Here's most of what Russell Wilson said Friday:(On playing a big game against the Saints this late into the season...)
“Well you know like I always say, ‘Every game is a big game’, that’s the way I look at it. It doesn’t change for me or any guy on our team but I think the biggest thing for us is that’s what we expect, that’s what we hope for. We hope for big time games, big match ups that mean a lot. A lot of possibilities with this game and then so one of the things that you focus on is just having a great week of practice, focus on the fundamentals. Coming back from the bye week, that’s the biggest thing that we’ve been focusing on, is our fundamentals, holding the ball high and tight, making sure that we’re taking care of the football, making sure our communication is great. All of those things play a huge roll into a big game and when you play in big games, if you could slow the game down, slow the game down mentally and physically, but slow the game down mentally more than anything, the better off you’ll be.”
(On the key trait of the offenses' success last year towards the end of the season...) “In terms of last year, I believe our offense continued to take off and continue to grow because of our consistent approach to everything. Our biggest goal and my goal is to progress from week in to week out and so just continuing to grow fundamentally. Also, in terms of our play calls, of making sure that I understand what’s going on, just the reads are so much sharper, understanding your receivers, your tight ends, your running backs, and you just get into a flow. So offensively, our biggest thing is trying to be in a flow, be in a great rhythm throughout the game, making sure we’re getting protected up, making sure we’re getting the ball out quick, making sure the guys are making the game altering plays when they’re there. So I believe that we’ve done a really great job of that so far this year and we just need to continue to do that. It’s going be a big game for us. It’s a very, very good defense that flies around, makes a lot of plays, and their defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, he’s a great coach. Knows what he’s doing. So it would be a great game. So our biggest thing though is to stay focused on us and what we can do to control the football game.”
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(On the question he had to ask Brees when he met him...) “Well one of the things that I asked him, in terms of talking to Drew [Brees] that I had to ask was, ‘What separated yourself from year one to year two and then from year two to the rest of your career?’ What really made you accelerate your process of being a great football player and the biggest thing he said is, ‘my approach every day.’ It’s one of those things that he said that, ‘Every day I walk into the locker room, every day that I wake up, it’s a constant grind to try to improve myself. Whether if it’s in the weight room, whether it’s my flexibility, whether if it’s my reads, no matter what it is, I have a purpose to the day. So it’s the same the philosophy that I’ve always thought, but it’s also good to hear it from a guy that’s going to be a hall of famer, a guy that’s one of the best quarterbacks that’s ever played the game and so you have a lot of respect for that.”
(On not leaving a team like Brees did...) “Yeah hopefully not. Yeah.”
(On his perception of Brees...) “Before I met drew Brees, I had read his books. I had read his book twice coming back stronger. I really got to know him through that, really watched tons of film on him, watched a lot of his interviews and all that. But when you meet him, he’s just so poised, he’s so patient, he’s so understanding, but he’s also has a sense of urgency to himself about everything that he does. He’s very disciplined in his approach. When you see that… I remember back when I had my first Pro Bowl practice and you know, we’d have walk through and we’d practice for 45 minutes and we get there and Drew Brees is the number one quarterback, Eli [Manning] is number two, and I’m number three. You got Larry Fitzgerald in the huddle; you got Vincent Jackson, all those guys. The Julio Jones and Jason Witten is in there, you got Jeff Saturday, Drew Brees is the quarterback, Adrian Peterson is the ruining back and I’m just kind of standing there looking and just observing and just how he brought all those guys in to the huddle and just got all of their attention so quickly, by the inflection in his voice, by the determination that he had to simply win the Pro Bowl. Just all those things go into a being a great football player and being a great quarterback. Like I’ve always said to you guys, I’m sure I’ve said it before is that, ‘Great quarterbacks have leadership, great attention to detail, and they have a relentless competitive nature. So those three things, he brings to the table and you respect that for sure.”
(On the humility aspect of Brees...) “Yeah Drew Bress is very, very humble because he knows he puts the wok in every day. He knows that God has really gifted him with a lot of talent, with a great mind, with a great understanding of the game of football and just life in general. So he gives a lot of credit to his players, but he also makes those other ten guys better in the huddle and that’s what makes him such a great quarterback.”
