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Thursday Practice Transcript - 11/10


Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

Talk about RB/RS Leon Washington… How does his background at running back help him to return kicks? (Ed Lee) "I think it helps him a lot. It's always been my opinion that running backs have a better feel for kick returns than a lot of receiver-type guys that do that, because they see plays set up every time when they take the ball from the backfield. Kickoff return, being more of a pattern-blocking, it's a point of attack and how to adjust. I think he's a real good example of that."

He's not having quite the year he had last year but is he the same guy? If so, how do you neutralize him? (Ed Lee) "He's the same guy. I believe he's second in the history of the National Football League in touchdowns scored by kickoff returns. So he certainly has our attention. We have a lot of respect for him; he's a fine player. He's another one of those guys who is returning the ball with both punt returns and kick returns. So, anytime you get a skilled athlete in space, there's an opportunity for the return team to make a play. So he's a fine player."

David Reed had a couple nice returns last week. Do you think he's starting to put it together? What could that mean for you guys? (Garrett Downing) "Well, we certainly hope that that's the case. David had a couple of fine returns. He also put the ball on the ground, and he also missed a return that we had set up for him. So, it's a work in progress. It's real typical when you watch the game from a different perspective than in the video room… David gets a lot of credit for the return. Those returns were really well-blocked, the ones that he got. There was another one that he didn't run very well that was also really well-blocked, and then he puts the ball on the ground. So, oftentimes, punt returners get too much credit and too much blame. It's the same thing a week ago. Much like a quarterback… I mean you always see that situation happen. Like always, this next week is a new week. We have a new challenge. It's a new scheme. It's a different kicker, so we'll see what happens."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

Last year, [Jim] Zorn would do this drill where he would throw blocking pads and swipe at the ball with Joe [Flacco]. What are you doing this year to help him with fumbling? (Kevin Richardson) "Same thing."

John [Harbaugh] was saying how he feels like you're really close to breaking out with the running game, and he's been encouraged by the progress. Obviously, you had the 76-yard touchdown run called back. But, do you agree with that? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yeah, there's no doubt I agree with it. There are some simple things we've got to get cleaned up. It's mostly technique stuff. It's not the line. It's not the backs. It's not the tight ends. It's just a combination of things we have to continue to get better at. We're going to get some pretty challenging defenses against the run; this week is another one. This team is in the top three in the League, giving up fewest yards per carry. A lot of times the defenses you're playing have something to do with that. But at the same time, we have stuff that we know we have to get taken care of no matter who we're playing against. We've got good backs. Especially as the weather turns and we're heading down the stretch here, we have to pick up our running game a little bit."

Seattle has some unusually tall defensive backs. Is there any change in scheme and in technique for the receivers and how you're approaching that this week? (Mark Suchy) "Yeah, there are always little things you adjust with guys – taller guys, longer guys. Yeah, we'll make those adjustments. It'll depend on… Each guy is a little different. It's not every receiver doing the same thing. It really depends on the receiver that we have and his size and how they match up. So, some little things we'll adjust."

Ben Grubbs isn't 100 percent, but even when he not 100 percent, how much of an impact can having Grubbs back in the lineup at all be for you guys? (Dan Kolko) "Well first, Andre [Gurode], I thought did just a tremendous job for a veteran player who has never played one snap at left guard. For us to get the productivity that we got out of him, especially with another new guy [Bryant McKinnie] next to him, I thought was tremendous. Getting Ben back – and he's pretty close to 100 percent – he's a great player. He's always played well here. Anytime you get a player like that back, you feel pretty good about it."

Crowd noise is always a factor in Seattle. (Cameron: "No doubt. Loudest stadium I've ever been in.") What can you do in practice to kind of… (Matt Vensel) "The same stuff we do every week – crowd noise every day. The good news, [operations/equipment staffers] Doug [Van Gelder] and Keith [Mathews], who do our crowd noise… I take that back, the loudest I've ever been in are our practices. (laughter) Seattle's the loudest stadium I've been in because, at times, you can't even hear the quarterback screaming at the top of his lungs in the huddle. But it'll be equally, if not louder, in practice. You just try to simulate it as best you can. Doesn't do much for your hearing… Trust me when I tell you."

What do you do during a game when you can't hear the quarterback at all in the huddle when he's screaming like that? (Ryan Mink) "Just read his lips. I mean, that's what you do. The same thing you guys would do. It's no different if you were in a critical situation, you just read the person's lips and play ball. That's what you do."

Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano

What has changed for Paul Kruger that has allowed him to have an impact? (Tom Worgo) "I think just getting the opportunity. We knew he had the talent to do what he is doing now. I think he is just taking full advantage. He is older, he is more mature. He understands and knows the package inside and out. He is working really hard during the week. I think that is just a byproduct of his preparation showing up statistically on Sunday."

What have you seen on film from [Bernard] Pollard when you go back and look at the games? (John Eisenberg) "A guy wreaking havoc. Obviously, you know he has been playing with the injuries. He is one of the toughest guys we have in there, and everybody in our locker room would tell you that. [He is a] big, physical presence down in the box. He is a threat – every time we put him down there – for the offense. They have to account for him as far as a blitzer coming off the edge or coming inside. He has been doing a great job for us in the run game. Pass game-wise, he matches up well with tight ends. I know the guy [Steelers TE Heath Miller] last week caught a few on him, but there were a few push-offs, this, that and the other, but [he] didn't give up big plays, so he is doing a great job."

How much were you involved in, when you heard the team was looking at [Pollard], how much say do you have in that? (John Eisenberg) "You know what? They find them, and they bring them in here, we work them out, we look at the tape. What we saw on tape and what we heard on the street, all that stuff, we heard nothing but great things. But, that's credit to our scouting department, 'Oz' [general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome] and everybody else. They just have a way of finding these guys, and then it's a credit to our defensive room. The veteran leadership we have in there, the mentality, the expectations, they come in there, and they find out right away how we do business. And, he was perfect."

Have [Pollard's] coverage skills surprised you, given that was kind of the knock on him in Houston? (Jason Butt) "He had that 'box-safety tag.' He goes out in preseason and has a couple of interceptions, and he is covering guys. He is a talented guy and for a big, physical guy. He is almost 230 pounds. He is doing a great job. I am not surprised."

Are you preparing for both quarterbacks this week, coach? If so, what are the differences in both [Charlie] Whitehurst and [Tarvaris] Jackson? (Mark Suchy) "Probably the biggest difference is… Charlie [Whitehurst] is a good athlete, but Tarvaris [Jackson] will stand in there, and he can beat you with his arm, and he can beat you with his legs. We have to do a great job being disciplined in our pass-rush lanes when we do blitz, be conscience of him getting out, making sure that we do a great job with contain. He's got out on some people and made a lot of, not plays down the field, but ran for some first downs, especially on third down. Both guys are capable. We've seen them both, but we're expecting the other guy [Jackson]."

They haven't put up a whole lot wins, but it seems like their offense, with Marshawn [Lynch] and Sidney Rice and some of the other receivers, do have potential for balance. What do you see out of those guys? (Jason Butt) "Just like you see. They [have] a great runner. He had a very successful day against these guys when he was at Buffalo. Our guys were talking about it right when they came in the building on Monday morning. As a matter of fact, they were talking about it on the plane ride home, about Marshawn. He is a big, strong, physical guy. We have to do a great job of setting the edge with him, like always, and stopping the run. They have two little quick scat backs they bring in there as change-of-pace guys. They are more than capable of moving the ball. They have moved it on a lot of people. You look at the Dallas game, they had a bunch of yards – just turnovers killed them. They threw three picks, which cost them."

What is the key to getting off to good starts defensively, the way you guys have this year? (Brent Harris) "Just going out and starting fast. If that means dialing something up early, then that's what we'll do. I think No. 1 is when we do a great job on first and second down, we stop the run, we get them in third-and-long, we get them reeling a little bit. Obviously, you get a lead, and you make them one dimensional. That really helps."

Looking back at the Pittsburgh tape, what did you see as far as not being able to create as much pressure on Sunday as you have been able to the entire year? (Luke Jones) "They are playing at a high level. They are a lot better. The offensive line was a ton better than what we saw in the first week. It could've been a little bit of them not knowing exactly what to expect in the first week. But, Ben [Roethlisberger] is playing as good as anybody in the League right now. That offensive line was rock solid. They were not going to let us get to the quarterback. They were going to protect, they were going to take care of No. 55 [OLB Terrell Suggs]. He faced double teams and chips the whole day. We had to do a little bit more coverage than pressure. As soon as you start pressuring them, the ball is coming out quick, just like you saw them do against New England. We knew it was a possibility, so we were prepared both ways."

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