Seahawks Super Bowl report: Turnover Thursday; Earl Thomas knows Patriots will challenge his shoulder, Marshawn Lynch scolds media
Pete Carroll names has names for each day of the week. When the Seattle Seahawks coach reviews film of the previous game with his players, that is "Tell the Truth Monday." Following "Day off Tuesday" is "Competition Wednesday" and then "Turnover Thursday" before "No Repeat Friday" and "Review Saturday" finish the week before "Gameday Sunday."
This week's "Turnover Thursday" was part of Seattle's preparation for Sunday's matchup with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.
"It is the No. 1 thing that we emphasize in the program because we think it is the biggest single factor that determines winning or losing," Carroll said Thursday of creating turnovers.
"I think it's a really interesting fact. I threw it out here the other day, that in the last three years, we're plus-51 and so are the Patriots and we're way ahead of everybody else in that regard.
"It's a big commitment that goes across the board, all players on the team have to weigh into that. They obviously understand it like we do and it's been very helpful. So, yeah, today is that day."
Only the Green Bay Packers, with a plus-14, were better than New England's plus-12 turnover margin.
Seattle were right behind New England, who were tied with Houston, with a plus-nine ratio. The Seahawks and Patriots earned the top seeds in their respective conferences by taking care of the ball. New England were tied with Green Bay for the least number of giveaways and the Seahawks were third.
"Either the offense is going to win or the defence is going to win," Carroll added.
Winning the turnover battle is not the only thing Seattle has to worry about. New England coach Bill Belichick and offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels have used various formations to confuse opposing defences. An odd formation utilizing a tackle eligible and an ineligible receiver led to a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game.
"The Colts got fooled on that play," Carroll said Thursday. "It got confusing and they miscovered the guy. We don't want that to happen if we can help it."
Another challenge will be containing New England's formidable tight end, Rob Gronkowski, who caught 82 passes for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns during the regular season and has added 10 catches for 136 yards and two scores in the play-offs.
"He was blessed with that size, that speed and that ability," Seattle's 6-3, 232-pound safety Kam Chancellor said of the 6-6, 265-pound Gronkowski.
"He's a tight end for a reason. Like people used to say that I could be a linebacker or something. I tell them, 'No, I'm a safety.' He probably a tells people he's a tight end. I think his position is tight end."
The Seahawks have not had a player miss any practice time this week, but have five players on the injury report.
Offensive tackle Justin Britt (knee), running back Marshawn Lynch (back), cornerback Richard Sherman (elbow), guard J.R. Sweezy (ankle) and safety Earl Thomas (shoulder) were all listed as probable.
Thomas said Thursday that he is "feeling good" and has tried not to think about his injured shoulder. He does realize New England might try to challenge him because he will not be at 100 per cent.
"I'm sure they will," Thomas said. "They do a great job of trying to find matchups. That's a great challenge for me.
"I am happy for it. You want the ball coming your way. We'll see what happens."
Lynch complied with NFL media availability rules on Thursday, but began his mandated five minutes by berating the media for even being there when they know he doesn't want to speak with them.
"All week I done told you all what's up," Lynch said. "And for some reason you all come back and do what you did.
"It don't matter what you all think, what you all say about me. Because when I go home at night, the people I look in the face, my family, that I love, that's all that matters to me."
He did give short answers to some questions about his "Beast Mode" gear and his charitable efforts in inner cities, but gave plenty of "shout-outs" to his team-mates, family and hometown.