Nine things we learned from Wilson, Baldwin & Sherman's Wednesday press conferences

Key takeaways from quarterback Russell Wilson, cornerback Richard Sherman & wide receiver Doug Baldwin's Wednesday press conferences ahead of Sunday's NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers.

Wednesday afternoon saw head coach Pete Carroll, quarterback Russell Wilson, cornerback Richard Sherman, and wide receiver Doug Baldwin meet with the media in the auditorium at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center ahead of Sunday's NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers.

We brought you 10 key takeaways from coach Carroll's Wednesday press conference earlier today, but here are nine things we learned from Wednesday's sessions with Wilson, Sherman, and Baldwin.

Russell Wilson

1. This Team Is Stronger Than It Was A Season Ago

Wilson believes this year's team is stronger than the one that won Super Bowl XLVIII 43-8 over the Denver Broncos a season ago. 

"In my opinion, I think we're stronger," Wilson said. "I think we're the same guys we had last year, but we're just a little bit better." 

Wilson pointed to how the team was able to come together down the stretch to win nine of their final 10 games after starting the season 3-3 and then moving to 6-4. 

"When we were 6 and 4, I knew we were going to go find a way to be 12 and 4," Wilson said. "I'm just happy that I am with this team and I have great guys around me and great people around me and the best fans in the National Football League to be part of.  I think we're definitely better, but we'll see what happens."

2. He Didn't Know Jermaine Kearse's TD vs Carolina Was Caught With One Hand Until Eating Dinner At Metropolitan Grill Later That Night

Wilson tossed the longest passing play in Seahawks postseason history during this past Saturday's 31-17 divisional-round playoff win against the Carolina Panthers when he connected with wide receiver Jermaine Kearse for a 63-yard touchdown - a ball Wilson had no idea Kearse had hauled in with one hand until later that night.

"I get home and, I'm actually at dinner actually, and they're showing it on the TV at Metropolitan Grill," Wilson said of Kearse's Willie Mays-like over the shoulder grab. "And I see the catch and I go, 'Oh man, he caught that one-handed?'  I didn't know that he did that. So that was pretty phenomenal."

3. B.J. Daniels Is A "Crazy Athlete"

Wilson had good things to say about the third-string signal caller Daniels, who was promoted from the practice squad earlier this week after wide receiver Paul Richardson's season came to an end as a result of the ACL injury he suffered against the Panthers. 

If active, Carroll said Daniels would play primarily on special teams, but could also be used as an emergency running back or wide receiver. 

"B.J.'s one of those guys that can do it all," said Wilson, who playfully argued quarterbacks are the most athletic guys on the team. "So it will be exciting.  I'm excited for him that he's active and ready to play."

Richard Sherman

1. Aaron Rodgers' Calf Injury Doesn't Take Away Much Of His Game

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns in the team's divisional-round win over the Dallas Cowboys last week. Rodgers put up those numbers while playing with an injured calf, an injury that's expected to hamper him again this weekend but one that Sherman said "doesn't take away much" from his game.

"I think you saw that last week," said Sherman. "There were a few opportunities he could have probably run for the first down and he instead threw the ball, threw the football and still made a play out of it.  I think it takes a little bit of his mobility, but he's still just as tough a ball player to play against."

2. Kam Chancellor's Play Brings The Defense To Another Level

Against the Panthers, strong safety Kam Chancellor delivered 10 tone-setting tackles and returned a fourth quarter interception 90 yards for a touchdown - the longest play in the franchise's postseason history. Sherman said Chancellor's play helps bring the Seahawks to "another level."

"It's exciting to see him getting the respect he deserves," Sherman said. "But when he's playing like this we're a very, very difficult defense to play against and we appreciate him because he's an enforcer, big-time playmaker, and big-time player."

3. Run Tackling Has Been A Point Of Emphasis For Him This Season

Sherman said he worked hard in the offseason to improve his tackling in the run game, an area he sees can help the defense out a lot and a trait the opponent might least expect.

"I think that just adds another element because a lot of times teams don't even account for corners and the run game fits," he said. "A lot of times they'll tell the linemen - pass the corners and go get the safety, or get the linebacker because they'll expect the running back to break through the corner's tackle.  So it's something that I thought would help our defense improve."

Doug Baldwin

1. His Chemistry With Russell Wilson Is "Something Special"

Asked about his level of chemistry with quarterback Russell Wilson, Baldwin said it's something that matured to a consistent level this season.

"We started, I would say my second year in the league when [it was] his rookie season, I think the Chicago game is when we started to have that communication," Baldwin said. "And it was intermittent.  It was here and there.  Never truly consistent until this year.  And it's been extremely fun because when you have a guy like Russell you can look at him and give him a certain look and he knows exactly what you're talking about."

That much was on display prior to the touchdown pass from Wilson to Baldwin to open the scoring in this past weekend's win over the Panthers. The two exchanged a glance at the line of scrimmage to switch to the play that produced a 16-yard score.

"It's that chemistry that you're talking about that is something special," said Baldwin. "So on that specific play, you can see the communication happening right away once we get at the line of scrimmage.  I actually wasn't completely sure because of the look I was getting. It didn't seem like the coverage was going to be exactly what we thought it was.  But he just said, 'Screw it, we're just going to call it anyways and see what happens.' And I mean that communication happened at the line of scrimmage without words being exchanged, so for us to be able to have that communication, that ability, is going to be amazing for us down the line."

2. He Might Lobby To Return Kicks This Weekend

With the ACL injury to Richardson, Baldwin could step in as the team's kick returner on Sunday against the Packers. He has backed up Richardson at the spot this year, totaling 81 yards on five returns. 

Asked if he'd lobby for the job through the week of practice, all Baldwin offered was a simple, "Maybe."

3. Seattle's Prior Experience In NFC Championship Is "Crucial"

The Seahawks are hosting the NFC Championship - and all the extra activity that comes along with it - for the second-consecutive year. Baldwin believes having last year's experience against the San Francisco 49ers under their belt will help the team handle any added stresses this week may bring. 

"Going to the NFC Championship the second year, that experience is crucial," he said. "Not only because of the physical aspect of it, but also the mental aspect of it.  You learn to pace yourself dealing with you guys as media - no offense, but you guys do add a little bit of stress to our lives. And being able to handle that in the appropriate manner and going about our way of studying and preparing for this game and being able to handle everything that comes along with it - because our families are getting at us as well - that experience definitely, it enables us to just be more patient, be more calm, and just handle things in the appropriate manner."

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