Check out what the Seahawks are saying about the Cardinals leading up to the Week 17 game at CenturyLink Field.
Head Coach Pete Carroll
(Opening…)"This is a big opportunity for us. Last game, lot at stake, lot going on. Fortunate to play at home. Love playing in front of the fans here in this one. Going to see if we can get a terrific week of preparation so we can really play like we need to play. Looking at the Cardinals, they have played really good football for some time, particularly on defense. They've been killing it for the last three or four weeks and doing really good stuff. As always, they have always been aggressive and difficult to handle and they look as good as ever and they are healthy and all that, so we got to put together a really good week and get right and see if we can finish this thing off and give us a chance for what comes next."
(On Arizona's defense especially in the last four or five weeks…)"They've been really tough. You can't run the ball at them. Their activity and their aggressive style is just like it's been. We've seen this defense be good for years and they're really playing right back up to the kinds of numbers that they had shown in years past and so they're aggressive with the line of scrimmage. They chase the football really well, pretty good secondary and turning the ball over. They get picks and then they're not giving up big plays or their explosive plays are way down so every aspect of their game is on it with a really featured rushing in Chandler [Jones] and it's a good group."
(On what has allowed Chandler Jones to be so effective…)"He's got all of the right tools. He's so tall and long and he's sudden. He's got a really good motor which is always a big factor for the pass rushers. I mean he just keeps bringing it. He's creative with his rushes and it really comes down to he's just such a long guy and he's just really effective. He's got a real variety of things that he does in this pass rush package that makes him difficult."
Linebacker K.J. Wright
(On how the series against Arizona has been kind of crazy the last two years and if he can put his finger on anything that has made this series go the way it has over the last few years…) "No, it's just two really good teams. Both teams have really good defenses I believe, and it's always been one of those battles that goes back and forth. It's always tough whenever we play those guys. I saw what their coach [Bruce Arians] said, it's kind of funny, but it's going to be a good game I'm sure. They put up a shutout against New York, which is not easy to do in this league, so it's not going to be easy, even though they are out of the playoffs. They still want to come in here and try to get a win, so it's going to be a battle."
(On what stands out to him about the career that Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald has had…) "I was talking earlier, we were watching film on him with Bobby [Wagner] too, and we were just talking about how whenever you see Larry Fitzgerald, just so many guys have so much respect for him. They're always helping him up, just talking to him, and whenever you play him, he asks you about your family and how you're doing and all that stuff. He's just a great guy to be around. I wish somehow, I could spend more time with him and get to know him, but he's a great guy, first-ballot Hall of Famer, and it's always great in the presence of a legend like himself."
(On what opportunities makes Fitzgerald so effective on the field…)"Just consistency; his hands are one of the best, his route-running is good, the quarterback throws it to him a lot, so he just finds a way to get the job done. He's done it the right way his whole career, and he could play another three years if he wanted to."
(On if everyone in the locker room is aware of what Coach Bruce Arians said about CenturyLink Field being the Cardinals 'home field'…)"Yeah, but that's no big deal. That's very small; it's something that we don't pay much attention to, and like I said, we always focus on ourselves. If that's what it takes to get his team fired up, then that's cool, but we know who we are and we know that we have business to take care of."
(On how Drew Stanton is back at QB for Arizona and what he has seen from him on film…)"He's good. We played him of course on Thursday night [In Arizona in November] and he's a guy that really likes to get the ball to Larry Fitzgerald. He's not going to be out there making a bunch of mistakes, he's a pretty consistent game-manager, and I believe the game plan should be like it was last time. They'll run the ball, try to keep the game close, don't mess it up, and we just have to find a way to take advantage of those throws he makes."
Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell
(On Arizona's linebacking corps…) "Well I see Arizona's defense, basically, playing as well as any defense that we've played all year. At this point, I don't know, probably the last five or six weeks, they are definitely one of the best defenses against the run, against the pass, they bring all kinds of pressure. Deone Bucannon is one of the linebackers you are talking about. He's got great speed. He's got great awareness. He can make plays. I see athletic guys and I see a defense that just causes confusion and will bring pressures from everywhere."
(On Arizona's ability to create confusion and pressure being a factor in the turnover numbers…)"Yeah, overall their defense is playing outstanding right now. Whether it's the run game, whether it's the pass game, I think they are defending, like I said, I don't know the true numbers, but the last few weeks, I think they are probably one of the tops in the league at doing it and taking the ball away, so it's a huge challenge for us. We have faced some really good defenses in recent past, with Jacksonville and the Rams and those teams, so it's another huge challenge for us this week to be able to step up and be able to put points on the board."
Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach Tom Cable
(On how he has noticed the Cardinals use Chandler Jones on the defensive line…)"Yeah, he is going to play on both sides; whether it's dime or nickel or base, it doesn't really matter. He's been really, really productive on either side. We've seen these guys for a while now; not just Arizona, but these types of rushers for a few weeks, so it's another challenge for us and they're playing great defense. They really have since Week 10, maybe even one of the best defenses in football."
(On how Arizona's run-defense numbers really standout and what he sees there that makes them so good in that area…)"To me, it looks like they're not doing as much, and they're just sounder and more productive. Fundamentally, they look fine."
Quarterback Russell Wilson
(On why these games against the Cardinals in particular are so physical…)"I think the Arizona Cardinals are a great football team across the board; you think about their cornerbacks, you think about their safeties, you think about their defensive line and linebackers, they're really, really talented players. They're some of the best that you can find. It's going to be one of those things that we're going to have to be prepared to play great football. We had a tough matchup against them last time on the road, so we know that they'll be ready to play."
