Carroll addresses questions about Seahawks' 'bad reputation'
Richard Sherman (left) and Earl Thomas combined for 13 interceptions and 148 total tackles this season. (USATSI)
Projected starters and key players for the Seahawks in Sunday's Super Bowl:
Russell Wilson, QB (3), 5-11, 206, 2nd season, Wisconsin:
Holds NFL record for wins at start of career with 24 ... Third-round draftee who immediately seized starting job and led Seattle to 2012 playoffs ... Dynamic runner who excels throwing on the run ... Poised in the pocket, very dangerous outside of it ... Played at North Carolina State, then one year at Wisconsin as grad student.
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Marshawn Lynch, RB, (24) 5-11, 215, 7th season, California:
"Beast Mode" with a penchant for Skittles ... Powerful back with a burst, broke 40-yard TD run in NFC title game ... Rushed for 1,257 yards and 12 TDs this season ... Also a threat as receiver out of backfield.
Michael Robinson, FB (26), 6-1, 240, 8th season, Penn State:
Former college QB who made transition to RB and now fullback ... Cut in preseason after three years with Seahawks, then re-signed in October ... Also has excelled on special teams.
Doug Baldwin, WR (89), 5-10, 189, 3rd season, Stanford:
Undrafted out of college, plays with an attitude about it ... Can get deep but is not a speed demon ... Versatile, made a 69-yard kickoff return in NFC title game ... Wilson looks for him in key situations.
Golden Tate, WR (81), 5-10, 202, 4th season, Notre Dame:
Makes some spectacular catches and is a deep threat ... Second-round pick in 2010 who also plays doesn't back down ... Led team with 64 catches, 898 yards and had five TDs this season ... Made infamous TD catch vs. Green Bay in 2013 that was last call by replacement officials.
Jermaine Kearse, WR (15), 6-1, 209, 2nd season, Washington
Caught winning TD pass in NFC title game for 35 yards on fourth down in final quarter ... Undrafted in 2012, played in seven games as rookie with only three receptions. Took over third receiving spot with injuries to Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, had 15.7-yard average on 22 catches four TDs.
Zach Miller, TE (86), 6-5, 255, 7th season, Arizona State:
Signed away from Oakland as free agent in 2011, has not been as productive with Seahawks ... Had 33 receptions for 387 yards and five TDs in 2013 ... Good target in red zone and over the middle.
Russell Okung, LT (76), 6-5, 310, 4th season, Oklahoma State:
First-round pick 2010 (sixth overall) who has developed into Pro Bowl-level blocker ... Injuries have set him back at times, but a road-grader when healthy ... Missed half of this season with toe injury, was placed on IR designated to return and came back on Nov. 17.
James Carpenter, LG (67), 6-5, 321, 3rd season, Alabama:
A surprise first-round selection in 2011 who has been inconsistent ... Has been in and out of lineup in throughout career, was inactive for Saints playoff game, then started in NFC championship.
Max Unger, C (60), 6-5, 205, 5th season, Oregon:
Among the best centers in the game ... Intelligent, strong, really gets off the ball after he snaps it ... A 2012 All-Pro who missed three games this season with arm injury ... His matchups with NT Terrance Knighton will be a key component in Super Bowl.
J.R. Sweezy, RG (64), 6-5, 298, 2nd season, North Carolina State
A backup as a rookie who blossomed in his second year and started 15 times ... Missed Seahawks' only home loss of season, to Arizona, with concussion, and Wilson was often overwhelmed by pass rush.
Breno Giacomini, RT (68), 6-7, 318, 6th season, Louisville:
Yet another O-lineman who missed time in 2013 ... Knee problems cost him four games in midseason ... Highly competitive, huge and more maneuverable than might be expected ... Lynch often runs behind him.
Red Bryant, DE (79), 6-4, 323, 6th season, Texas A&M:
Versatile player who can go inside, has the bulk and the movement to be an end or a tackle ... Leader of the defensive line ... Not a big sacks guy, but takes up blockers to free up teammates.
Tony McDaniel, DT (99), 6-7, 305, 8th season, Tennessee:
One of many members of rotation in the trenches, also has played for Jacksonville and Miami ... Joined Seattle this season as free agent, had 52 tackles and two sacks.
Brandon Mebane, DT (92), 6-1, 311, 7th season, California:
Strongest player up front for Seahawks, clogs running lanes effectively ... Was in on 45 tackles this season, high for the role he plays ... Has started every game he appeared in since 2008.
