PHOENIX** – A recap of the Seahawks' activities for Jan. 26, as they began on-site preparations for Sunday's Super Bowl XLIX matchup against the New England Patriots with a "Bonus Monday" practice at Arizona State University:
FOCUS ON: THE SUPER BOWL SEAHAWKS
|STAT DU JOUR: IT'S ALL ABOUT THE BALL|
The Patriots and Seahawks were among the league leaders in fewest giveaways during the regular season, including a franchise-record low total for the Seahawks:
The Seahawks team that will play in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday is not that same Seahawks team that played in – and won – Super Bowl XLVIII last February.
Thirteen players from the 53-man roster that pummeled the Denver Broncos a year ago are not on the current 53-man roster. Tackle Breno Giacomini, wide receiver Golden Tate, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, safety Chris Maragos and offensive lineman Paul McQuistan were lost in free agency. Defensive ends Red Bryant and Chris Clemons were released. Fullback Michael Robinson retired. Wide receiver Percy Harvin was traded. Tight end Zach Miller, nose tackle Brandon Mebane, linebacker Heath Farwell and fullback Derrick Coleman are on injured reserve.
Yet, here the Seahawks are, back in the Super Bowl and trying to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots did it in 2003 and 2004.
"Every year, you're faced with difficult decisions because it's just constantly in motion to manage the (salary) cap and manage the money situation," coach Pete Carroll said from the podium during the Seahawks' media session on Monday. "It called for us to make very difficult decisions, in terms of our guys' contracts and whether we can renew or we can maintain the players with us.
"And that's all done with long vision. We use long vision at all times."
Included in that "we," of course, is general manager John Schneider, who arrived as almost a package deal with Carroll in 2010, when they begin building these Super Bowl teams.
"John has done an extraordinary job of seeing into the future what's necessary to keep things moving ahead," Carroll said. "And with all of those decisions, we just work through every one of them and treat them with tremendous care. Because of the players and the makeup and the connections, the chemistry guys bring to your team, that's what makes it so difficult.
"But it is what is. You have to do that. You have to go through that process and make the choices."
Carroll admits that he and Schneider knew they were losing "some heart-and-soul guys" during the offseason. But he's also aware that, "They were the decisions that we had to make to make the choices to move ahead."
Photos of the Seahawks media events on Monday.
The other side of this is rewarding the players who must remain – linebacker K.J. Wright and defensive end Cliff Avril, who signed contract extensions last month; and the All-Pro trio of strong safety Kam Chancellor, free safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman, as well as leading receiver Doug Baldwin, who already had signed extensions.
"As you've watch John continue to sign our guys, we have a really strong core of this football team," Carroll said. "And we have had that for a number of years now. We've told our guys we were going to do what we're doing. And we have done that, and we have continued to carry out the process of maintaining the body of this team."
And actions are almost always stronger than words.
"It's really important, especially when they tell you, 'You're one of our guys. We've got to have you here. We trust you. We know that you're a good football player,' " Wright said from a nearby podium in the media tent at the resort where the team is staying. "So you just want them to keep their word, and that's what they did. And that's something that makes a team good, when you have all the main guys here and sprinkle in other guys around you. You've got to have a good foundation, and I believe that's what we have and I believe that's what makes it so good."
A STATISTICAL ODD-ITY
Baldwin was told during the media session that Vegas has put his over-under line at four catches in Sunday's game.
"Four catches in our offense is a good day," said Baldwin, who has had at least four catches in 10 of the Seahawks' 18 games, with a season-high of seven. "So if I get four catches in the Super Bowl, that's a good day in all honesty."
Baldwin had five receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown in the 43-8 victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII last February.
OPPONENT WATCH: CHANDLER JONES
No one will need to introduce the Patriots' defensive end to Seahawks' left tackle Russell Okung on Sunday. Their paths already have crossed. It was in the Week 6 game at CenturyLink Field in 2012, when the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Jones was a rookie. He had nine tackles, forced a fumble and got two sacks – although neither came against Okung.
Okung likens Jones to the San Francisco 49ers' Aldon Smith, because of the way he plays and the number of spots he'll play during the course of a game.
"Just the way their bodies are. Obviously they're not the exact same player, but they are long-armed guys who can move direction really quick and play some good ball," Okung said. "He has a combination of power and speed. Any time you have a guy like that, you have to expect anything, whether coming under, trying to power through you, or going up the field to hit the edge. Aldon Smith is dynamic in that way and so is Chandler Jones."
UP NEXT: MEDIA DAY!!!
|YOU DON'T SAY|
"Of course, Richard Sherman is probably one of the most intelligent football players in the league, if not one of the most intelligent people in the world."
Leading receiver Doug Baldwin when asked if finds any validity in the latest controversial statement by the cornerback
The NFL's annual exercise in anything goes takes over US Airways Center in downtown Phoenix on Tuesday. The Seahawks' session at the home of the Phoenix Suns runs from 12:15-1:15 p.m., following the Patriots' session from 10:30-11:30 a.m.
"It's kind of cool," center Max Unger said with a laugh when asked about Media Day. "Actually, it's the second year in a row that we've been (in the Super Bowl), so everyone kind of knows the deal now. And it's kind of nice to know what you have in store for Media Day and be prepared for the madness, I guess, and know what we're getting ourselves into."
Tony Ventrella will be streaming live coverage on Seahawks.com during the Seahawks' segment, while the NFL Network and ESPN will provided live coverage of both sessions.
Last year, it was 17 degrees in New Jersey, when Media Day was held at the Prudential Center – home of the New Jersey Devils of the NHL – in Newark. The forecasted high for Phoenix on Tuesday is 74 degrees.