Coach Tom Coughlin
Q: Has the staff tried to do anything different with the offense as the struggles have continued through the season? You don’t always do the same thing, but maybe…
A: Well, it’s not the same thing. There are different buckets that you would draw things from and different concepts and so we change the concepts up and we try to create some different personnel combinations, so it’s not all the same. It’s never all the same, but it’s according to what we see in terms of the defense that we’re playing against.
Re: fact that core of offensive playmakers have been together for awhile
A: We’ve got a lot of new parts, too. You’ve got players that haven’t played and players that have an experience. They may have listened to your presentation a couple of years, but they haven’t really experienced it. So those new guys are trying to soak it all in and be a part of a better form of execution, which we’re still striving to get to.
Q: Does it help the coaching staff that you guys have been through problems together?
A: It certainly helps that we can communicate in a speedy fashion and recognize the issues, perhaps have some thoughts about having been there before, as you say. But by and large, the fact that we have been there and have worked together for a while is certainly a plus.
Q: You guys have so many turnovers this year. How do you evaluate the offense and its success when you’ve had so many turnovers?
A: Not very well. We’ve turned the ball over. We put the opponent in position to score. We’ve denied ourselves drives and given opportunities to the opponent, things that we preached forever about, and because of that and other things, we’re certainly not scoring enough points or the way we would like to and so we’re disappointed and frustrated just like everybody else.
Q: In terms of Hakeem and not getting into the end zone, can a receiver have a productive season without scoring touchdowns?
A: Well, he had a pretty good game the other day without scoring a touchdown. If the other day is an example, he played well even though he didn’t get in the end zone.
Q: Hakeem had a long catch of 51 yards last week against San Diego. Was that the best you’ve seen him look in a while as far as speed and comfort?
A: Well, it was a well-executed play that the ball in the middle of the field was and he did it very well and the ball was right where it had to be and he made a nice play on the ball.
Q: Do you think
A: I’d like to think in a body of work it is. He certainly has some impressive numbers and he’s been there. He’s a tough guy and refuses under any circumstance not to be in there. I think I would say yeah. The time that he’s been here, this is a good season.
A: There wasn’t any indication of anything. It was just the decision was made to go ahead and do this.
Q: With as many players as you have on IR, do you find yourself trying to make time just to check on them during their rehab?
A: Most of them, when they do have the surgery, they end up eventually a day or two later in our training room, so that gives me a chance to get in there and say hello to them.
Q: Do you think it’s important to check in on them?
A: Sure it is, absolutely. It always is. There is some rehab that’s done at the hospital, but the majority of it is done here so it’s good to check in on the progress of the players that are rehabbing from surgery or from whatever.
Q: The Seahawks’ punt coverage has only allowed 1.2 yards per punt return. What’s the reason for that?
A: Because they have an outstanding punter that punts the ball with a very good hang and distance ratio. The coverage is exceptional. They have two outstanding gunners, a bunch of speed players that are involved in the coverage and they’ve done a very, very good job of that, not only their punt coverage team but their punt return team has done well, too.
Q: When you look at the Seahawks, do you see the team that you wanted these guys to be record-wise?
A: I think I know what I want our team to be. Certainly Seattle is a good football team, but I wouldn’t compare our team with anybody. If we were playing as well as we could play, we’d have our own personality and our own distinction.
Q: With special teams year to year, do you look at it like it’s hit or miss depending on the available guys that you have?
A: It’s not hit and miss. There’s a great deal of time and effort that goes into preparation for special teams and it’s never hit or miss.
Q: Did JPP do anything today?
Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride
Q: Do you relish the challenge of facing the league’s top ranked defense?
A: Whether you do or you don’t they’re here. It always gives you an opportunity to test yourself, see how you fare against one of the better teams in the league and certainly one of the better defenses in the league. Some of the things they do should give us some chances. Our guys are always clamoring for one on one opportunities, you’re going to get more than you’re fair share of one on one opportunities to win against some pretty good coverage and guys that play very physical. You have to fight your way through the holds and continue to battle. Usually with wideouts, it not as much as a physical contest as it’s going to be on Sunday because it’s the way they play.
