Pete Carroll says he has an 'ongoing conversation' with head of officiating

SEATTLE - Every week, Pete Carroll takes a few minutes to talk to Q13 News' Aaron Levine.

This week, they talked about Seattle's "dangerous" matchup with the Buffalo Bills, Pete Carroll's very regular conversations with the NFL's head of officiating, how the defensive back position has evolved over the decades, and lots more.

Watch Q13 News at 5 p.m. for our exclusive Gameday pregame show, then watch our newscasts at 9, 10 and 11 p.m. for more exclusive analysis and interviews from the Gameday crew.

How valuable was the extra day of rest this week, coming off of two really tough road games?

It did help. And you’d be surprised – we’re in such routines that just a day off felt like a big break. So, guys came back and we practices really well this week.

A big honor for Cliff Avril being named NFC defensive player of the month. He’s always pretty consistent, but what’s made him so effective this year?

I would attribute it to a great offseason. He was really healthy, and got to work out beautifully throughout the offseason. He had a great time with us through OTAs and all that. Hasn’t missed much of anything, we’ve been able to rest him – and not because he’s injured, just because he’s needed a break. And he’s just been on his game. I think playing with the rest of the guys again, everybody’s accented somewhat.

You’ve got the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football. They’re undefeated against the NFC West – they beat the Cardinals and the Rams. What makes them so dangerous?

They’re a new team. And even in mid-year, they shifted gears a little bit on offense by changing the coordinator and all that. So you gotta catch up with them, a little bit unpredicatlbe in that regard. They’re a very wide-open team. They’ve got a lot of speed, and a lot of big-play-making guys, and an aggressive defense that has caused a lot of problems. Why they’ve been successful is they’re so good at keeping the football – they’re the best team in the NFL at holding onto the ball.

Is there a particular characteristic that defines Rex Ryan-coached teams?

They seem to bounce back really well. They’re always able to get back in it and hang tough. You think maybe they’re in trouble, then he gets ‘em rallied and they come back and they play great football. They lost two, then they won four, then they lost two, so they’re coming back. We have to be ready for a terrific fight from them.

You’re a former defensive back – how has that position evolved over time?

I think a lot of it’s the same, in the technical side of it. But what has changed is the hitting part of it, which is way different than it used to be. You have to play the game differently to abide by the rules – which is a good thing – but you used to be able to hit guys in the head, and forearm ‘em in the chops, and  knock guys out and hit ‘em any way you wanted to, and that’s not part of the game anymore. It’s a good shift, but that was a lot different. You go back and look at the old style of play in the secondary, and you see a lot of guys getting knocked out.

You mentioned a couple weeks ago that you had a conversation with (NFL senior vice president of officiating) Dean Blandino about defensive pass interference. Did you have a talk with him this week about offensive pass interference?

Yeah we did, we did talk about that. That was topical coming off last week’s game. We’re just trying to continue to understand how they interpret things. It goes through cycles a little bit. There’s a lot of talking about the hand-fighting and stuff that’s allowed right now. We need to understand that so we do that well and stay out of the problem area. And then we had a couple calls last week that would’ve been called another way if they looked at it again.

Do you have a weekly conversation with him?

Whenever necessary, which is basically every week. Yeah, so we have kind of an ongoing conversation.

Umpires in baseball, some of them have smaller strike zones than others. Do you research officiating crews ahead of time to find out what their tendencies are?

As a matter of fact we do, and we do want to know what their numbers are that they tend to call, because they’re not all the same. Some guys protect the quarterback better, some guys don’t allow hands as liberally as others. And so we just have to know that so we can play the game accordingly.

Your philosophy of every game being a championship game: Does that lend itself to the success that this team has had on Monday Night Football, and in primetime games in general?

I hope so. I think we have a good understanding that it’s the same game of football, and to make it into something that it isn’t may cause you to do things that you wouldn’t normally do. We want to play like we always play, and so we’ve been very solid about that and dedicated to the discipline that that takes to not go with the ups and downs of the matchups and the rivalries as people want to talk about it and I think it’s helped us.

I know you’re a San Francisco Giants fan, but how about the Cubs this year?

Well that was really fun to watch. They had such a fantastic year, picking them up during the year, they had so many runs and they had big games and they could overcome anything. And the obstacles that were in their way just got brushed aside. And in the playoffs, here they go, all the way through it, they get down 3-1 and it just didn’t affect them. And I thought it was just fantastic to watch Coach Maddon and his guys. You could see the great character on that team, and the teammate sense that they have, great sense of one another, and it showed all the way through the playoffs.

Our Twitter question this week: What’s the difference between coaching in college and the NFL?

People always used to ask that question when we first got here. I don’t think it’s as different as people think. We get more time with our players – we get to study more, we get to dive in deeper. When you’re going to school, there’s a lot going on in college. The difference comes when players have been here for four and five years. Now they start to get into the after senior year phase. Our players start to develop more of an opinion, and a sense of what’s going on, and so you have to dig in deeper with these guys and relate more on a personal basis, to make sure that we’re making sense and we’re helping them and we’re finding ways to communicate with them and all that. But really, the ball is the same. It’s much more similar than it isn’t.