Ahead of the Seahawks' "Competition Wednesday" practice and preparation for this week's matchup with the Green Bay Packers, head coach Pete Carroll met with the media to answer questions related to Sunday's NFC Championship game at Seattle's CenturyLink Field.
Here are 10 key takeaways from Carroll's Wednesday press conference:
- Center Max Unger, who was forced from this past Saturday's 31-17 divisional-round playoff win over the Carolina Panthers with a fourth-quarter ankle injury, will practice on Wednesday and should be "fine" for Sunday's game against the Packers, Carroll said.
- Cornerback Byron Maxwell, who played sparingly against the Panthers while battling shortness of breath, will practice on Wednesday and looks to be in "great shape" for Sunday's conference title game, said Carroll.
- Carroll said a wideout rotation featuring Kevin Norwood, Ricardo Lockette, and Chris Matthews will be used to replace third wide receiver Paul Richardson, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury this past Saturday against the Panthers.
- Practice squad player B.J. Daniels was promoted to the 53-man roster after the injury to Richardson and Carroll said - if active - Daniels would be used primarily on special teams against the Packers while serving as an emergency running back, wide receiver, and third-string quarterback. Carroll also said Daniels has worked at kick returner all season long and could factor into the Seahawks' approach at the spot Richardson had control of before his injury.
- Carroll praised last week's play of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers (calf), who was essentially operating on one foot during this past Sunday's divisional-round win over the Dallas Cowboys. While hobbled, Rodgers still found a way to throw for 316 yards and three touchdowns. "Great players have a way of figuring it out," Carroll said. Rodgers was the only Packers player to not participate in practice on Wednesday, but Carroll fully expects the Green Bay signal caller to be ready on Sunday at CenturyLink Field. "We're counting on him being right on the money."
- Carroll called out the Packers' obvious improvement from the first half of their season to the second, when Green Bay went from allowing 153.5 rushing yards per game through their first eight games to 86.7 rushing yards per game in their final eight games. The difference coincided with the movement of Packers linebacker Clay Matthews - who played under Carroll at USC - to the middle of the defense on running downs.
- During the Seahawks' 36-16 win over the Packers in Week 1, Rodgers didn't throw a single ball to the side of the field covered by Seattle's All-Pro corner Richard Sherman. Carroll doesn't think that scenario will repeat itself this weekend, expecting the Packers to target both sides of the field, regardless of where Sherman lines up.
- Carroll said Kam Chancellor's strong play in recent weeks has infected the entire team's approach to each game, "His physical nature lifts everybody up."
- Asked about how Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has improved his ability to scramble since entering the NFL in 2012, Carroll didn't think that was the case, noting Wilson simply came into the League already equipped to excel in those situations. "He's as creative a football player as you can find," said Carroll.
- And when asked about how the Seahawks defense manages to communicate while playing in front of the loudest fans in sports, Carroll said "It's an adjustment we welcome," as the noise poses even more of a headache for opposing offenses.