Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
For the last couple weeks, QB Russell Wilson, I think he had 10 touchdowns his first nine weeks and has had 11 over the last three. What has kind of exploded for them? Is it something with him specifically, or is it just the offense really clicking? (Pete Gilbert)"Just listening to their coaches talk since their break, I think Pete [Carroll] and the rest of them said that they're getting the ball out quicker, and then just the timing of everything was a lot better and that they had really worked on that hard. It really shows. He [Russell Wilson] is getting the ball out quick, receivers are running good routes, and the running game sets it all up."
*Is there any part of you that wishes QB Russell Wilson had stuck with baseball instead of going into football? *(Ryan Mink) (laughter) *"There's a lot of me that would have said that, that I wished he would have stuck with baseball. He's a really good player, a really talented athlete, great with his feet, [and he is] playing very well right now – especially even as a quarterback, not even as just an athlete. He's playing really well as a quarterback. Add onto that, that he's just such a fine athlete. He's a tough guy to defend. They're a tough *team to defend; I shouldn't just say him. They're a tough team to defend."
Dean, their safeties in Seattle have been playing together for so many years. How important do you think the improvements that S Kendrick Lewis and S Will Hill III have made playing together this year are going to help them as a base going forward and kind of forming a bond? (Jon Meoli)"I don't think there's any doubt. We talked about it earlier in the year, when we just had our rotation like we did last year of secondary guys back there. It's just hard to get used to how somebody plays, how they communicate and when they communicate. The more guys play together, the better it is – the same way up front. You get used to playing beside [someone]. You're a linebacker playing behind a certain defensive tackle that plays a certain way, it's invaluable, I think, when you have continuity on either side of the ball."
Everyone is really proud of the defensive effort, but it was again the one big play that kind of broke your back. Is there any way to coach against that? You say it's the same thing every week, "It's not rocket science," but is it frustrating to keep having to deal with that? (Jon Meoli)"It was a matter of we've got to play [good] technique. Our eyes weren't in the right spot at the right time, and that doesn't matter, really, what coverage you play. You've just got to keep harping on it and keep working on it. And we shouldn't have given up that play, but we did. And so, we've got to coach off of it and try to coach them to correct it, and hopefully it won't happen to us again."
Dean, I know you and defensive line coach Clarence Brooks are very close. What has it meant to you to be around him as he has battled what he's battling off the field, and how much inspiration have you drawn from his fight? (Jeff Zrebiec)"The thing about 'C.B.' [Clarence Brooks] is if you were here every day during the day, you wouldn't even know there was anything wrong, and that's just the sign of a great man, a tough man, a committed man in every sense of the word. He's an inspiration to all of us. He's an inspiration to the defense and to the team, just the way he handles things. He just takes it on like it's a fight and [says], 'I'm going to win it,' and he is. Like I said, you wouldn't know. If anybody was around here every day and didn't know anything was going on, you'd have no idea. That's just the way he treats it, and so he's an inspiration to all of us."
Have you ever been a part of a team that went 10 games and didn't have an offensive holding call [in favor of] your defense? (Pete Gilbert)"Am I allowed to comment on lousy officiating?" *(laughter) *"No, probably not. I don't even know if I had that at Elmwood High School in 1975. Hey, it is what it is. They see what they see. They don't see what they don't want to see."
Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman
Opening statement: "I always try to begin reviewing last week, because I know that's where the questions start. I think [we are] trying to wrap our hands around it. There are really two bookends to that game: The first is that we couldn't overcome the 14 points that we had a chance to get early in the game on the second and third drive with Dan's [Brown] catch, and then we didn't get in the end zone on the sneak. We didn't convert on third down to put ourselves in a position where we didn't have to have a fourth down. And then on the other side of it in the fourth quarter, we had a third-and-1. We had the ball; we felt we were in control. We had a holding penalty. We couldn't overcome that. The last drive of the game, we didn't do enough to help Justin [Tucker]. We got three plays, and we got three yards [of] total offense. We didn't do well enough on both sides of that game in the middle – 32 completions, 38 minutes [of possession]. Our two young backs, I thought, did well, protected well. We got Matt [Schaub] hit a couple more times than we'd like. We take a lot of pride in keeping our quarterbacks clean. We faced a very good defensive line. The two inadvertent tipped balls, certainly, hurt us. We overcame one with the drive, but we didn't overcome the other touchdown. That really was it in a nutshell. We're talking about a lot of good things that happened in between and six or seven plays that really – as in most games – make the difference, and they certainly did for us."
