coached at Stanford...) “Yeah. Yeah they’ve showed real concern for running the football then. They’re very good at it. I don’t remember back to the San Diego days, but I know that there it was very similar and it’s in his makeup. This is the way that he wants to play football, based on his years past.”

(On if the extra day helps with going through the concussion protocols with Percy...) “Certainly. Yes it does and we’ll see what happens. But we’re going to treat this with… We’re going to respect the heck out of this and we’re going to take care of Percy and make sure that we do the right thing. We’re not going to stress the limits on this at all. We have to be very careful here. So we’ll do that every step of the way.”

(On Percy Harvin's performance...) “Shoot he looked good. He looked good. He was making some plays. Saw Russell [Wilson] go to him, he got three balls and he could’ve had five and a couple of big opportunities. It’s just unfortunate that he got out there and got hammered a couple of times. I thought those were legitimate plays and all that, but just unfortunate for him in trying to make his comeback and get out there.”

(On what went into the decision when starting Michael Bowie...) “It was competition. Really it was competition. Mike [Michael Bowie] had done a lot of good things. We think he’s a fine athlete, he’s shown poise and smarts and all that in the nine starts that he had, with the two weeks. So we said, ‘Let’s give him a shot and take a look at it.’ So we started in the bye week and carried it through and he did a nice job.”

(On if he's always projected Michael Bowie playing guard…) “I think we thought that he had some flexibility there. He’s such a big kid that he could be a tackle. He seems very comfortable at guard though.”

(On if Michael Bowie will start against the 49ers...) “You’ll have to wait and see.”

(On if the officials not throwing as many flags during the playoffs can be considered as an advantage for the Seahawks because of the physical style that the Seahawks’ defense plays with...) “I don’t that. I don’t know if it’s going to be an advantage or not. It’ll be equal I’m sure. I was really fired that we didn’t have any penalties on the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball last week and that has nothing to do with officials, that had to do with us and maybe there’s something about that. In playoff time, you get better focus and guys even at their very best, but not counting on that and not really looking at that in any way that’s going to help us or hurt us.”

(On Anquan Boldin and Michael Crabtree…) “They’re really good. They’ve been very, very consistent for a weeks and weeks now, and they play the same style of football with similar results. Their numbers have been very, very consistent. Really both Crabtree and Boldin are really good catchers and they utilize the heck out of those guys. They’ve had big days and they kind of traded off when they do, and they are two big targets. They have other players too that catch the football, but those are the focus guys for them. Their attributes of their catching ability is really what’s so obvious. They have great range and they’re very physical and Colin Kaepernick is finding them all over the field in all different kinds of styles of throws and routes and all of that. It poses a big challenge for us.”

(On Steven Hauschka…) “He’s had a fantastic season. He’s had just an incredible season and he’s been so consistent. Under those conditions obviously, look what happened on their side of the ball, it was a great performance by him. We all recognized that in the team meeting today that Hauschka has continued to be just money for us. When we say ‘Hausch Money’ you know what we’re talking about.”

(On if it's a challenge to not put too much emphasis on the NFC Championship…) “I think it’s always a challenge. This week is no different from any other week to me. This is the ultimate challenge I have, is to keep our focus on what’s going on right now so that we can have a really good Wednesday. That’s what we need to do at this point. This is championship time, the preparation leads all to this point right here, and then we’ll start all over again in a couple of weeks if we’re fortunate enough. I think it’s natural that there are issues to be dealt with in the talk about that.”

(On if the 49ers are built to contend with the Seahawks…) “I think our whole division has demonstrated that. These guys are a terrific football team, and there are a lot of teams that are worthy. We’ve had some tough matches and they certainly are. I don’t know if they’re the best. I don’t know that.”

(On what the officials have said about the fumble caused by Michael Bennett…) “Yeah I wish I would have [challenged it]. Even at this point right now I don’t know from what the looks that we’ve seen exactly if they could’ve called him down. With that bit of uncertainty, with the opportunity to take the ball away from them, I wish know that I would’ve done it anyway. I’ve done it a few times this year, opportunities where we could get the ball in exchange, and to me it’s worth the timeout if you get that turnover. Our information told us that he was down, and that the immediate recovery was in question, which is all true. All of that could’ve been true, but I would like to put it on the officials to take another look at it just to compete for the football. We might not have won that under the circumstances, but looking back I like to have gone for it instead of not.”

