What The Seahawks Are Saying About The Cowboys

HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL

(On the upcoming Wild Card game against the Dallas Cowboys) “It’s been a really fun week getting ready. It’s a great time of year for playing football. For the guys that have been there, they really regard it highly. The new guys are trying to figure it out, trying to draw from the guys that have been around, but man, it’s fun. It’s fun to coach, it’s fun to work, it’s fun to follow your teams and all that so we feel very fortunate that we’re in this spot. Just to kind of put it all together, Tre Madden is doubtful for this game. (J.R.) Sweezy is questionable and the rest of the guys are ready to go. Sweezy’s got a good chance. He feels great and we’ll find out at game-time if he can play, too. We made it through the week and we’re feeling pretty good about that. It just helps everybody feel good and excited about moving forward so we’re looking forward to it.”

(On what kind of factor playoff experience serves) “I think it’s valuable. It’s valuable. I don’t think it’s paramount. I don’t think you have to have it, but it’s valuable. The point is, is to realize that it’s just football. Once that thing starts, it’s ball. Guys have got to make sure that we do the things that we always do and we don’t do things that are different when you get into that situation. It’s way harder than it sounds and it’s a great challenge. It’s the same thing with primetime (games). It’s no different with that kind of stuff and when you play those games, you’ve got to be comfortable in the moment. You’ve got to be able to do what you normally do and play like you always do, and that’s a big challenge.”

(On managing Chris Carson’s workload as the end of the season) “Well, he’s raring to go again. Here we are 18 weeks into it and he’s really at the top of his game and feels great. The whole thought has been to continue to work guys in and play the position. It isn’t on one guy to get it done, for obvious reasons, and it’s worked out fine. He’s in good shape, ready to go. I’m fired up about him. Rashaad (Penny) is back too and Mike’s (Davis) ready to go and (J.D.) McKissic is there too, so we’re in good shape at that position.”

(On the environment of AT&T Stadium) “I think their scoreboard may get in the way of the sound – bounces back at you or something, I don’t know. It’s a real glitzy place, you know. When you come out of a football locker room ready to play football and you go into a night club – it’s kind of like we’re in the club, then wait a minute, you’ve got to play ball. Then you come back through the club and they’re all – anyways, it’s unusual. Then they’re right there with you too. Those people that are sitting behind us, I don’t know how they see the game. It doesn’t look like they care, they’re having such a good time. It’s an unusual place.”

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BRIAN SCHOTTENHEIMER

(On if the offense came together in week three against Dallas) “I don’t think of it that way. I think of it more just, we played well in that game against a really good team. Obviously, we got the running game going that game. That’s kind of the thing you think about, but Russ (Wilson) still played well. We still did a nice job on third down (and in the) red zone, stuff like that. It was the first game of the year that I thought we played a really good, solid football game.”

(On if much changes schematically in the postseason) “Not really. If you’ve played a team before, it’s always good to go back and look at what you did against them and what they did against you, but not really. Especially in our case, we just kind of do what we do and change the pieces a little bit but it’s just another football game against a good team in what will be a fun environment.”

(On the Dallas Cowboys linebacking corps) “I think they’re good players. They’re deep at that spot. Obviously 55, (Leighton) Vander Esch is playing well. Sean Lee is kind of a role player that’s a new role for him. Then 54 (Jaylon Smith) is a dynamic player. So, playing really, really well. Good group. They play hard for Rod (Marinelli) and Kris (Richard) and it’ll be a good challenge for us. They’ve made a lot of plays the last couple of weeks when you watch them fit in runs and showing up on QB pressures and things like that.”

(On what makes Dallas’ run defense so effective) “Penetration by the defensive line. They move, they’re always angling, sit there as kind of a staple of a Rod Marinelli type defense. They’re going to stunt, they’re going to move, try to create breaks in your combination blocks. Then the linebackers I think are playing at a high level and they’re fast down-hill players that if there’s a crease, they’re going to fit in the crease and then there’s really no place for a back to go, so he tends to want to hesitate or bounce. That’s when their speed shows up.”

QB RUSSELL WILSON

(On how the Cowboys defense has evolved since last playing them in Week 3) “They were pretty good the first time we played them. They’ve really evolved in a big, big way. Their defense has kind of been a lights-out defense across the board. They’ve got great pass rushers. (Demarcus) Lawrence is special off the edge, he really knows how to get to the quarterback and the rest of the guys too. Their linebackers have stepped up in a huge, huge way – Jaylon (Smith), (Leighton) Vander Esch. Those guys have been special all year, some of the best in the game. I think their secondary has done a tremendous job too. It’s going to be a battle. You don’t get this far for no reason. They’re going to be a great football team. They were really, really good when we played them the first time and we found a way to win. They’ve really improved in a big way, just like we have.”