(On when he first saw Brees play...) “When did I first see Drew Brees play? In college at some point, when he was playing at Purdue. I do remember though the Wisconsin game they had where he threw the ball like 89 times or something. So I remember watching that game. My dad used to always tell me, ‘Man you got to watch this guy Drew Brees from Purdue.’ I was like, ‘Who is Drew Brees. Where’s Purdue at?’ I didn’t know where Purdue was. I’m from Virginia. I didn’t know where Purdue was and then I realized that I’m in the Big 10 and everything and they were throwing the ball a ton with him in the shotgun, 4-wide, 5-wide and he was just killing teams. So that’s when I really started watching Drew Brees. He was similar in stature, had a great arm, very accurate with the football, could move really well too at the same time. So he was a guy that you’d definitely watch.”
(On what he takes away from Brees in terms of Brees' mechanics...) “I don’t think that mechanically, what have I mirrored from him, I think we’re very similar actually, just ironically. I never really tried to study his mechanics exactly. I think everybody throws the ball a little bit different for whatever reason. But we actually throw the ball very similar I think because its baseball background, you kind of throw the ball quick the same way. I think also that he gets rid of the ball very quickly and so that’s one of the things that I’ve always worked on and just watched him do, which I’ve always tried to improve as well. But you know footwork-wise, we’re very similar too. I think that’s just natural though. You know, I wouldn’t say that I just picked him out and that was the only guy I’d watch. It was just one of those things that I kind of studied him and also just fit in with what I was doing already. So I just continued to try to grow off of what he does.
(On making adjustments to staying in the pocket longer; to allow a play to develop rather than scrambling out of the pocket...) “I think the biggest thing is you want to trust your pocket always, you want to trust you guys up front and they’re doing a tremendous job for me. So the thing is with me, I want to get the ball out, I want to extend the play, I want to get the big play, but also make the smart play. So it’s a happy medium. It’s one of those things that it’s a fine line and we make some big p-lays. I remember I scrambled out of the pocket, I probably could’ve hit a guy underneath earlier, but I also got out and hit Ricardo Lockette on a huge scrambling play. So it’s one of those things that I just trust my instincts. I don’t really think about it too much. When I’m in there, I trust my guys, I trust that they’re going to do a great blocking for me and just play the game and just trust that.”
(On the weather being an advantage for the Seahawks playing against the Saints...) “Yeah I think the biggest thing for us, in terms of the weather; we don’t want the weather to be a factor at all. Whether it’s offensively, we want to protect the football at all cost. Whether its defensive side of the ball, we want to try to get the ball from them because of the weather. But at the same time, we don’t worry about it. We just go back out there and play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. I think that your conscience is a little bit more aware just because of the situation. if it’s a sloppy game and it should be. But at the same time, you just want to go out there and just trust what you do. So we’re going to be aware of it more so in practice than anything else. I think when you’re practicing, you really have to make sure guys are holding it high and tight, making sure they’re catching the ball with their hands and doing all the things it takes to protect the football.”
(On Rob Ryan's successful defense this season...) “Well coach Rob Ryan, he’s a tremendous coach. He’s been around the league for a long period of time; he’s got a great family background. He really understands what he’s doing he really gets his guys fired up. You notice that when you just watch the games live. He has his guys fired up, they fly around, they trust in what they’re doing, he puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback, he does some great things. They’re players are very, very good athletes. It’s going to be a good game for us; it’s going to be a test for sure. We’re excited about that. We’re going to be prepared for that situation. So if we can capitalize on those moments, then we’ll be successful. But like I said, he’s a great coach. I’m not surprised at all about his success.”
(On if he and Brees ever talked about being overlooked by critics...) “When Brees and I talked, have we talked about being overlooked? Not too much. I think the thing that we have in common, yeah the size and all that stuff. But I think the thing that we have in common is we believe in ourselves. So it doesn’t matter what anybody would’ve ever thought. Doesn’t matter what anybody would’ve thought if we were going to be number one pick overall or the last pick; it’s one of those things that when you have confidence in yourself, nobody can affect you. Nobody can slow you down and when you have that mentality and you bring that to the table for all the other guys on the team, they feel that. They sense that. Yeah we’ve talked about it a little bit, just fueling our fire I guess you could say, but not too much.”