Q: People talk about their secondary, but not a lot of people talk about their line. They have a lot of quick guys that they rotate in and a lot of big guys that they play as their base.
A: I think their front is as strong a component as anything they have. Part of the reason the secondary plays as successful as they do is because of the ability level of their front. You’re right. They do have a lot of guys who are very specialists, so the bigger and stronger guys play on first and second down and then they put in their speed rushers on third down. It’s a dynamic mix that most clubs would love to have, but very few do. We’re going to have our hands full. They are very good upfront and they rotate a lot of people. They have great speed. They take advantage of their speed, they really do.
Q: Is there anything you coach your receivers to do differently during the week, just to fend off the hands?
A: You work on facing a bump and run man every day, you work on your releases, you work on the one on ones. We get once a week live against our own DBs. I think the biggest thing is you just have to prepare them to recognize what they’re in for and that is from the moment the game starts to the moment until the game ends. Guys are going to be up in your face, grabbing you, holding you. If you think they’re going to be called and expect that to be the solution to the problem, you’re going to be sadly mistaken. They’ve perfected the art and you just have to keep fighting and battling and not give up and you’ll have your chance to make plays.
Q: Are there certain routes in general that work better against a bump and run?
A: Yeah, a lot of them.
Q: You can’t say which ones though?
Q: Has Pugh’s progress one of the more encouraging elements for you this year?
A: Yeah. I think particularly over the last three or four games, it was steady, slow, and then all of a sudden, now things seem to have fallen into place where he has a sense or feel for what is going on around him. He’s reacting to the stunts, the line games that caused all kinds of anguish early on. He’s handling the one on one situations much more effectively, but he’s really seeing the overall team part of the game, the two-man games, the three-man games that were toying with us early in the year. Now again no one is perfect, but he’s seeing it very well and now all of a sudden you’re seeing the ability level because the game is slowed down a little bit for him. You can see the good feet that he has, the temperament that he as, which is outstanding and the professionalism. He’s shooting his hands out, he’s doing a good job with that. Some of those things you didn’t see early on because how fast the game was to him.
Q: Victor is like 27 yards away from his third straight 1,000 yard season. Has this been a tougher 1,000 yards for him because of what he is seeing?
A: I think that is one hundred percent on target. There’s no question that we haven’t been as effective in some of the other spots and therefore people gear up defensively. They’re certainly very cognizant of where he is at all times. Sometimes we call it funnel coverage where everybody is man to man and then there is a zone player in there. Usually that zone player is looking to see where Victor is and then we’ve gotten a lot more doubles. It was like what Steve Smith at the end, Plaxico Burress at the end. Those guys faced double coverage all the time and that’s what he’s being confronted with. Not every snap, but a lot of the snaps.
Q: You say at the end with Smith and Burress, but you’re hoping Victor is going to be here a long time?
Q: Are there ways you can kind of open that up for him?
A: Yeah. You can do that a little bit for yourself. The complimentary receivers have got to come and play. Whoever has the one-on-one chance, those are the guys who have to win for you. Defenses, if they want to shut down the run they can line up eight to nine guys and shut down the run, but it gives guys one on one opportunities to catch the ball. This is one of those teams. You’re going to have a chance to do that. They’ll play some two high, but not a lot. They’re going to have the extra guy around the box most of the day.
Q: What has allowed Cruz to still have success against those double teams?
A: I think some of the things we do schematically we can exploit and take advantage and in the streak package we do, he’s very good with that stuff. He reads that stuff really well, so that gives us an opportunity to run through a lot of that and then if you play off so often, we have hooks or sit down stuff, he does a very good job with it, and his ability level. It’s scheme and his ability level, which I’ve been very proud of the progress he’s continued to make. He’s one of the bright spots of the season.
Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn
Q: Why are the Seahawks so good at covering punts?
A: They’re very good. They’ve given up 15 yards because the punter does a good job with the hang and distance.
Q: Is it all about the kick?