Looking at this week, if you had to go with QB Jimmy Clausen, how much of the offense would you be able to do with him? Obviously, [there is] familiarity with you working together, but the language isn't quite the same. (Pete Gilbert) "That's exactly right. It's a great question. I think the best … We put a game plan together through the week. We have a menu of things that we can run. Last night, we sat down after practice and went over the things we feel really good about. We'll continue to pare it down and get to the things that he feels the best with – both running and throwing the football – and that's what we'll do on Sunday. But, we have enough in [the game plan] that we can stretch the field vertically and horizontally. We have a run game in where we have an adequate menu of runs and things that he can do. I think we feel good about that. So, if that comes into play, I think … And the one thing is, I've been through this with Jimmy before in Chicago where we had to get him ready quickly as well. I think it's something that we'll do well with."
**Is that what you're preparing for, Marc? *(Jeff Zrebiec) *"I think that Jimmy [Clausen] is the guy practicing right now. Certainly, Matt [Schaub] is in the meetings. He's all over the game plan. He knows exactly what to do and where to go. It's just a day-to-day thing from Matt's standpoint. And while Jimmy is here, certainly, he's getting all the reps."
**In what areas have you seen QB Jimmy Clausen improve over time? *(Ryan Mink) *"Well, it has been a year. He's throwing the ball accurately out here in practice. He's a real student of the game. He's a 24/7 guy, in terms of the time he's spending to learn what he needs to do to get done and help our football team. I think the impression we have is that he's moving along and doing some really good things out here, quite frankly. We'll see how that progresses through the week."
During the game-planning, does it limit you at all when you're going up against a defense as talented as the Seahawks is, or does that matter? (Garrett Downing) "I think that – as I said – we have a menu of things that attack their defense and what they do. They're not a sophisticated defense in terms of the volume of things they do, but they certainly are exceptional at the things they do well. They have a talented team, obviously. We all know that. They have great structure. They have great ways of getting to different things and allowing their guys to play fast. We've tried to organize our game plan, certainly, to take care of the difference-makers that they have – they have some very good players up front and in the backend – and still attack them in all phases."
**Marc, not in just the last two games – but even the games you had chances to win – how much have interceptions hurt specifically? *(Jeff Zrebiec) *"Turnovers are, obviously, explosive plays, and turnovers are going to really set the tone for whether you win or lose games in most cases. We take a lot of pride in trying to take care of the football, and things happen during the course of the game. Both decisions that Matt [Schaub] made [in Miami], he was going to the right guy – to the guy who was potentially open. Obviously, it didn't work out that way. We try to make the right decisions, get the ball to the right guy. Sometimes it doesn't work out. Certainly, when you're turning the ball over, it makes it very, very hard on your football team."
This is your second season with QB Jimmy Clausen, but what stands out about him as a quarterback? (Jamison Hensley) "He has great work ethic. He understands the game very well; it's important to him. Physically, he has a quick release. He's generally accurate throwing the football. He has really humbled himself over the years in terms of the things that he has had to go through in his NFL journey. He had a very difficult first year. The word out of Carolina was he handled himself in an exemplary fashion – showed great leadership – in a very, very difficult season. That showed up last year being around him, that the guys will rally around him. He's mentally tough and physically tough, and he has come in here under unusual circumstances and at an unusual time. He's preparing as hard and as completely as he possibly can."
Marc, both of your offensive tackles have been banged up – T Eugene Monroe for several weeks and T Rick Wagner missed practice yesterday. G/T Kelechi Osemele is someone who has played some tackle in the past. Has there been a consideration to use him? Even G/T Marshal Yanda I know has played tackle. (Luke Jones)"If you're out here for an entire practice, you see that we move people around. [Offensive line coach] Juan [Castillo] does a nice job of that – giving everybody opportunities to get work at different places, because of our injury situation. Everybody has to be ready to do different things. We move people around during practice, not just … We move 'K.O.' [Kelechi Osemele] around. We move Ryan [Jensen] around, James [Hurst]. John Urschel has moved just about everywhere. The only guy who really hasn't is Marshal. That's the way we've been practicing throughout the season."