RENTON, Wash. — Before the season started, the NFL designated two hotels to house the AFC and NFC champions to come.
It wasn’t coincidence that the Seahawks booked the NFC hotel when they traveled to play the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium Dec. 15. They will be unpacking their bags in Jersey City there again Sunday night when they begin a week in New Jersey to prepare for Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos on Feb. 2.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll did not spend time after Sunday’s NFC championship win patting himself on the back. He hasn’t put much thought into returning to the area his work as an NFL head coach started when he ran the New York Jets for a year in 1994. He hasn’t reflected much in general. However, he knows the highest stakes are about to arrive.
“When it’s the Super Bowl, you’ve got to take note,” Carroll said.
Richard Sherman’s postgame ranting took place after the NFC title game, but almost all took note. Monday was a day of damage control for Sherman, who texted a statement of apology to an ESPN reporter for his outbursts about San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
Carroll—as lenient with swagger as a coach will be—thought enough of it to have a conversation with Sherman.
“I look at it like, we’re doing this together and my role, what I am the most, is I’m a dad,” Carroll said. “I look at it like what would I tell my son. There’s some stuff in there, really I think you should think about. It didn’t come out the way you wanted it to be.
“He didn’t feel right about that, so he came out and made a statement. We support him in that. There’s was a lot of great things that happened (Sunday) night (yet) we’re talking about some other stuff.”
During this week, the fervor around Sherman will dissipate, then be re-stoked next week when the Seahawks arrive in New Jersey.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks will get cracking on how to stop Denver quarterback Peyton Manning. Sherman wrote earlier this season that he thinks Manning is the smartest quarterback in the NFL. With him in charge, the Broncos put together the league’s best offense by almost 700 yards while averaging 37.9 points per game in the regular season.
Manning threw for a record 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards.
“Nobody’s ever taken more command of the game than he has at this stage of his career,” Carroll said. “The coaching staff has allowed that to happen, where he can be in total command of what’s going on. I think that’s great football.
“This is thrilling to have a chance to go against the best guy that’s ever played.”
The Seahawks expect to have all their weapons to counter Denver. Wide receiver Percy Harvin (concussion) should be ready to practice Wednesday, according to Carroll. Harvin missed the NFC championship game after getting banged around in the divisional-round playoff win against the New Orleans Saints. Harvin has participated in just a game and a half this season.
Linebacker K.J. Wright’s surgically repaired foot is sore, but Carroll said Wright will be ready. Carroll is not sure yet who the starting linebackers will be with Wright back healthy. Wright can play all three spots.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin’s path is less clear. Baldwin injured his hip Sunday against San Francisco and went to the lockerroom to receive treatment in the first half. He quickly returned. Afterward, Baldwin said his injury was “significant.”
Monday, Carroll said Baldwin will be slowed at practice this week because of what he referred to as a “hip pointer thing.”
Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (ankle) also is likely to be limited. Running back Marshawn Lynch will also get a break this week.
Carroll said he noticed a member of the 49ers’ sideline interfere with gunner Jeremy Lane when Lane was pushed out of bounds while trying to cover a punt Sunday. Carroll is disappointed the official specifically assigned to watch the gunner missed the call. He’s waiting to hear back from the league. … The Seahawks used rookie offensive lineman Alvin Bailey as an extra “tight end” Sunday to get more beef on the line in order to counter the 49ers’ stout outside linebackers. … Carroll said James Carpenter and Paul McQuistan played left guard Sunday because they wanted more experience at the position. Rookie Michael Bowie started at left guard in the divisional-round playoff game.