A: Yeah. After Week 7, Tennessee was the last game, they went to an all Aussie punt, so they’ll foot punt. So obviously that doesn’t travel as far, but he’s got the ability, which most guys don’t, to kick it with enough hang time and enough distance to be able to get away with doing it all over the field.
Q: How much harder is that to do here? They probably don’t play in quite as windy conditions as over there.
A: …but I think he kicks the Aussie a little bit different than like the true Aussies. Most of those guys kick the point and I think he kicks a little bit more of the belly of the ball, so he probably can get away with it. We’ll see.
Q: Is he giving up yardage for that technique?
A: A little bit, but it’s worth it because they haven’t had anything returned. Fifteen total yards and, I think, seven in the last six or seven games.
Q: Is there an acceptable net when he does that?
A: He’s close to 40. Two to three years ago, not many people were hitting that and now everyone is hitting that. He’s not giving up any return yardage and he’s getting enough distance and I think they play in two domes out there and they play in a little warmer weather and so he does a really good job with it, but they’ve got excellent coverage guys. They’ve got really good gunners and most of their starting linebackers are all on the punt team, so they’ve done really a nice job.
Q: What happened on the offsides call with
A: He lined up offsides.
Q: Was he in the neutral zone or did he jump?
A: No, he didn’t jump. He just lined up offsides and so those wide guys, they’re responsible for making sure everyone else is onside, but to do that, you’ve got to make sure you’re onside as you look inside. You’ve got to check with the official and he didn’t do that.
A: Ideally we wanted Rueben. We moved Rueben up to catch that and he let it go through to the defensive tackle, which wasn’t the plan.
Q: Do you cringe when you see a defensive tackle running with the ball?
A: Well, we knocked one out from a defensive tackle against Minnesota, so you do worry about ball security. They’re not used to doing that. It’s a different world for them, but they know how important the ball is and so he did a good job of taking care of it.
Q: How’s the shoulder?
A: It’s getting better day-by-day. That’s basically it.
Q: Any thoughts on Sunday?
A: I don’t know yet. I’m rehabbing like I said I’ve been. The shoulder’s getting better, that’s a good thing.
Q: We saw you out on the field a little bit, on the bikes at least.
A: That’s it, I was on the bike. I wasn’t on the field. I was just looking at practice. That’s all I can do. I was out there yesterday, I was rehabbing and have been rehabbing ever since. I’m starting to feel better.
Q: Is this getting frustrating for you?
A: Not at all. Everything happens for a reason. I’m one of those cats that believe that everything happens for a reason. It could have been worse but it’s not.
Q: At some point are you going to need surgery to get this repaired?
A: Not at all. It’s a day-by-day process. I already got a second opinion on it and it doesn’t need surgery; it just needs rest.
Q: There were four games left and now there are three games left. When do you start to think about shutting it down for the season?
A: I’m never going to shut it down. If I could go, I’m going to go. There’s no point in shutting it down. If I could help my team win football games, that’s what I’m going to do. It’s bad enough I missed two games already, I feel like I missed four games or six. It sucks just watching your teammates play without you, but it’s part of the game. You never know when you’re going to get hurt.
Q: Is there a difference between saying you’re going to shut it down and the idea of just being smart the rest of the season?
A: Yeah, being smart. That’s a good way to put it, but shutting it down is not going out there and playing at all, going on IR, that’s shutting it down. If I feel like I could contribute to the team, I’m going to go out there.
Q: What value is it for you to still be out there and not put yourself on IR? Is there value to being out there and being part of this?
A: Yeah, just being out there with your team. Your team is out there sacrificing, practicing every day. You just want to be a part of that, period. That’s the value right there, do it for your brothers. I’m not doing it for me, I’m still part of the team and still coming in and going to work and getting rehab done and trying to do everything to take care of this situation to be out there with my teammates.
Q: What are some of the challenges that you face with Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson as a package?
