The San Francisco 49ers are heading up north to take on the Seattle Seahawks in the regular season finale. This game has major playoff implications for both teams as the winner of the Week 17 clash will be crowned NFC West champions. Here's what both locker rooms had to say about the divisional battle.
Kyle Shanahan on the Seahawks addition of running back Marshawn Lynch:
"They signed a good one. I know Marshawn will come in and he'll be ready regardless of how much time he's had off. Marshawn's a competitor, he's a battler, so I think it was smart of them."
Shanahan on how helpful it is having Richard Sherman in the locker room ahead of the big game on Sunday night:
"I think that's huge. Players, coaches, anybody who has some experience, you always want to lean on people with experience. It doesn't mean they're always, everyone with experience, is the right guy to, but talking about Sherm and stuff, he's very even-keeled in how he talks to these guys. He's pretty wise in that area. I think it's helped us throughout the year being able to talk to guys like that. When you start out, I forget how we started out, 8-0 or whatever it was, talking about how long the year is and that this doesn't mean anything and what to expect 10 games from now and things like that. That's where we're at and people have been through that before. It's been good to talk throughout the year and now we're kind of in that situation that people have been in before, like Sherm and people. Now we're in the exact situation we've been talking about for a while."
Shanahan on having George Kittle and Emmanuel Sanders healthy for this matchup against Seattle after both missed Week 10's matchup:
"We've got two guys who make a lot of plays. The more guys you've got out there who can make plays, the better chance it gives you. We're definitely pumped to have those guys back. I think our tackles are a lot healthier now also. We're missing our center, which is a huge loss. We'll see how it goes with (OL Mike) Person this week, but you never know. Each game is different with injuries and stuff. I know they've got some and we've had some throughout the year, but that stuff's not going to matter come Sunday."
Shanahan on how different the Seahawks are compared to the team's last meeting in Week 10:
"I don't think much at all. I know the last couple of weeks they've had (Seattle Seahawks DE Jadeveon) Clowney out and I know their safety's (Seahawks S Quandre Diggs) been out and their corner (Seahawks CB Shaquill Griffin. Expect to get at least two of those back this week, so to me, they haven't changed much at all on defense. And offensively, they're missing their running backs, they're bringing two new ones in and they don't have their left tackle (Seahawks T Duane Brown). It's similar to how we played a ton of games this year. I know there's a lot with injuries as there is with everyone, especially when they just happen, but I think that's part of football and I don't see a big difference in this game than the last game."
QB Jimmy Garoppolo on the Seahawks defense:
"They're very locked in to their keys. Their rules, you know, they follow them. They are all tied together, there are not many holes in it so they make you earn everything down the field. Their speed is impressive. Linebackers can fly sideline to sideline and it's pretty evident on tape."
Garoppolo on his expectations for George Kittle in Week 17:
"I'm sure George, just like everyone, will be juiced up. He always brings it, game day, practice, whatever it is. The energy that he brings is huge for us, so it will be good to have him this time."
Garoppolo on facing Seahawks defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney after his dominant performance against the 49ers in Week 10:
"You always have to take that into consideration, but it's not every play he's going to be back there. You've got to know where he's at, be aware of him, but you can't let it distract you too much."
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh on if the Seahawks addition of Lynch changes the team's preparation:
"For us, it doesn't. (Seattle Seahawks RB Chris) Carson's a big bruising back, very similar to how Marshawn is. So, the tackling plan, all that stuff, is still the same. He's a load to tackle, he's going to lower his pads and you've got to have a specific way to tackle him."
Saleh on the Seahawks offensive line:
"I still think they've got good pieces there. Obviously, they're professional athletes. I never look at a professional athlete and say he's lesser than anything. Duane is a really, really good football player. He has been for a very, very long time. I'm sure whoever they have is very capable of being able to protect Russell and do a good job with it. That's about the extent of it. Duane's a hell of a football player."
Saleh on how he coaches the team to defend Russell WIlson:
"For the most part it doesn't matter if you're playing a pocket quarterback, if you want to call it or a running quarterback, it doesn't really matter. You have to have respect to your rush lanes. You have to be respectful to the level of the quarterback when you're around the edge. You have to be respectful to the pocket push and what could happen and being tied together and what could happen if one of your guys takes an outside move and what you need to do to counter it. But at the same time, you don't want to handicap your guys into being so worried about where this guy's rushing that it just becomes what I call a 'mush rush' where no one is really getting off their blocks and getting to the quarterback. You're very cognizant of your rush lanes and you still rush to go get the quarterback and understand what he likes to do, what are his tendencies, where does he like to escape, and you just play ball from there. Understand, he will break the pocket a couple of times. We've just got to be great in the backend. Be relentless in what we call plaster rules. Just being relentless with our plaster rules and making sure that when he breaks the pocket we find a man and stick with him. The front just has to remain relentless in their pass rush and understand that the play's not over until the whistle blows."
CB Richard Sherman on the Seahawks new additions to their offense:
"I don't worry about it. We're going to defend who they put out there. We don't worry about who they're bringing in. We'll worry who they put in when they put them in and we'll go out there, execute and get it done. If they brought in a quarterback off the coach it wouldn't change anything for me. We're going to go out there, execute our game plan and go get it done."
TE George Kittle on missing the Week 10 matchup against Seattle and what he saw from the Seahawks defense in that game:
"It was brutal to watch. I will say (Seahawks DE Jadeveon) Clowney is pretty good. He's an incredible player. They have a lot of key players. They have a lot of guys that know how to win. When you have a quarterback like that, a Super Bowl winning quarterback, you're going to find ways to win. We definitely have to be on top of our game if we want to go in there and try and take it from them."
