Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Seattle QB Russell Wilson on mobile quarterbacks

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(on being a captain in the Super Bowl) “Obviously, the Super Bowl logo means the world to us. It’s something that we take a lot of pride in. We wanted to get here. That was our goal, to go 1-0 every week and try to get here. Have a championship offseason, have a championship season. To have the captain patch in my second year, it’s an honor. My teammates are unbelievable. I just try to be part of the team and try to do everything I can to help our football team win and lead in the right way.”

(on managing his emotions) “I think the biggest way is just to be as normal as possible; enjoy the moment, take it all in. It is real. We’re playing in the Super Bowl, Super Bowl 48. At the same time, though, just be poised, be the calm in the storm. Play with a smile on my face and go after it, play one play at a time, enjoy the moment and just capitalize when the big plays come.”

(on whether he feels that Seattle must do anything special to win the game) “I definitely feel that if we play as well as we are capable, we have a chance of winning the game. They (Denver) are a great team; they make a lot of plays and they have an unbelievable quarterback on the side of the ball. Their defense makes a lot of plays, too. So we’re going to have to play A-plus football, but we have the players to do it and we have the coaching staff that has helped us get prepared and we’ll be ready to go.”

(on the comfort of having the Seattle defense) “To have a great defense is huge. To go against those guys every day has fully prepared me for big moments like this. To go against those guys on a regular basis – it’s only my second year and to go against an All-Pro corner in Richard Sherman, All-Pro safety in Earl Thomas, All-Pro safety Kam Chancellor, Byron Maxwell has played extremely well, and the defensive line. If you think about our defensive line, every one of those guys would easily be a starter on any defense. If you think about that, that’s a challenge for us every day. The linebackers make a lot of plays – Bobby Wagner, it leads with Bobby Wagner. I want to rise to the occasion, but to have our defense hopefully make a lot of plays , too, would be a great outing.”

(on the Seahawks 24/7 mantra) “Our mantra at the beginning of the year was, ‘Leave no doubt: Seahawks 24/7.’ It’s kind of something that we came up with together. Every time we step onto the field, make sure that we leave no doubt, have no regrets, go after it. Prepare the right way. Prepare the right way in the weight room, prepare the right way in the classroom, prepare the right way on and off the field. The whole Seahawks 24/7 thing, kind of the whole idea of we’re representing the organization, we’re trying to do everything we can to do the best we can to win a lot of football games and help this city do something it’s never done before. We’re excited about this. We’re here. It’s time to take advantage of it and time to go after it.”

(on believing that he was put on Earth for this moment) “My faith is so strong that I believe that God made me 5-11 for a reason. For all the kids that have been told, no, that they can’t do it, or all the kids that will be told no. That’s one of the reasons that I left playing baseball, to be honest with you. I had this urge to play the game of football, because so many people – I shouldn’t say so many, a handful of people – said I couldn’t do it. For me, it was one of those things that I just believe in my talent that the Lord gave me and I wanted to take advantage of it.”

(on wanting to ‘change the game’) “I want to change the game because, if you think about it, there’s a difference between being good and being great and changing the game. I think guys like (Denver QB) Peyton Manning have changed the game in terms of the way he thinks, in terms of the way he processes things. You see that about him. (New England QB) Tom Brady is the same way. He’s so clutch; people fear him when he steps on the field. (New Orleans QB) Drew Brees is a guy like that. And one day I want to evolve to that. It’s a daily process. You respect the journey, you respect the process. I’m just growing one day at a time and to be here in the second year is a good thing. I just have to keep going.”

(on what he does to help alleviate nerves) “I just stay poised. I always try to find a spot in the stadium to look at to help bring me back to zero, help keep me calm, to let me realize that God put me on that field for a particular reason in MetLife, and just enjoy it. Enjoy the journey that I’ve been on so far and just play one play at a time.”

(on the significance of being an African-American quarterback in the Super Bowl) “In terms of being an African-American quarterback, I’m not sure if people notice it as much anymore or not. It is something that’s real, though. I used to hear so many stories from my grandfather and people. My grandfather was president of Norfolk State for a long time, which was rare. My dad went to Dartmouth College and graduated from Dartmouth and went to UVA Law School and graduated president of his class. During those times, being African-American, that was hard to do, that was rare. It’s becoming less rare to be an African-American quarterback in the National Football League, which is changing the game in a way, which is awesome. I want to be one of the African-American quarterbacks to win. That’s a real thing, that’s a good thing. To let different ethnicities know that it doesn’t matter what you look like, as long as you believe in yourself and put the work in, most of all, and take advantage of your opportunity.”

(on ‘Turnover Thursdays’) “Turnover Thursdays – I call it No-Turnover Thursdays (laughing). The defense, they’re trying to find ways to get the football. They’ll do anything to try to poke the football out and, obviously, intercept the ball. It’s been a fun year, doing it. It’s an intense practice. Wednesdays and Thursdays truly feel like a game to us. That’s the separation that I believe we’ve gotten over a lot of our competition in terms of the season. It’s just by the way we prepare. We still do everything full-speed and it’s the end of the season, Week 24 or 25. To think about that and how hard we play all the time, it makes a difference come game time.”

(on other themes during the practice week) “Wednesdays are Competition Wednesdays. Thursdays are – I call it No-Turnover Thursday, the defense likes to call it Turnover Thursday – and then Friday is No-Repeat Friday. That’s that day we really laser in and try to focus on the details and have a perfect practice. We don’t shy away from that and we usually do (have a perfect practice). That’s kind of our mindset. Sometimes we go full speed, sometimes Coach (Head Coach Pete Carroll), depending on how he feels about us and our bodies and how ready we are, will slow down the pace a little bit, but it’s more of a mental thing at that point.”

(on Saturday walk-throughs) “Saturdays are a lot of fun. After we go over some certain plays that are difficult – some funky reads or anything that is a little bit different, some different checks – we’ll do that offensively, defensively and on special teams. Then we’ll go over situations. The thing that Coach Carroll has done a great job of is situational football: going over every situation possible, imaginable. We’ve done so many two-minute situations, end-of-game situations, end-of-half, so many different situations we get prepared for as a whole, as a team. Not just the quarterback or the defense, but special teams and offensively. (It’s) just understanding situations and being comfortable with those situations.”

(on the wind patterns in MetLife Stadium) “I’m not worried about it. Hopefully it won’t be too bad. Wind is a factor in terms of throwing the football and hopefully it’ll be nice and calm for us. I do know that playing in CenturyLink, playing in Seattle right along the water where our practice field is, it’s a beautiful place right on the water, so it’s a lot of wind a lot of times. We can adjust a lot of times pretty easily.”

(on learning from attending last season’s Super Bowl as a fan) “The biggest thing I learned from last year’s Super Bowl experience in terms of going to go watch is the time it takes for pregame. It’s different than normal. The time that it takes for halftime is different from normal. Normally halftime is 15 minutes. For the Super Bowl, it’s 45 minutes because of Bruno Mars performing and everybody performing and having a good time. You have to understand that you can’t get too high, you can’t get too low, you have to be calm and patient and have a plan, a routine, that you can go through. I’m starting to plan that in my head already, right now, today. I think that’s going to help us. Even though it’s our first time there, we want to be able to step into the situation like we’ve been here before.”

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.