Seahawks Insider Blog

Russell Wilson on his first game against Arizona last year: 'It was a battle'

Russell Wilson quotes:

(On how the team is handling the short week in preparing to play against the Cardinals...)

(On Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu...) “Well obviously, those two guys you know, Patrick Peterson and [Tyrann] Mathieu are really athletic, flying around-type of guys, they know how to get to the ball, they’re ball hawks, and they’re intelligent football players. They just know how to play the game. So you have to always know where they are. They just have this knack for getting to the football. So we have to be smart about that. But at the same time, you know not to be afraid to attack them. They’re good football players. But you have to understand that we have to take advantage of some opportunities and try to make some big time plays.”

(On if he has seen other teams place their defensive backs in different places like the Cardinals do with Tyrann Mathieu...) “Well [Tyrann] Mathieu obviously did it at LSU and he’s doing it now for Arizona. He’s all over the place. We have a lot of respect for him; he’s a very quick player. You can tell that on film. As soon as you turn the film on, he’s all over the place. He just knows how to get to the football, knows how to cover guys, very physical player too. When he does blitz, he likes trying to get to the quarterback too as well. So you have to know where he is. He is a good football player.”

(On how Wilson evaluates his performance...) “When I evaluate myself, in a game, I always look at the small things first. You know obviously my handoffs, am I always booting out, is the ball placement where I want it to be, my footwork, my depth, and my drop. Those type of details because I really do feel like when my fundamentals are on, in every way possible, that’s when I’m at my best. I think that helps me and gives me a chance to be successful.”

(On having Max Unger back and how Zach Miller will make the Seahawks offense better...) “Well having Max [Unger] back last week, was huge and the protection was even better. Obviously having Max [Unger] back, he’s a Pro Bowl center. So that’s always nice and then Zach Miller, he’s a strong, strong tight end. He’s very consistent with his approach, very consistent in catching the football, very consistent for us blocking-wise too as well, and just understands the game; understands situations. No situation is too big for him. So to have him back, in addition with Luke Willson and Kellen Davis, who have been doing a great job for us so far for us, that just helps our offense that much more.”

(On how the Seahawks performed against the Cardinals in Arizona last season in week 1...) “Well obviously last year’s game, in Arizona, was my first professional football game. It was a battle. Oh gosh. I just think about last year and how much further our offense has come and how much further I’ve come. So the good thing is I have learned a lot and it’s a new year. At the same time, they’re a new football team. They got a new coaching staff. Coach Arians is doing a great job over there. I know him pretty well. He’s just a football coach that everyone loves playing for, they got a great defense, they fly around, do a lot of good things. So we’re going to have a play our best football, you know once again and nothing changes. We still have that 1-0 mentality and to go back down there though, it’s a lot more comforting. You know the situation, you know the venue, you’ve already seen it before, you know the energy in that stadium is alive, and so you’re going to have to play your best game.”

(On if he is able to cram in a normal week preparation in this short week. If not, what are the priorities...) “Yeah. I’m able to cram it in. I think the biggest thing is just staying a little bit extra, staying a little bit later at night. But at the same time, I’m also getting my rest because physically, I have to make sure that I’m ready to go. Hundred percent, body-wise, you know physically. So you have to be able to run fast and make sure that my arm is ready to go, and icing that much more and getting in the tubs that much more. And then mentally, just making sure I go through my checklist. I have everything that I go through, every week. Obviously third downs, the pressure, third down looks, obviously the first and second down stuff too as well, the red zone, 2-minute situations, and when the game is on the line. So those types of things, I look at all the time and I’ve done so far.”

(On utilizing the tight ends against the Cardinals’ defense based on last year's success...) “Well obviously our tight ends are very, very good football players. They are consistent, they catch the ball well, they can run well too, they both understand the game really well, and all three of them actually. So I think that in terms of the success of tight ends against them, it’s something that you look at and understand. I still trust my reads though. I don’t overdo it. I don’t just look for one particular guy, all the time. I think that’s the good thing about our offense is that we love to spread the football around and it makes it challenging on the defense because it’s not just one guy that you can look at. I think it is something definitely to note and to be able to look at those tight ends and see what they’re doing against their defense, in crucial situations as well.”