A: Well you’ve got two runners. Wilson does a great job of not getting hit more than anything. He’s very creative with the ball in his hands, whether he’s pump-faking or running the read option play. Marshawn is just a bully out there when he runs the ball, it takes multiple guys to bring him down. I think he’s one of the only running backs to have 1,000 yards the last three seasons, so he’s a solid back, he’s their workhorse and we have our hands full trying to tackle him.
Q: Is it like a double-edged sword trying to keep Wilson in the pocket because he can also throw the ball real well?
A: Yeah, and he does a good job of creating plays on the run whether it’s a busted play or not, so you have to pick your poison. Each play you have to play to the tendencies, you have to understand that they’re going to make plays but you want to limit the plays. More than anything you want to stop Marshawn, I think. Russell Wilson is just the extra, the icing on the cake, but if you let him get going, Marshawn, then they have the play action and everything else is open.
Q: How different is Russell from some of the scrambling guys that you have faced? It seems like you’ve gotten better as the season’s gone on against those guys.
A: On film it’s hard to say. I just know he doesn’t get hit. He’s really good with the pump fake, he’s really good at creating plays, he’s really good at extending plays and he really executes their offense very well. He doesn’t seem flustered that much. Our goal is to stop the run, foremost, try to frustrate him on third down, get him to third and long and have our offense score, maybe put him into a pass situation where he can’t rely on the running game or the play action pass, which he’s really good at.
Q: You’ve practiced against
A: He’s just crafty. He’s very crafty in his route running, he’s very explosive too off the break, so that’s one of the main things that allows him to be so explosive with his playmaking ability because at one instance he’s slowing down to shake you and then he explodes, breaking the cut and as a DB with your back turned or in press, it’s hard to cover at times. Him and Eli are on the same accord as well, so when he has the option route, there’s nothing you can really do in the slot at times. I think the hard work has just paid off over the last couple of years.
RE: Marshawn Lynch
A: Marshawn, it takes more than one person to bring him down. I played against him before in the past and watched plenty of games, the film we’ve watched. You have to get 11 guys to the ball. You can’t just leave one person hanging out to dry to try to bring him down himself because he’s a tough back, strong back, fast, quick. He’ll make people miss.
Q: So many times it seems like the refs are supposed to blow the whistle for forward progress and they don’t. With that kind of guy, he can squirt out and all of a sudden he’s gone for 50 if you let up thinking the play’s gone.
A: Yeah, so you definitely can’t let up. You have to make sure, you have to go within the rules but you can’t just assume that he’s down. You can’t let up, you have to try to make sure he gets down to the ground or you clearly hear the whistle.
Q: What do you think the most difficult thing is about containing Russell Wilson who moves the pocket very well and does make plays in that regard?
A: Because when you’re rushing him, you can’t just fly off the ball and go crazy and try to get your best pass rush move because you’ve got to have some lane integrity so you can keep him from scrambling and limit him to making big plays with his feet or prolonging the plays that makes it tougher in the secondary to cover.
Q: How much more of a passer has he become? It seems like a lot of teams were trying to keep Russell Wilson in the pocket but he can also hit his receivers down field. How much of a challenge is that for you guys?
A: It’s big. You get a lot of quarterbacks that if they’re big time scramblers, once they switch to scramble mode they’re looking to run and get down field. Wilson, he’ll get outside the pocket, he’ll make people miss and he’s always looking down field. I guess with his baseball background he’s got a quick release and he’s able to get rid of the ball, side-arm, different ways. It’s something that you’ve just got to try as hard as you can, especially the D-line, and keep him contained in the pocket and not let him get out because it puts so much stress on the secondary.
Q: You guys have done really well against the running game. Of course, Marshawn Lynch is another challenge. How important is it to and make Seattle one-dimensional?
A: It’s huge, especially coming off of last week where we felt like that was probably our worst game against the run all year. We didn’t hold up as well as we’d like to, so this week is going to be a big challenge for us because we’re going against another top back in the league and another team that likes to run the ball a lot, not just him but the quarterback, too. We’ve got to be assignment-sound, we have to be a whole lot better than we were last week and make sure we get back to the type of football we were playing against the run.