Carroll: Jags’ ‘tremendously deep defensive line’ will pose big challenge for Seahawks

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Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (Photo by Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images)

RENTON, Wash. — Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the team win over the Philadelphia Eagles last week “elevates the standard a little bit for our guys,” but they now  will face a big challenge against the Jaguars’ impressive defensive front that is seven to eight guys deep.

As he does every week, Carroll set aside some time for an exclusive interview with the home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX. He talked a bit about last week’s Eagles game and then turned his attention to Sunday’s contest at Jacksonville.

All wins count the same, but some might be more meaningful than others. Last week’s win against the Eagles was a really big one for this team, wasn’t it?

I think you said it right — all wins count the same, they’re all championship games. Because that one game may be the one that makes the difference at the end of the season. But when we play a team with such obvious magnitude, that team we played last week was the best team in the league — lights out in all areas — so it was going to take a complete effort for us to get those guys and that’s what we got. So what we do take away from that, we know what it takes to beat the best team in football. So that’s important for us. The preparation, the mentality, the beginning of the game, the carry-through of the game, and then the finish of it — all of that is crucial to show that we are on track and have a chance to play really good ball. It elevates the standard a little bit for our guys, yeah.

You talked about Sheldon Richardson on this show last week. He goes out there, defends every blade of grass, and that punch-out at the endzone. How about that effort?

Phenomenal play. We’ve had some of those. Our fans have seen us come up with those kind of plays over the years. They’re just so hallmark, because you never, ever let up, that you can have a chance to stop them, no matter how close it is. Earl’s done it a number of times, Kam’s done it before. You’ve just seen those great plays and that is one of them. Phenomenal job of getting the ball out and taking care of it. Michael Wilhoite took care of it, got it out of the end zone somehow, off his foot or whatever. Great turnaround in that game.

Bradley McDougald was mic’ed up last week. Perfect time for that, he had 12 tackles last week. How comfortable has he become with this defense?

He’s doing really well. You can see that the communication is better and improving. What happens is they can say less and it means more, you know? He and Earl are working well together back there. Bobby and K.J. have to work with the safeties a lot. So all of that is coming together and he’s playing really good football. That was a terrific (effort) last weekend.

On the offensive side of the ball, Russell Wilson already has 15 four-quarter touchdowns. That ties a single-season record, with four games left. You’ve always said it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. So do you think this is a product of your messaging? Or Russell being Russell?

It sounds like over-coaching, too much emphasis. I don’t know about that, but I do know Russell is a great finisher. He has what it takes to finish. You’ve got to have belief in yourself, and preparation and all that stuff so you can function and then you have to go out and get the job done. He’s been doing this. Really, it’s not new this year. He’s been a great finisher throughout his career. But that’s a cool number. I think he has the chance to break the record.

In the running game, Mike Davis is making the most of his opportunities. You said last year he would be a starter on this team. So what can you say about him making the most of the opportunity?

We’re just very fortunate that he’s jumped up. It just looks like he’s given us a spark that we’ve needed. And he really hasn’t had enough shots yet to really show it all. But he certainly has made some big plays in both his opportunities.  First time he gets to come back and play with us again, so we’re looking forward to that. He’s maxing it out right now. so hopefully we’ll just keep growing and understand what we can do with him more so. And he can be as effective or more than he has been so far.

A tough challenge this week going up against a really difficult defensive front in Jacksonville. What makes them so special?

They have a tremendously deep defensive line. They have a rotation that goes 7, 8 guys and all of those guys are special. They all have talent and explosiveness and characteristics about them that make them unique. Just the way we like to see guys. They got it. That’s where it all starts. And they’re coming after you. They’re not a big blitz team at all, they just get pressure with four guys. So sometimes that’s even harder, because you can’t do anything about it. So it’s a great challenge for our guys. We saw a fantastic front last week as well. We’ll find out how these guys compare.

They haven’t had a winning season in 10 years. They’re 8-4 this year. What do you think has been the key to that turnaround?

Well, I think there’s been a lot of years of accumulating talent. They had a lot of room under the cap to go ahead and make their moves and they made very good choices, a great roster. And coach Marrone is doing a great job with them. Todd Wash is doing a great job with the defense. And the players are really responding to it. After a while you’re accumulating a lot of guys, and they’re going to be pretty darn good. They have a great roster right now.

Talking about Doug Marrone. He calls himself the bologna-eating champion of the world. He had 350 pounds of baloney sent to him this week. What is the most unique or unusual gift you’ve ever gotten?

Gosh, I don’t know if anything could match up to a 350-pound baloney delivery. Nothing close to that.

Our Twitter question this week … Coach, why do some teams with dominant defensive lines when it comes to the pass rush struggle against the run?

Well, sometimes there’s so much emphasis in getting off the football and trying to penetrate the backfield that you lose your discipline, you don’t play the kind of strict football you need to play for a good run defense. That’s not the case with these guys. These guys are fantastic. But there are teams in the past that were so pass-oriented, so sack savvy and driven that they don’t play the run as well and they run past the running game to get to the quarterback. There ain’t nothing wrong with that if they can make the play, too, if they’re really good at it. But that’s generally the case.