RENTON — The mutual admiration society that is Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and New England coach Bill Belichick has been in full swing this week as the two teams prepare for Sunday night’s game at CenturyLink Field.
Belichick is famously known for loving to talk about the opponent each week — anything to not give away anything about his own team. Asked again about Wilson on Thursday when he talked to Patriots reporters via Zoom, Belichick lavished what seemed like even deeper praise on Wilson than he had earlier in the week.
“This guy’s a tremendous player,” Belichick said. “Honestly I think he’s in a way maybe underrated by the media or the fans, I don’t know. But I don’t really see anybody better than this player. He can do everything. … You put him up against anybody since he’s been in the league, literally anybody, in almost any category really.”
Asked later about that comment and if he has a relationship with Belichick when he talked to the media via Zoom, Wilson noted he and Belichick hung out a little bit at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner in 2015.
“We spent a lot of time together there just talking ball, talking life and everything else,” Wilson said. “He knows the game so well. He’s obviously such a great coach.”
Wilson then said he wanted to deflect the attention off the talk of him and Cam Newton.
“I think about coach (Pete) Carroll and coach Belichick, two of the oldest guys in the game, 69 and 68,” Wilson said. “That’s the interesting matchup here. But I have tremendous respect for what he’s done.”
In fact, according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, Sunday’s game will be the oldest head coaching matchup in NFL history, with the two coaches having a combined age of 137 years and 162 days.
Schottenheimer: Game plan will continue to vary week to week
Much has been made of the apparent shift in Seattle’s offensive philosophy in Sunday’s win at Atlanta with the Seahawks finishing with a 35-20 pass-to-run ratio, including throwing 26 passes on first or second downs in the first three quarters.
But in his first meeting with the media since that game, on Thursday via Zoom, Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said to not necessarily expect that same sort of percentage every week.
Instead, he noted — as Carroll did earlier in the week — that the plan was focused on trying to take advantage of favorable matchup against Atlanta’s defense.
“It was something that we knew going into the game that we liked,” he said. “As we were game planning we saw some things that we liked. We felt good about some of the matchups and things like that.”
And as Schottenheimer hinted at, a New England team with one of the best secondaries in the NFL will present a different challenge than Atlanta, calling for a different gameplan.
“Honestly I say this all the time and it’s the reality of it — each week is going to be different,” he said. “Atlanta is going to be different than New England. It doesn’t mean we’re going to run it or throw it any more, they’re just gonna be different. And then Dallas (next Sunday’s opponent) will be different in terms of our approach of how you go into the game.”
Schottenheimer likes the view from up high
This is Schottenheimer’s third year as Seattle’s offensive coordinator, but Sunday marked his first game coaching from up in the coach’s box. He had previously been down on the sidelines.
Schottenheimer said he decided to switch things up after some talks with Carroll and Wilson in the offseason.
One thing he said precipitated the move is a rule change in 2016 allowing offensive coordinators to talk directly via headset to quarterbacks on the field.
“It’s something I’ve thought about for the last couple years because you certainly see things so much better from up there,” Schottenheimer said. “You’re able to see the defensive adjustments and see the play unfold and kind of almost anticipate more what they’re doing. So some that we talked about and just with where we are with Russ and my confidence level with him and his understanding with the system. It kind of became a no-brainer.”
Schottenheimer got to try it out during the team’s two mock games at CenturyLink Field and is totally sold after the win Sunday.
Schottenheimer cited one example of seeing an Atlanta corner jump a route on a certain look early in the game and then calling a play where Seattle decided to “test him with a double move” for a big gain later in the game (apparently a reference to a 37-yard pass to DK Metcalf in the fourth quarter).
“There’s no distractions up there,” he said. “You can see things so much better, like you can literally see things unfold.”
Defensive end Rasheem Green (neck) and offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi (pec muscle) each again sat out practice, making it more likely they’ll be out for Sunday night’s game.
If Green is out that would make it almost a certainty that rookie Alton Robinson will be active for the game after being inactive last week. Seattle may also have to turn to Damontre Moore to play more backing up L.J. Collier at defensive end.
Ogbuehi missed last week’s game as well.
Receiver Phillip Dorsett II (foot) and tackle Duane Brown were each listed as limited. Dorsett hopes to make his Seahawks debut while Brown is simply having his reps limited in practice.
New to the injury report is safety Jamal Adams with an elbow issue. However, Adams was listed as a full participant, which would appear to indicate it’s not a significant concern.
Seahawks again go indoors
The Seahawks practiced indoors again Thursday with the air quality in Seattle still an issue. But the team hopes a weather system that could bring rain into the area beginning Friday will clear things up so Sunday’s game will not be in jeopardy.