(On how the Seahawks have improved since Week 3) “I think for us, we’ve grown a lot. I think our offensive line has been really, really good. D.J. (Fluker) – I think that was his first game playing – he did a tremendous job stepping in there. (J.R) Sweezy is a big deal for us too. The offensive line has just really come into their own – number one rush team in the NFL for us, which is something that we really wanted to do is to run the ball this year and also play-action and do our thing. Those guys have been a big, big thing for us. To think about adding J.R. Sweezy, a Super Bowl champ. To think about D.J. Fluker, a guy whose 350 pounds and just manhandles guys out there on the field – he’s pretty special in that way. Duane Brown has been tremendous for us all year, he’s an all-pro player at left tackle. You’ve got Justin Britt who’s special too as well and then (Germain) Ifedi’s really come into his own too as well. It’s been exciting in that way. I’ve said this to you guys before I think, George Fant has been a big, big player for us. He’s been really, really key. I remember last time we played the Cowboys too as well, Joey Hunt, he was really the player of the game for us in my opinion just because he was able to step in and play the center position against a very, very good defensive line. They did a great job of that. We’ve got a lot of guys that can do a lot of things up front and that’s great for us.”

(On the importance of getting off to a good start in the playoffs) “I think it’s all about the fundamentals of the game. I think that it sounds kind of generic, but it’s real. I think that the times we’ve been very successful, I think that we started really well in the sense of catching, throwing, running, blocking it up. I think in terms of our defense – tackling, getting some turnovers. I think those are the things you want to kind of just focus on at the beginning of games. There’s a lot of outside things going on in the stadium and throughout the week and everything else, but the players and the teams that can zero in and ignore all the noise, those are teams that are going to do the best. That’s why we’ve been successful in the playoffs before and that’s why we hope to be again.”

(On the importance of his first playoff win and on how Dak Prescott has progressed in his first three years) “I’ve been able to be around Dak several times and I just love his demeanor. Just watching him on the field when he plays too, watching on T.V. – he’s always on T.V. He plays in Dallas, so he’s always on T.V., I get to watch him a bunch. He’s a special, special player. He’s got a great demeanor, he’s poised, he’s competitive, he can make all the throws, he can run it too as well, he leads his football team. He’s fun to watch. I’ve been able to be around him too in the offseason a couple of times here and there and just really like how he leads. I just really like his approach to the game. I think that there’s nothing that he can’t do. I think he’s been a special player ever since he came into the National Football League and it’s fun to watch him. I think that for me, I think that what I’ve always tried to from my own thought process is treat every game as if it’s the last one. That’s whether I’m in middle school, high school playing ball or if it’s the Super Bowl. I think that’s always been my approach and it seems like Dak has that same approach. He’s got the right mindset and he does things the right way in that way.”

(On if he can spot the impact Kris Richard has had on the Cowboys defense) “I think Coach Richard, he was always great, even here just in terms of how he coached the players and his discipline in that. I always really enjoyed being around him and just how he coached the game. I think he’s doing the same thing in Dallas. He’s a tremendous football coach. He coaches up the players really well, you can tell that on their defense. They also have Coach Rod Marinelli as well, he’s been there for years – one of the best defensive coaches, defensive line coaches and defensive coordinators to ever coach. They’ve got two great minds coaching their defense and it shows up. They’ve got great players around them too.”

(On if he appreciates making the playoffs more after not making it last season) “I appreciate every game I get to play in to be honest with you. You always want to have a chance. Whenever you get to December, you want to have a chance to make it. I think that’s kind of always been my thought is give ourselves a great chance to go where we want to go, and that’s to win the whole thing. I think at the end of the day, we’ve been able to do that extremely, extremely well. Even last year when we didn’t make it, we still had a chance, a really, really close chance. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it last year, but every year’s a new year. The great thing about this team is the fact that everybody was telling us we couldn’t. I think that it shows the will of this team. It shows the heart of this team and it shows the mindset of this team to be able to think the way that you want to think and the places that you want to go. To think big, to believe big, to have that belief, I think to instill that on a daily approach. I think Coach (Pete) Carroll does a tremendous job of that, I think our players do that, the leaders do that and our culture around here – just in Seattle alone. Obviously in this building, but also just Seattle, our fans, how our fans really support us in a big, big way and that helps and it makes a big difference. They travel well, they’re always there for us. We’ll do whatever it takes, we’ll do whatever it takes. I know for me, I love nothing more than winning, so that’s my mental approach.”