DL Nick Bosa on the task of tackling Marshawn Lynch:
"My brother (Los Angeles Chargers DL Joey Bosa) told me he's one of the hardest guys to tackle. So we'll see if he's still got it, which I'm sure he does….I'm sure he'll be hard to tackle. I'm sure they'll throw him in some crucial situations. I'm sure he can run downhill pretty hard still. So, we'll have to be ready for it."
T Joe Staley on how great it would be to end the losing streak against the Seahawks on the road to win the NFC West:
"It's the last regular season game of the year. It's for the division. So nothing needs to be said about that. We're looking forward to it. Looking forward to the challenge of playing up there. Somewhere where it's been known that we haven't won in a while. Our record is what it is up there for the last whatever, but it's an exciting challenge ahead of us. To go up there and win in a place that's known to be a hard place to play and come away with a win. Looking forward to that."
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll on the value of bringing Marshawn Lynch back to the team:
"Well, he's an extraordinary person. We've just been through so much and we know him as well as I think you can know a guy, what he brings and what he offers and all. He brings a lot to the table. He's as physical a player as I've ever been around. As great a competitor as I've ever been around. When you get to add somebody like that to your team, it only helps and enhances the mentality that we already cherish anyway. We'll find out how he can play and how he does. It's been a little while off. He looks great in the first couple looks at him in as far as his conditioning and all that. His weight is down. He's in a really good spot. He was very serious about getting ready for this opportunity. At the stroke of misfortune on some regards really opens the door, which it happens at times. He's ready to take the full opportunity at hand and see what he can do to help us."
Carroll on how Lynch and Robert Turbin looked in practice:
"They fit right in. You couldn't tell anything different. The workouts before we got them here, that showed as well. We were somewhat assured that they'd be okay. They looked really good out here."
Carroll on the 49ers having George Kittle for this matchup:
"He's an amazing player. He really is. He's a heart and soul guy for them, and a clutch guy, too. They go to him when times are crucial and all that. He's a fantastic player. Not just a catcher, he's a blocker as well. He's a good ball player."
Carroll on what makes Kyle Shanahan a good play caller:
"That's a good question because it goes way back. He grew up as a football guy. He was at camps with his pops from way back when. He was a little punk kid running around camps and stuff. He just grew up a natural. It just made sense to him. He's been way ahead of people his age in understanding of scheme and principles, the coaches he was around, the coaches that embraced him when he was growing up. He just learned it all. He's allowed, because of his background, he's allowed to be extremely creative and innovative. He's just almost a perfect product of a guy being raised to be a football coach. In particular, he's been an offensive guy his whole life. His dad was an offensive specialist as well. All their buddies and friends, he's just been in that conversation forever. It just paid off. He's very, very fortunate."
QB Russell Wilson on the 49ers defense:
"These guys are tough up front. They're flying around. They have a lot of great players up front. Those guys are making a lot of plays. Their linebackers – Fred (Warner) is making unbelievable plays at the linebacker position. Their secondary, obviously Sherm. Last time, we didn't get to see (Ahkello) Witherspoon, so he's going to be out there doing his thing and everything else. They have a great secondary. They have a great team across the board on defense. Offensively, they've been making plays and doing their thing, too. Like I said, it's a one game matchup. All the other stuff, all the stuff before the season, all the talk, all the critics, all the stuff outside really doesn't matter. It's about what happens between the white lines in every play, each moment. Hopefully, we can capitalize on those."
Wilson on playing against Richard Sherman:
"I think he's obviously a great player. He's so smart. He studies the game. We have to know that, and he's always been great with that. He's been having an unbelievable year. He's one of the best to ever play the game at that position. Got a lot of respect for him. That's for sure."
LB Bobby Wagner on having Lynch and Turbin back on the team:
"It was definitely huge. I ran into Marshawn (Lynch) last night. It was fun to see his face, fun talking to him, same thing with Turb (Turbin). I've been around Turb since college. To see those guys back in the building is definitely pretty cool. I'm excited to see those guys run the ball again and we'll go from there."
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer on how Lynch has looked in practice:
"It's been a lot of fun just getting to know him. I obviously didn't know him at all. It's been fun to be around him and talk a little bit of football and see his passion for the game. It's really inspiring."
Schottenheimer on if he expects Sherman to shadow DK Metcalf:
"Well I think it shows that people realize how explosive DK (Metcalf) can be. I don't think San Francisco is going to change. They might. They're always going to throw in some wrinkles but, I don't know if they're going to do that. I think they feel very comfortable with Witherspoon and Richard. I think it speaks to the respect that DK has right now in the league and the type of player that he is. It's a little harder to match Tyler (Lockett) sometimes because we move Tyler into the slot and stuff, and some of those guys don't want to go inside and play in the slot, they're more comfortable outside. But he should get used to it, he's going to see it a lot over his career."
Schottenheimer on the 49ers pass rush:
"You start with the front four. Obviously, Bosa gets a lot of the credit. They move him around a little bit. He moves from left to right some. Across the board they're very good. Armstead, Buckner, Solomon Thomas, they're really good. They're coached hard, they play really hard. They're really good with their line games and the movements which makes it very difficult. They're just very talented and they're well coached, and they play hard and with a lot of pride."
Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. on the challenge of defending Kittle:
"We watched him the whole season and last season. He's a special player. He's versatile. He can block. He can catch, run good routes. Yards after catch. He carries people with him. Has a great attitude about the game. He's a special player."
Norton Jr. on what makes Kittle such a special player:
"Well, just his attitude, really. I think the way he approaches the game. The special players have certain attitudes in how they approach the game. It doesn't take you long to figure out the special ones from the not so special ones. He's certainly a guy that really makes their motor go."