(On if he stresses the 'ignore the noise' phrase more this week than ever before...) “The biggest thing for us, in terms of ignoring the noise is not turning the TV on, not watching all the stuff that everybody says about us. I walk into the cafeteria this morning and they’re talking on ESPN about me or whatever, I just walk right back out. I honestly do. I even told I think Bobby Wagner and maybe Earl [Thomas] or somebody else was sitting in there, they we’re talking about me. I said, ‘I got to go.’ It’s one of those things that I really try not to be in the room at the same time. So if in can stay focused on our game and we can stay focused on us, that gives us a chance to be very successful. The great thing for us is even though, despite the defensive backs, a coupe, of them being out, the next guy can step up. We have tons of talent. Coach Carroll, John Schneider our GM, and Paul Allen, they do a great job of bringing the right players in, with the right mind set, with the great attitude in terms of how we play and how we practice and hopefully we could bring that to another level this week.”
(On if ignoring the noise is the reason why he does not make this game bigger than it should be...) “Yeah it’s the same thing. I look at the same pressures, base pressures, the nickel pressures, I look at the red zone, I look at the third down, I look at the two minute situations, I look at all that and it doesn’t change. It’s one of those things that you just stay focused on the moment, you stay focused on the situations and at the same time though, I don’t shy away from a big game. It’s one of those things that I want to step up; I want to play at the highest level. I think that great players make big time players in big situations. So I think that’s what our goal is but at the same time, stay focused on the moment, stay focused on the fundamentals. When you can do that and you can ease your mind on that and have peace from the way you practice and when you hit the field come game time, that’s when you have your really good games. So that’s what we’re trying to do.”
(On if focusing on the moment is the reason why the Seahawks are 10 and 1...) “I think we’re 10 and 1 because we focus on the moment. Yeah we focus on the moment, we have our mind set being 1 and 0 every week, having a championship week, we focus on the fundamentals, we focus on having a competitive practice where we bring the heat every single day offensively and defensively, and because of our coaching staff. The work that they put in in terms of the early mornings, the late nights and then our fans. Playing with our fans home or away. You think about the Arizona game, you think about all the other games we’ve played on the road, there are so many fans there and we can hear them throughout the game. So that’s big for us. Our 12th Man fans are unbelievable and we love that about them and we know this game will be a huge game. I know they’re trying to break the world record again. So we’ll see what happens.”
(On if there's been a moment where he felt like he didn’t prepare for a game enough...) “There has never really been a moment where I’ve ever been nervous, if you’re asking me that. I never been nervous when I play a game. I’d say that there’s never really been a moment where I didn’t prepare; there’s been moments where I felt like, ‘Man. I could’ve done a little bit more’ and then I’ve noticed the difference. It’s never been bad. Never been like, ‘Awe. I’m not going to look at that today’ or whatever. But it’s one of those things that the more I learn, the more I grow from… If I think back to my freshman year in college, I knew so much more my sophomore year and how to study, compared to my freshman year and it’s the same thing being here for the Seahawks. If last year was considered my freshman year, my rookie year, I’ve learned so much more and I’ve learned how to really get my organization together in terms of what I’m looking at and how I’m looking at and why I’m looking at it. So the more I can understand what the defense is trying to do and why they’re trying to do it, the better off I am and I understand our offense a lot better and it gives us a good chance.”
(On the balance between scrambling with the ball and not wanting to get hit...) “In terms of running the ball and scrambling and all that, it’s not too tough for me. I’ve been doing it for a long time. So I think for me, it’s just making the smart decision. It’s about our football, knowing the situation, being a great situational quarterback. There’s time where you have to take risks, there’s times where it’s fourth and one and you may have to run and get it. There’s all those situations, but I think the thing is making the smart situation during that situation, if that makes any sense.”