A little after 8pm, an eruption of cheers and clapping filled the air around the Westin in Jersey City. The Seahawks had arrived. After a long plane ride from Seattle Coach Pete Carroll and his team entered the hotel and prepared for their first press conference in the big apple.
Coach Carroll took to the podium first and addressed the issue of his team not having a single player on the roster that had been to a Super Bowl, “First off, I would like to correct you, Ricardo Lockette was at last year’s Super Bowl” said Carroll. “We have heaps of experience. There is a lot of stuff in traveling here that we have to be aware of. It’s a long trip for us, when we’re staying here for the whole week. There are a lot of things going on. We have a tremendous support staff that will keep us on track with all of the logistics and all that, but basically we have to stay focused on the football.”
One of Carroll’s main focuses will be trying to slow down Denver’s historic offense. An offense that broke several NFL records this season including, Touchdown Passes , Passing yards and points scored. “They’ve done everything – broken every major record in the throwing game, points and everything. Peyton’s (Manning) been extraordinary. He’s had the year that everyone would dream to have. People couldn’t even dream to have the year that Peyton’s had before this season with all the numbers. We’re up against it” said Carroll.
Safety Earl Thomas also showed respect for Peyton Manning’s ability “He’s a great quarterback. He’s seen a lot of football. He’s been in this league a long time. That’s the reason he’s had so much success and he has the Papa John’s commercials and all that” said Thomas. “We understand what he’s capable of. That’s the great thing about preparation is how aware of all the little details as far as the situations, fourth down, red zone, fringe area, minus territory – all those come into factor when you talk about playing a guy like that.”
Coach also made sure not to forget another dimension of the Broncos attack, their ground game. “They don’t just throw the football ball. They do run the ball. They ran the ball well in games they needed to down the stretch. It’s an extraordinary challenge and we know we have a defense and good guys that can play over there; they understand what we want to get done and all.”
After Carroll spoke, the floor was opened up to the players. Cameras surrounded defensive back Richard Sherman, who was on his best behavior for his first press conference of the week. He addressed his comments after the NFC Championship game saying “I think in some people’s eyes, the comments overshadow the play because that’s what they were focusing on, but some people actually focused on the game and they noticed the play and understood what kind of play it was.”
Sherman received a lot of heat for those comments he made about San Francisco 49ers wide-out Michael Crabtree however he wants to be remembered for the play he made, not the comments. “I think in some people’s eyes, the comments overshadow the play because that’s what they were focusing on, but some people actually focused on the game and they noticed the play and understood what kind of play it was.”
The Seahawks begin practice tomorrow. Whether they practice inside or out all depends on weather and availability of outdoor facilities. The Seahawks will be spending most of their time at the New York Giants facility. Until the game on Sunday it is all preparation and practice along with some visualization. Quarterback Russell Wilson says visualize the prize is just as important as preparing for it.
“I’m big into visualizing and this moment right here is exactly what I visualized. Being here in this moment is one of those things I truly believed going into the year, after we played the preseason game against the Denver Broncos that we may play them. Ironically, we’re playing against the Denver Broncos. They have an unbelievable quarterback in Peyton Manning. I have so much respect for him and what he’s done over his entire career. He deserves all of the credit; he’s an unbelievable quarterback and human being. Just the energy in this area right now, in New Jersey. All of you guys here in the New York area, it’s going to be a great scene. It’s going to be a great game. It’s going to be a battle to the end and I’m really looking forward to that game.”
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