Five Takeaways from the Monday Media Session

Before the ridiculous questions get asked during the infamous Media Day that annually precedes the Super Bowl, Pete Carroll and several key Seahawks players fielded traditional questions on Monday. Here are some of the highlights from Carroll, wideout Doug Baldwin, linebacker Bobby Wagner and safety Kam Chancellor.

1. Pete Carroll recognizes that the Patriots unique alignments and multiple personnel packages make them a unique opponent. "This is a really smart football team we're playing," Carroll acknowledged. "They're really smart and Coach Belichick has always been noted for challenging his opponents, really in all ways. He continues to do that and so we have to. We're striving to stay ahead of that the best we can in the preparation and the awareness. Not all teams are like that, so this team really does heighten your awareness in the different things that they can do. So, hopefully we do a good job of that and we have a very smart football team, guys that have been together for a good while. They do communicate well. They have good awareness and all of that, but even with all of that, he's going to find something in there to challenge us that we need to be ready for. We'll see if we can get it done."

Some questioned Belichick (and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels) for the Patriots' unique alignments against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship that saw "skill position" players line up on the line of scrimmage and release offensive linemen into routes. Rather than gripe, Carroll seems to be acknowledging the Patriots' creativity and the stress that it puts on defenses. When (not if) New England attempts unique formations such as this in Super Bowl XLIX, the Seahawks must communicate and remain disciplined. Alignments can be tricky but passing to players not used to catching the ball also presents turnover opportunities for a ball-hawking defense like Seattle's. Perhaps most critical for the Seahawks will be reacting rather than anticipating the snap count. Tom Brady is a master at altering his cadence and the Seahawks - Michael Bennett, in particular - have proven vulnerable to jumping offsides.

2. Kam Chancellor and his teammates fully recognize what a weapon Rob Gronkowski is... and if they didn't, the barrage of questions about him reminded them. The 6-6, 265 pound Gronkowski was the subject of multiple questions posed to Carroll and every Seahawks defender. Chancellor summed up Seattle's collective feelings on the Patriots' Pro Bowler well.

"That's their playmaker, that's their go-to guy," Chancellor said. "They're definitely going to try and target him a lot, try to get him the ball in the game. We just have to play our defense, play our calls. Whatever coach calls, we just have to go out there and be fundamentally sound and play our ball."

3. Playing "our" ball could put Chancellor on Gronkowski one on one at times. The Seahawks are also likely to match up outside linebackers K.J. Wright and Bruce Irvin on the Patriots' star tight end and may even slide over one of their long corners, occasionally. The matchup, of course, everyone wants to see is Chancellor vs. Gronkowski. Count Wright among them.

"It would be a classic matchup," Wright said when asked about the potential showdown. "Our best against their best. Of course I've got my money on Kam. He's an All-Pro, he's the captain of our defense. I expect him to win every battle."

4. Bobby Wagner recognizes the complexities and versatility of New England's offense. "I think this a team that is kind of difficult because you never know how they are going to approach the game," Wagner said. "One game they ran 40 times and the next game they pass 40 times. They are going to pick their poison and see what they can beat you by. We feel like we're ready for it. If they want to run the ball, we'll stop the run. If they want to pass the ball, we'll stop the pass. We're ready for anything they throw at us."

Wagner is right. The Patriots' versatility makes them a very difficult matchup. Gronkowski gets most of the headlines, but ultra-quick slot receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are significant concerns, as well, as is New Engalnd's constant rotation at running back. Of course, when you lead a defense as fast and physical as Seattle's, the Seahawks may in fact prove ready for anything New England throws at them, as Wagner suggested.

5. Doug Baldwin is a marketing genius and is looking forward to competing against Darrelle Revis. When asked Revis, Baldwin responded confidently but respectfully. "I am excited about it," Baldwin said. "I think that obviously he is a very talented cornerback. He is great at what he does and he has a reputation for being effective on the field and being a dominant defensive player. However, I do not shy away from anybody. I am excited about the opportunity to go up against one of the best."

Revis is clearly one of the league's best corners but for all of the talk about how "pedestrian" Baldwin and the rest of Seattle's receivers are, they get open often enough against Richard Sherman and the Legion of Boom every day in practice. Revis' length and relative fluidity have made him a Pro Bowler but don't be surprised when Baldwin is able to get open. Due to his great quickness, balance and awareness, Baldwin is one of the savvier route-runners in the league.

And speaking of pedestrian... Baldwin acknowledged when answering another question later about some of the talented receivers that used to play in Seattle and if he still feels that the Seahawks' receiving corps doesn't receive enough respect.

"I have a shirt underneath my sweatshirt that says, 'Pedestrians with attitude.' We enjoy the label because we embrace it." Just a hunch, but I get the feeling that we may hear/see that slogan a few more times...

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