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Carroll calls Sunday’s Seahawks-Rams game a ‘huge championship opportunity’

RENTON, Wash. – Coach Pete Carroll says L.A. Rams QB Jared Goff has been doing a great job this year, but the Seahawks defense will be closely watching someone else in the Rams high-powered offense when they clash Sunday.

Running back Todd Gurley is “the centerpiece” of the offense,” Carroll said, and “he’s the one that really you have to stop.”

As he does every week, Carroll set aside some time for an exclusive interview with the home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX.

Coach, battle for control of the NFC West this week, what are your thoughts?

Well, it’s a good game now. We’ve been looking forward to coming back and playing these guys. They’ve had a great year and they’ve stayed on top the whole time, so it’s a great opportunity for us.

In what ways does your day-to-day and week-to-week philosophy help you guys prepare you for a game like this?

Well, we prepare for every game like it’s the biggest game in the world. It’s the only thing we know, and it’s a championship opportunity every week. So when you get to games like this, you’ve been preparing all along and we have a discipline about that. In that regard, that’s why we don’t talk about big match-ups or the rivals, or that kind of stuff, it doesn’t fit our mentality. But this is huge championship opportunity and we hope we’re gonna play the way we’re capable.

We’re going to have Shaq Griffin mic’ed up  later in today’s show, he’s going to be making his ninth start as a rookie. What stands out to you about him?

Well, he’s been very consistent. And he’s been really a solid competitor. He’s been such a good guy in terms of his mentality, regardless of what happens in games, he’s very even-keeled, he bounces back. He does not let things affect him at all mentally. And he’s had a very strong rookie season.

There unfortunately have been a number of injuries on this team this year. But what do you look for specifically in a player that has to come in in a next-man-up situation?

I think self-confidence is really important. You know, a guy’s really gotta believe in himself.  He’s gotta step in there. He knows there’s a responsibility that a lot of guys are feeling about it and all. Guys that don’t have that self-confidence are worrying and they’re going to be thinking about other stuff.  A self-confident guy’s gonna have a chance to believe in himself, know he’s capable and that gives himself the best shot.

A high-powered Rams offense comes into town this week. It’s going to be the second week in the last three weeks that you’ve faced the top two scoring offenses in the league. How do the Rams differ from the Eagles, though, who you played two weeks ago?

Well, this Rams team is really built around Todd Gurley’s production. He’s the centerpiece. He’s been a fantastic player, you know, run and pass — he’s been unbelievably consistent. So that’s probably — it’s more focused there. That doesn’t mean Jared Goff isn’t doing a great job. It’s just that he’s the one that really you have to stop, you gotta keep your eye on him, whether it’s in the passing game — first down, second down or on third down he’s a big factor also. So that’s a bit different.

Sean McVey is just 31 years old. What do you think led to his success so early as a head coach?

I think he’s had good upbringing — his grandpa was in the game, you know? And I’m sure he had been around it. He’s very, very precocious. He’s way ahead of the game from most coaches at this time. but i think it’s probably — I’m guessing, I don’t know, but I’m guessing that he was kinda brought up in it. So he’s doing a great job.

Russell Wilson is 23-4 for a quarterback coming off of a regular season loss. That’s the best winning percentage by a quarterback since the merger. What do you think makes Russell so resilient?

It’s a great stat. It does speak to who he is and how he approaches the game. He does believe in himself so much, he knows he can get good things to happen, no matter how dire it make look or seem.  And he’s not going to let what just happened to affect what’s coming up next. and I think that shows up in one game to the next as well. So, very confident, very directed and a very focused football player.

He’s just one touchdown pass and 18 rushing yards away from becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to finish multiple seasons with 30 touchdown passes and 500 rushing yards. What do you think he has to do to be among the all-time greats, or at least be in that conversation?

Well, you’ve got to play a real long time. The all-time greats never did it in 5 or 6 years, you know? He’s got to get in those double digits and keep doing it. There’s nothing to keep him from being an all-time great. But that’s still a long ways down the road. But it’s fantastic to even be mentioned like that, and he’s a great football player and we’re lucky to have him.

Lastly, I’ve got to ask you about the crowd because they played such a big factor in that last game against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football. You expecting the same tomorrow?

Well, I hope they just keep stepping it up like they do. One thing you can tell — the 12s are going to show up. You can count on them. So this will be a great opportunity again — day game a little different than last one — but I’m sure they’re going to be a big factor, we’re counting on it.

Our Twitter question this week … Coach, when are you going to write another book?

(Chuckles). I’m not really tuned in to writing a book right now. Making that happen the first time was hard enough, you know? I may contribute and help out with some stuff, but I don’t really want to sit down and try to do that again.