(On what in particular he has to be aware of when it comes to Arizona's defense…) "Arizona has always been great, they really have. Their defense is stellar, they can really fly around, and they call a bunch of blitzes and everything else. We've picked them up a lot of the times pretty well, and then sometimes not. We want to make sure that we pick them up all the time if we can, and like I have always said, there is a lot of green grass behind it if you do. We have to make those plays and I think we're going to be prepared for everything that they have. They have a lot of different things that they do, so we have tons of studying and tons of preparation. That's really where you make or break the game right there; is the preparation and everything that you do to study and get ready, and finally go execute it on Sunday."
(On what he makes of the comments by Cardinals Coach Bruce Arians that CenturyLink is their 'home field'…)"I don't think you pay attention to it too much, I think that for us, we just want to play a great football game. We want to play a great football game and we know it's going to be a tough challenge and we're looking forward to that challenge. We're ready to play some ball."
(On how he had that double-spin move against the Cardinals if he thinks he has a triple spin in him this time around…)"Do I have a triple-spin in me? I'm sure I do somewhere; I don't plan it, but yeah I think like the question earlier, I think that there are times where you make some great ones and sometimes, you're like 'Oh man, I wish I just threw that ball away,' but there have been some really cool ones too when you just keep playing ball and keep fighting for what you want to fight for. Hopefully, something else will happen."
Wide Receiver Doug Baldwin
(On the wide difference in performances and outcomes in game against Arizona…) "I mean, to your point, it goes a number of different ways every time we play them, so for me personally, for the receiving corps and passing game wise, we have a good breadth of knowledge about what they're trying to do towards us. Sometimes we'll come into the game and they'll play a lot of man and we have a lot of one-on-one receivers that are pretty decent against one-on-one coverage and so we look forward to those matchups. But the thing about Arizona is that they have great defenders. Patrick Peterson, obviously, leading the way. It's always a great matchup for us and so again, it can go either way but we are looking forward to that matchup obviously, knowing them so well."
(On what makes Larry Fitzgerald such a good receiver…)"Oh man, maybe that he's 6'4" two hundred and….nah…Besides the athletic tools that he has, he's just an extremely cerebral football player. He knows X's and O's. I've had a number of opportunities just to talk to him about football and one of those things that I've taken away from him is that he really goes into games knowing what defenses are going to try to do against him, the different techniques. He has this huge, I don't even know what to call it, but he just has this knowledge of defensive coordinators, defensive players that it's just impeccable, it's incredible but it's also not surprising because he's had so much success you'd expect when you see how much work he puts into it, it's not surprising. Larry is obviously going to, he's going to go down as a Hall of Famer but I really can't say enough about the man because I mean he's old as dirt and he's still playing at an extremely high level so he's just a professional through and through."
(On if there was a big learning moment the first time he saw Fitzgerald play, similar to how Richard Sherman felt after covering Fitzgerald for the first time…)"Absolutely, because I mean he's just a figure. Right, it's Larry Fitzgerald. I remember playing Madden with him on the cover so it's just one of those situations where you look at a guy who you know nothing about prior to meeting him but then once you meet him, you realize how much he really loves the sport, how much he puts into it, how dedicated he is and like I said, how much of a professional he is. So very similar to [Richard] Sherm, once I got to speak to him, watch him, it just changed my perspective on the game of football. Before, I was just getting by on my athleticism, but talking to Larry and some other guys across the league, they really taught me the chess match that's within the game of football. I think, personally, Larry is probably the best body language and mannerism manipulator at the receiver position. He does an excellent job of just not giving anything away and also telling people that he's going one way when he's actually going the other so it's incredible to watch. It's really artwork on the football field to me, so yeah, I had a very similar experience."
(On if he talked football with Fitzgerald or if it was more life philosophies and what he took away from those conversations…) "Yeah, first, Larry didn't want to talk about football. It was me, I kept pushing him, asking him questions. Of course, I'm trying to get an advantage right, but he just wanted to know who I was as a person, as a man. That to me was, in the moment, I didn't really appreciate it but once I took a step back and as I got older, I really started to realize how valuable that is. As you guys know, in our world, we don't really get asked about how are you doing or who you are as human being. It's always about football. Questions are always about football. But for another football player to really start to engage with me about me as a person and life outside of football, I thought it was pretty profound so that was the biggest takeaway that I had from Larry."
Defensive Coordinator Kris Richard
(On what makes Larry Fitzgerald so special…)"I think it's his love for the game and his teammates. He's a guy who does all of the dirty work, he's very humble out there, and he's a respectful player. He has really good football character about him; is that he is not out there to brag and gloat and he acts like he has been there before. He's sort of the purest form of what a Hall of Famer is. He's a guy who goes out there and consistently does the dirty work and he makes all of the tough catches, and he's normal. It's like that's just what he does."
(On if he ever got to cover Larry Fitzgerald in his career…) "Yeah, I did have the chance to cover him, but we're not going to mention that."
(On if he sees Arizona push the ball down the field as much with their backup QBs as they did with Carson Palmer…)"Yeah, it's in their DNA. They put the ball up, they have really good speed on the outside at wide receiver, and they have a quarterback with an arm to hang it out there. Obviously again, it's what they do and it's what they built their offense around. You have to be disciplined, they test your discipline in the running game, and you better be loose on the outside. Cover them tight and be on top because the ball is going to get hung up."
Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the Cardinals as the two teams ready to face off during the final week of regular season at CenturyLink Field.