(On if he believes that Patrick Peterson is similar to Richard Sherman...) “Well you know Patrick Peterson… I’ve only gotten to play against him a few times. But, he’s just lightning fast, he just has great ball skills, just understands the game, he just can run so well. You can tell that he has a presence out on the field. Richard Sherman is obviously the same way. Richard Sherman is a little bit longer. I think that’s what makes Richard [Sherman] so, so good. He really is a receiver out there. He’s a like a 6’3” receiver that can fly too as well, he’s got great ball skills. So they’re both very similar. I love that we have Richard Sherman our team though. I know that. He’s something special. Just watching him out there, going against him in practice every day is awesome, and then we have so many other guys too as well that really do step up. You think about Brandon Browner, you think Walter Thurmond, you think about Earl Thomas, and Kam Chancellor, and all of the rest of the guys that I could name, you know they’re all good football players and we get them ready to play.”

(On what it means to get into the flow of the game...) “When I say, ‘In the flow of the game,’ there’s always ebbs and flows in to the game. So you have to understand those situations and just situationally, I felt like I was really into that game and my goal is to always feel that way. And, I always grade myself. If I have a hundred plays, I want to be in that ninety percentile or above. I really only had one play that I wish that I could’ve done a little bit different really, you know what I mean? So it’s one of those things that you just stay in the moment. You just focus on what you can control, you focus on the checks, and the alerts, and the reads, and all that. And, just try to understand the game and understand what they’re trying to do and I think all of that is just the preparation. I’m always learning, I’m always trying to learn something new or always trying to improve what I’m doing so far. So I think that helps me a lot. So I just felt like we did a good job on offense, in the first three drives, three first downs or whatever. Third downs I mean we didn’t get I believe. But, we got one because of holding and we missed a couple throws here and there. But other than that, I thought that we did a really good job on offense and I think that we can do better in the red zone obviously. 2 and 5 is not good enough for us. We don’t believe that and so that’s our focus this week and third downs.”

(On what he has learned from Larry Fitzgerald after playing with Fitzgerald in the Pro Bowl last year....) “Well spending time with Larry Fitzgerald… I mean he is the ultimate pro. He really is. I’ve developed a really good relationship with him. He’s just a guy that loves the game of football, loves life in general, and just has a great demeanor about him. A very, very good business person, in terms of his approach to everything in life.  And so you have a lot respect for him. I have a lot of respect for Larry Fitzgerald. He’s one of the best for sure. He’s done it for a long time and he’s so consistent at it. I think the biggest thing about being a professional at anything that you do, is the consistency. Your consistency in your approach, first of all, your consistency in how you go about your business and how you play the game, obviously or whatever else you’re doing. And he definitely does that, in the best way possible.”

(On what the offense could do to improve in the red zone...) “I think maybe be a little bit quicker on some reads, here and there. I think the protection is always crucial; you always have to have great protection. I just think that we have to make a couple of plays here and there. We’re so close and so it’s similar to last year, but we’re a lot better obviously. But, it’s just one of those things that if we hit it, it’s going to be hard to stop us and that’s the thing. We definitely believe, when going into it each week, we’re going to do that. We’ve played some really good football teams too though. I think that out of the six teams that we’ve played, five of them are in the top ten or so in defense. So you think about that too. It’s one of those things that you always think about and we’re playing a good football teams and that’s a good thing.”

(On how hard it is to recognize the progressive steps forward that the Seahawks’ offense has made, in terms of missing players on the offensive line...) “I think that we’re doing a great job, with the situations that we’ve had over the past two and a half weeks or three weeks or whatever. Going up against Houston, and Indy, and Tennessee, and then missing some of the offensive linemen, the guys have just stepped up in a great way. You think about [Michael] Bowie, he’s a rookie going up against JJ Watt and those type of guys, [Robert] Mathis and the guys from last week and so he’s done a great job. And, he’s got such a great poise and composure out there, on the field and you can sense that in the huddle. You think about Paul [McQuistan] moving to left tackle. You know Paul McQuistan. He normally plays guard and that’s not an easy job. That’s protecting the quarterback’s backside and everything and he’s done a great job with that and James Carpenter. Then you got Lem [Lemuel Jean-Pierre] who’s been in there for the past two weeks before. He did an awesome job stepping in, playing center. Where you have to make a lot of calls and the quarterback and the center have to be in sync and he’s done a great job at that. And then obviously having Max [Unger] back and then when you get the rest of the guys back too, it’s just going to help us down the road that much more down the road I believe.”