(On if it was a challengeable play…) “It was a challengeable play. The fifteen yard penalty that occurred was after the fact. So it would’ve been our possession and the penalty would’ve been assessed as it was.”

(On the hits Percy Harvin received from the Saints' defense being legitimate hits…) “I think the guy was doing the best he could. They flagged him and I thought that was legit, and they didn’t flag the guy on the other one and I thought that was legit.”

(On how Jim Harbaugh's coaching has evolved…) “I think he’s evolved with the talent that he has and the players that he has and kind of natural fashion. I think he does a really good job of utilizing the guys on his team, and I think he did it back then in his Stanford days too. He had a lot of great linemen in those days and he used a bunch of them. Now you can see how they adapt when they have their skill guys in order and all of that, and how the ball goes where it’s supposed to go, and how they use Frank Gore and the quarterback movement. You’ve watched them progress in trying to figure out what is right for their guys, and I think they zeroed in on it in great fashion.”

(On when he first met Jim Harbaugh…) “I think it would go back to maybe when we were playing at Soldier Field, we really didn’t meet at that time, I was coaching the New York Jets, we really didn’t meet, but we had a good game one night against those guys, and I kind of remember him back then. It might’ve been when he was at the Colts and he was running around crazy trying to win games there and doing a pretty good job of it, but it was way before. He did recruit my son to go to the University of San Diego. I wasn’t there for the home visit though, Glena took that one.”

(On what he told his son about playing at University of San Diego…) “I didn’t get that far; he was going to USC.”(On if he saw a divisional rivalry begin to develop when he coached for USC and Jim Harbaugh coaching at Stanford…) “No, I wasn’t thinking about that at that time, but I’m not surprised that Jim has done such a good job coaching though. He’s shown in every opportunity that he’s had that he’s got great Core principles. His dad was a great football coach as well, I used to coach against Jack Harbaugh back in the day in the Big Ten, and knowing him for a long time, he was raised as a coaches kid, he demonstrated the savvy as a competitor as a player, and it translated in his coaching quite obviously. It’s obvious with John Harbaugh too. Both of those guys are great football coaches.”

(On if the success of him and Jim Harbaugh coaching changed the social stigma that college coaches can't transition to the NFL…) “There is always a question about that, can a college guy coach in the NFL. That continues to be asked, and if a guy has had an NFL background then I think it makes an enormous difference. Jim’s had years that he’s played in the league and I think just that connection with the league level has a lot to do with understanding what you’re getting into. You guys don’t remember, but I coached in college for ten or eleven years, then I coached in the NFL for 16 years, and then I went back to college for nine years. So this transition was not a transition for me. I was always asked that question, and it wasn’t a transition, I just started coaching here. For guys who have never been in the league there is a bigger challenge there in that regard. It doesn’t mean they can’t do it, of course they can, and I think it’s cool that a lot of guys have had success doing it. Hopefully if we’ve added to that then it’s great for the opportunity for those guys coming out of college ball. I do think there is a significant asset there when you been in the league for a number of years and you have a sense for it. Not that it gives you any answers or anything, it just makes it a little easier to transition and get rolling on it.”

(On if there are any other injuries…) “No.”

(On Frank Gore and if there's anything unique about the 49ers running game…) “Frank Gore had a great run the last time we played. It was a 50 yard run he had. They were running the ball okay in that game, they were competitive and all of that, and then they busted one that changed the game and gave them all of the numbers and all of that stuff. It’s a great job by them and unfortunately we didn’t get it down so it put them in field goal range and the game was at hand there and the clock became the issue. He did it again the other day, he busted one again. He’s really capable, he’s a fantastic runner, he’s got great sense, and he’s got as good a sense in the line of scrimmage as anybody that’s playing in the game. If you make a mistake he takes advantage of it, and he certainly did that against us, that’s exactly what happened.”

(On Marshawn Lynch's performance…) “He’s on it. He feels great; his body is in great shape. I was just watching him today in the walk thru and we’re really just so grateful that he feels so good right now. He’s physically in great shape, he’s really taking care of himself, and the trainers and everybody has done a great job of managing him through the season. It’s enormous challenge for these guys physically to take it on and he still looks fast and quick and ready to go again.”