Pete Carroll takes on the last NFL team he coached before Seattle when the Seahawks host the New England Patriots in an immovable-object-meets-unstoppable-force matchup Sunday in Seattle. And while he reflects somewhat fondly on his time with the Pats, Carroll does confess there’s a little something extra to a game like this.
Pete Carroll joined Dennis and Callahan on WEEI in Boston to discuss his team’s defense, the crowd noise factor in Seattle, rookie sensation Bruce Irvin, the team’s need to prevent a high-scoring game against New England, Matt Flynn, Thursday night games and having to go up against the team he used to coach.
On his team’s top-rated defense:
“Basically it’s a bunch of young guys that are big and strong and they run real fast and they’re playing together. It’s a pretty new group. … We have one new starter from last year, but really in the last two years it’s a brand new group. And so we’re just learning, growing together. It’s a really fun bunch of guys and our chances are pretty darn good. Obviously we’ve got enough talent to be OK, so we gotta see if we can be consistent and keep putting pressure on.”
On if the Patriots can properly run the hurry-up with the noise the crowd makes in Seattle:
“I don’t think there’s any question they can. I don’t know what they’re going to do but they can do whatever they want. It’s not that hard. It’s not the noise. The guys run together and they hear what the call is and they go out there and go run the plays. So I don’t think that’s going to be a factor, but our place … it’s as good a crowd as you can hope for. And they love supporting it and they’re smart. … They will make it harder on cadence and stuff … as hard as it can get. But with the experience that Tom has, he’s not gonna be shook by this thing. But we’ll do everything we can to make it hard, and it does help our guys. We do play at a really high level at home.”
On rookie Bruce Irvin, who Carroll recruited at USC:
“Bruce is a tremendous kid. He’s worked harder than anybody in the program except for Russell Wilson. And he’s been on point with his study time, his habits, his practice effort and everything. And he’s a fantastic athlete. So I’m sure that Bill and those guys, they saw all that stuff. A lot of teams liked him, they just weren’t sure what to do with him. We were kind of relieved of that because of our background.”
On having to prevent a track meet:
“We haven’t scored a lot of points, so we have to keep it down. And we have to do it in a lot of ways. We have to be really good on special teams and play really smart on defense and take care of the football well. And if we do that, it gives us a chance as we grow our new QB. He’s an exciting kid; he can do a lot of really cool stuff. We’re just trying to not load him up and take him outside of where he’s comfortable.”
On Matt Flynn:
“He’s ready to play; he’s ready to go. But he’s never had a chance to practice on a full scale where he’s taken all the reps. He had an elbow that was just sore coming through the third week of preseason, and so we started to count his strokes and make sure we gave him a chance to get back. But that was exactly at the same time when Russell emerged as the starter. And Russell needs every snap, so there’s uncertainty to how much he can handle, just because he can still feel it a little bit. But he can play; he’s done great in practice when he’s had the chance.”
On the difficulties of having to play on Thursday nights:
“Well everybody’s got to do it so there’s no excuses here, but it is very difficult for them, sure. … You take such a beating, and if you play the way that we’re trying to play — we play so hard and tough — it just takes so much out of you. So you just have to find the cycle to get back on Thursday and then you do get the big weekend off, which is great.”
On if he’ll approach this game differently based on his time with New England:
“I didn’t leave it the way I wanted to leave it, but I’m pretty much past all that stuff. Been a lot of years since then. But I’m competitive, too, and I wish it would have gone better. I don’t like to look back at anything that didn’t work out right, so I had that thought but it certainly isn’t going to affect me. … There’s a little something-something in there, but that’s just something that I have to deal with. I’ve got my grudges and my issues, like anybody else. So it’s not going to affect much on this game plan, I’m sure.”