(On if he has recognized any changes in the opponents' defenses, in terms of defending Russell Wilson...) “Not really. Some teams are obviously showing a lot more different looks and trying to confuse me. But you know the preparation really gets you ready for the game, at the end of the day. I think that we’re doing a great job preparing. Coach [Darrell] Bevell and our quarterbacks coach, Coach [Carl] Smith, have done a great job of letting me understanding the looks that we’re going to get and most likely will get, in crucial situations and all those type of things. I think that really helps me a lot and just being ready. Just trusting what you see, understanding what they’re trying to do and why they’re trying to do it, I think that’s a big thing that I always try to ask, during the week. You know, ‘What will they try to do and why would they try to stop it? Why would they try to take that approach?’ Whether it’s me running or it’s a certain guy that they’re trying to defend or whatever it is, you’re always being ready for those situations.”

(On how the Cardinals' defense has changed in comparison to last year...) “They still show a lot of different fronts and a lot of different looks and they bring pressure off the slot, they bring guys up the middle, they bring some safeties here and there, they do a lot of different things. So we’re going to be prepared the best way possible and that’s the challenge this week is being prepared for a short week and we’ve done a great job of that so far. We basically put everyday together and kind of… it’s already our Thursday in our heads right and then tomorrow will be our Friday and Saturday and getting ready. So it’s one of those things that we’ve prepared the right way. We got a big practice today, in a couple of hours. So we’re going to have to be prepared for that and we’re excited about that.”

(On balancing his running and passing ability...) “In terms of me running and the balance of that and all that, I really don’t think about. It’s one of those things that just… it kind of flows with the rhythm of the play. I’m going through my progressions and then all of a sudden, somebody may flash in front of my face and I may have to move a little bit and then the reads is gone or whatever the situation is. I mean the game is happening so fast. So I’m not thinking about running at all, it’s just one of those of things that just happens and I’m always trying to keep my eyes down field. Like I always say… and I’m trying to get the ball to the true play makers. We got so many great receivers, you got so many good tight ends and obviously great running backs as well and so to get the ball to those guys, that’s the best benefit that we have as an offense. That’s the best thing that we have is that we have so many different weapons and so many different guys that could make plays for us and then the added dimension of me, being on the run; to get a first down when we need it, is crucial too.”

(On if Wilson cares about being 2-5 in dome games...) “I don’t care where we play. Like I always say, ‘A hundred yards is a hundred yards.’ I kind of like playing in dome games. It’s a little bit louder and it’s a little bit more fun and it’s just a little bit different. So I kind of like it, personally. But, yeah it’s one of those things that you think about the games that we play. We’ve always been a close match up. Every game we’ve played, every game that we’ve won, or really every game that we’ve lost I should say, has been a close game. So that’s the good thing about it. We’ve never really had a game where we been just out of sync. I think the biggest thing for us just staying in sync and realizing that the goals are to go 1-0, every week. Doesn’t matter what the precedent it is from before, whether we’ve won or we lost or whatever, it’s that week. That’s all that matters.”

(On if the coaches show concern if Wilson runs too much during the game and make adjustments to the game plan based on him running too much...) “We don’t worry about whether I’m running too much or not enough or anything like that. I think the biggest thing is, are we making the plays when we need it, are we making smart decisions in terms of me running it? Those are the things that I think about. Am I getting down when I’m running the football? I think that’s the biggest thing is… I’m usually pretty smart in terms of getting down and getting out of bounds. So I think that kind of takes the element away of, “Maybe he’s running it too much? Or maybe he’s not running it enough.’ So I think the biggest thing is obviously, trying to get the ball to the receivers and let them do their work and the tight ends and the running backs and if it’s not there, just try to get a positive gain out of the and salvage the play and then if we get something more than that, then that’s great too.”

(On how surprised he was when realizing how involved Pete Carroll was with the offense...) “Well Coach Carroll is so bright minded in defense obviously, but also just in every facet of the game. Special teams, offensively, and defensively. So just being able to… I just meet with Coach Carroll every Monday now and just kind of sit with him and just sit with him for about an hour and just talk football, just talk about the next opponent and about what they’re trying to bring the defense and how we can attack them offensively, just so I can kind of hear his voice and kind of understand what he’s thinking. We always talk throughout the game too, as well. Obviously, Coach Bevell and I are really, really close and we communicate every day and communicate every hour of the day, for the most part. And, same thing with Coach Smith, our quarterback coach. But, whenever I have a chance to sit down with Coach Carroll and just ask about the defense and ask him about the defensive techniques and what the defensive safeties are doing and the linebackers and the corners as well, what they’re trying to do, I think that really helps me understand the game of football. I’m trying to learn as much as I can. This is only my second year. So as much as I can learn, in terms of offensively, but also defensively and understand why they’re trying to do it, understand the whys of football, and that helps me play at a higher level I think.”