WR DOUG BALDWIN

(On how they know it’s a playoff week) “Well, you know it’s a playoff week, right? I mean, it’s hard to get away from. There are more of you guys here, for one, and then obviously we know that it’s past week 17. But in terms of the atmosphere in the locker room, I think all of us are locked in. We’re focused. We understand the environment we’re in (and) the situation we’re in. We’ve been prepping for this all year. Russ (Wilson) just said it: we prepare for every game like it’s a championship opportunity and this is no different. We’re going to prepare the same way we’ve been preparing.”

(On getting to the playoffs despite his injuries) “Absolutely. I think the biggest thing is the emotional part of it. You feel like you’re in the playoffs so it doesn’t matter what’s thrown at you. You can handle it, and there’s a newness or a refreshing feeling to it because you feel like you’re going into a tournament where anything can happen and the only thing that really matters is winning so you put aside everything that you’ve been dealing with in the past subconsciously and you can go for it. I mean, I was talking to our equipment staff yesterday about this. I just feel so much more vibrant. The energy is there because I know it’s playoff time. We look forward to these moments, and I’m not saying that we treat them differently, I’m just saying that there’s a certain energy when you get into the tournament. It’s undeniable.”

(On if the crowds get more intense during playoffs) “You know, I don’t know – and this may be cliché to say, but because we play at CenturyLink (Field) and it’s one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, when you get to playoff games sometimes it’s not even as loud as what we experience during home games during the season. I wouldn’t say that’s a factor.”

(On making their mark in playoff games for the history books) “To be completely honest with you, I don’t think about that. Derek Jeter had a quote that stood out to me when he was talking about his retirement. He said that he wished he could go back and enjoy the moments, but the truth of the matter is – and he further explained this – was that you can’t enjoy those moments. You can’t think about the legacy while you’re in it. You have to focus on the task at hand, and that’s what we’re going to do. When it’s all said and done, yeah, I think that all of us will come back and look at all the significant accomplishments that we’ve made as an organization and as a unit of receivers but right now, we’re focused on Dallas.”

(On if Kris Richard has had an impact on the Cowboys secondary) “Absolutely. It’s very similar to the defense that I faced the past eight years. They have very similar technique (and) very similar coverage schemes. I think just looking at the tape, you understand exactly what they’re trying to accomplish and a lot of that, obviously, is Kris Richard and bringing the philosophy from here over to Dallas. It’s going to present a great challenge to us because we know how difficult that defense is to get behind and to make plays on so it presents a unique opportunity for us to demonstrate how good we are as an offense.”

LB BOBBY WAGNER

(On where he would rank Ezekiel Elliott amongst the players who are toughest to tackle) “Dang, just straight into the rankings, huh? No, he’s up there for sure. He’s one of the top ones. Him, (Todd) Gurley – I play Gurley a lot so Gurley’s the one who stands out to me but (Elliott) is definitely a tough dude to tackle. He seems to always fall forward so it should be fun.” 

(On what is different about the Cowboys from week three’s meeting) “Amari Cooper. That’s pretty much it. Their offense is the same but you add a guy like that that you can throw the ball up to or he can turn a five-yard route into a hundred yards or something like that, it changes your offense. Dak (Prescott) looks a little more confident, looks like he’s making really good decisions with the ball and Zeke (Ezekiel Elliott) is Zeke, running the rock really, really hard. It’s kind of what we did last time. They’re going to try to establish the run game to open up the passing game so we’ve got to do our jobs, make sure we stop them and we will.”

(On how Dak Prescott looks more confident) “You could just tell by the way he’s reading the coverages, the way he’s getting the ball out a little bit quicker out of his hands and things like that. You just kind of see the growth from then because I think when we played them, it was like game three and I think after that, they were probably like 3-5 or whatever the case may be, and they went on a little bit of a run and that’s kind of what you see on the run that they had, is just him making good decisions. Knowing when to run, knowing when to throw – because that makes it hard as a defender. If you play too soft for the pass, he gets the first down with his legs. If you try to go attack him, he throws it over your head and then add a guy like Amari Cooper to be that guy that he throws it over your head to, it makes it pretty tough.”

(On why they’ve been successful against Dak Prescott) “I think just getting after him. I don’t remember how many sacks we had, but we had a lot of QB hits. We were in his face a lot. I think with any quarterback, if you get in his face a lot and kind of disrupt him (like) we did, we need to do a better job on Zeke (Ezekiel Elliott) but it’s going to be fun.”

Seahawks Legend Lawyer Milloy raised the 12 Flag on top of the Space Needle on Friday as the Seattle Seahawks ready for their Wild Card playoff game agains the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday at AT&T Stadium.

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