Chris Clemons, DE (91), 6-3, 254, 10th season, Georgia:
Accomplished pass rusher with 58 career sacks ... Had huge 2012 season, then tore knee ligament in playoff win over Washington, missing loss to Atlanta ... Acquired in trade with Eagles in 2010, also played for Redskins ... Sacked Ben Roethlisberger in Clemons' first career start in 2004.
Cliff Avril, DE (56), 6-3, 260, 6th season, Purdue:
Signed as free agent away from Detroit, added burst off the edge in pass rush ... Had sack of Colin Kaepernickand forced fumble in fourth quarter last week ... Had eight sacks among his 34 tackles as rotation player ... Has 47 1-2 career sacks.
Michael Bennett, DE (72), 6-4, 274, 5th season, Texas A&M:
Signed away from Tampa Bay as free agent and has been major contributor on league's top defense ... Recovered fumble in NFC championship game ... Led team with 8 1-2 sacks among his 31 tackles.
Bruce Irvin, OLB (51), 6-3, 248, 2nd season, West Virginia:
First-round pick who had decent rookie year, then was suspended for first four games of 2013 for using banned substance ... Still raw, but can rush the passer ... At some point needs to show he can handle pass coverages, too, and this would be good time to do so.
Bobby Wagner, MLB (54), 6-0, 241, 2nd season, Utah State:
One of the league's most unnoticed stars ... A do-everything LB who stays on the field ... Had 119 tackles this season and 140 as a rookie ... Also had five sacks in 2013 ... Coach Pete Carroll never misses chance to praise Wagner's toughness and versatility.
Malcolm Smith, OLB (53), 6-0, 226, 3rd season, Southern California:
Caught Richard Sherman's deflection for interception to clinch NFC championship and trip to Super Bowl ... Was recruited by Carroll to USC ... Seventh-rounder who has improved each season ... Became more of a regular on defense in second half of 2013 schedule. Also plays special teams.
Richard Sherman, CB (25), 6-3, 195, 3rd season, Stanford:
Forget the post-game diatribe against Michael Crabtree after NFC title game, this is best cornerback in football ... Will play press coverage or lay back and is equally adept ... Hits hard, too ... Led NFL in interceptions with eight, even though man he is covering isn't target as much as other receivers.
Byron Maxwell, CB (41), 6-1, 207, 3rd season, Clemson:
Stepped in when Brandon Browner was suspended and has been just as good ... Finds the football and has good hands ... A sixth-round pick who has flourished ... Mostly played special teams before this season.
Earl Thomas, S (29), 5-10, 202, 4th season, Texas:
Despite lack of size, Thomas is one of league's most rugged safeties ... Versatile, active and smart, gets to the right place nearly all the time ... Sherman calls him leader of the league's top defense ... Two-time All-Pro who was first-round pick in 2010.
Kam Chancellor, S (31), 6-3, 232, 4th season, Virginia Tech:
Monster hits mark his game ... Tall and rangy ... Has 278 tackles in past three seasons, and seven interceptions ... Could face off with Julius Thomas in one of the juicier Super Bowl matchups ... Yet another low draft choice (fifth-round in 2010).
Steven Hauschka, PK (4), 6-4, 210, 6th season, North Carolina State:
Also has kicked for Baltimore and, yes, Denver ... Caught on with Seattle in 2011 and has been very strong ... Has made 82 of 92 field goal tries for Seahawks and is particularly solid from distance ... Made six FGs against Jacksonville and five vs. Minnesota this season.
Jon Ryan, P (9), 6-0, 217, 8th season, Regina (Canada):
A rare exploit from Canadian college ball, Ryan has been a defensive weapon for the Seahawks ... Began career with Green Bay, has been with Seahawks since 2008 ... Put 28 punts inside the 20 and excels at getting them inside the 10, too.
Golden Tate, PR (81), 5-10, 202, 4th season, Notre Dame:
Will gamble a bit too much on punt runbacks, but also has skills to break them ... Averaged 11.5 yards a return, ninth in league.
Percy Harvin, KR (11), 5-11, 184, 5th season, Florida:
Has been injured for most of the season after being signed as free agent away from Vikings ... Comes off concussion sustained in playoff game vs. Saints, when he had three receptions ... Had 58-yard kick return against former team in only regular-season game in 2013.