Focus on: Handling even greater expectations

Posted Jul 26, 2014

Last year, coach Pete Carroll wondered how the Seahawks would handle being Super Bowl favorites. After handling that just fine, the focus turns to handling being Super Bowl champions.

A year ago, the question was how the Seahawks would handle the expectations of being the NFC favorite to advance to the Super Bowl.

This year, as the team prepares for its second training camp practice at Virgin Mason Athletic Center on Saturday morning, the queries have switched to how the Seahawks will deal with being the defending Super Bowl champions.

But no matter how many times the question is asked, or in how many different ways, expect the answer from coach Pete Carroll to remain the same.

“We never talk about that,” Carroll said when asked about mentioning the end result to his players. “We talk about trying to be the best we can be. And that’s what we’re competing for every day out here. That’s what we did all the way through Year One, Two, Three and Four, and we’re going to keep doing it.”

It’s the going 1-0 every week mentality that quarterback Russell Wilson talks about so often – a mindset that helped the Seahawks go 1-0 13 times last year during the regular season and then in each of their three postseason games, including a 43-8 romp over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.

“The foundation of the discipline it takes to be that focused continues to get stronger,” Carroll said. “I’m hoping that we should be better and stronger this year than we were a year ago. And we’re going to try and build on that.”

Even with all that said, Carroll realizes that his players know how to handle expectations because they did it so well and so consistently during the 2013 season.

“It does help to know that we can handle the limelight and we deal with that alright,” he said. “They have been through it, and it’s a good thing. But when we hadn’t gone through it I thought we were OK then, too. But there is a process involved and we’ve been teaching these guys the whole time about handling situations like this and being prepared for it to happen, so that when it did we could move ahead and take advantage of it.”

But the expectations this year are even greater, because the challenge is. The last team to win back-to-back Super Bowls was the New England Patriots after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. But Carroll leans on the fact that the Seahawks have been almost there and done almost that after last season’s helping of expectations.

“So really it’s not a new conversation with us, it’s not new language for these guys,” he said. “As long as we do the work – and that’s what we have to recapture out here on the practice field – than we’ll progress and we’ll take advantage of our opportunities.”