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Carroll: ‘There was a statement made last week; now, we want to make a difference’

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 10: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks looks on against the Carolina Panthers in the first half during the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at CenturyLink Field on January 10, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

RENTON, Wash. – Pete Carroll was more than fine with his team taking symbolic action last weekend. The next step, he believes, is to take steps toward making a real difference.

Every week, Carroll takes time for an exclusive talk with the official home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX. In the run-up to the team’s Sunday night game against the Indianapolis Colts, he talked about why the Hawks are so good in primetime, what he’s hoping the nation sees in the game, and – yes – a little more about the protest against racial inequality that took place during the national anthem last weekend.

The Seahawks are 12-1 in primetime home games under Pete Carroll. Coach, why do you think you’ve been so successful under the lights at CenturyLink Field?

Our guys are real comfortable here, but it’s all about the 12s being nuts. The setting and the fans and the connections that the players and fans have – it’s been extraordinary, and sometimes it’s just too hard for the other team and hopefully we can do that again.

The whole nation will be watching tomorrow. What do you want them to take away after seeing your team?

A team that’s just playing lights-out ball. Just flying around, having fun doing it, with great enthusiasm and great toughness. I hope that’s what they see. That’s who we are, that’s what we want to become every time we go out on the field and show anybody that’s watching.

What was the key to some of the offensive momentum you found last weekend in Tennessee?

I think Russell got very comfortable after a while. It was a shaky start for us, we just weren’t sharp enough. And then once he got good with what was going on, the setting and all that, the offensive line really picked up, they were protecting the heck out of him, and guys were making the plays.

What did you see out of right guard Oday Aboushi?

He looked really good. He really helped us communicate – his experience showed up. I think he helped Germain (Ifedi) feel comfortable with the communication from Justin (Britt). I think the whole thing just  worked well. He covered ‘em up nice in the pass protection, and just seemed to accent and help us quite a bit.

Your teams have traditionally been good at not allowing explosive plays. When you watched the film, is there a common thread the explosive plays Tennessee had?

No. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. We made a big mistake on the alignment on the big run and we just let him get away from us. We should’ve tracked him down and didn’t get that done. The two passes were totally different in makeup. We jumped offsides, they used that against us. They got the ball snapped, we were a little out of whack, and then didn’t pursue properly. In all of those plays though, if there is a common thread, it’s once the ball breaks, we’ve got to get ‘em on the ground and give us another chance to stop ‘em. That did show up.

How familiar are you with Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett?

We watched him very closely through the draft process. We have studied him quite a bit, so our coaches feel comfortable with that. Of course, we went back to New England and all the stuff that he’s done there. We’ve seen the games that he’s started and when he came off the bench and all of that. We feel comfortable with him. He’s a very, very good player. He’s really strong, tough, good composure in the pocket – and he runs, and they know it, they use him. So, it’s a really nice mix that he brings to this football team, and in the short time that he’s taken over, he’s done a nice job.

Does the film change at all when he’s in a different system? You were looking at the New England tape, and now he’s in Indianapolis?

No, New England used him also to run the ball some, and as a pocket guy. So, he’s got a nice spread of what he offers his team, and both teams I think have used him right.

 I know there’s a lot of anticipation about the national anthem. There’s been a bunch of national dialogue this entire week. But what’s your message to the fans going forward?

Really, there’s a couple things to say here. One, I would like our fans to understand our players are in-tune with how much they respect this whole opportunity right here. They understand what’s going on, and they’re trying to make sure that everyone knows we care so much about our country, we love our country, and all that the flag stands for, and all those who have fought to make us safe and free. We get that, and we want that to be out there. But, our players have a big message. And the message is about equality, and we’re going to continue. There was a statement made last week, and now we want to make a difference. And our guys are tuned into that, and so we’re going to continue to work at that when the time is appropriate. It’s in their hearts, and we support the heck out of them. These are great young men and they want to do great things. They’re representing not just themselves – they’re representing their families and the people that they’ve grown up with. It’s the right thing to do, and hopefully we’re going to make a difference.