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Seattle assistant Rocky Seto’s unusual approach brings results

Seattle safety Earl Thomas chopped the ball loose from Rams running back Benny Cunningham, saving a touchdown and causing a fumble.Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images/File

PHOENIX — The signature moment of the Seahawks’ win over the Rams in their regular-season finale was Earl Thomas swooping in as Benny Cunningham tried to stretch the football over the goal line and karate chopping the Ram running back’s right arm to jar the ball loose.

The tactic was out of the ordinary, but it didn’t come out of nowhere, Thomas said.

The karate chop was taught by Seahawks defensive passing game coordinator Rocky Seto.

“He always emphasizes a tackling plan or a judo punch,” Thomas said. “He would maybe have Bruce Lee up there showing a punch and a guy flying out of a chair.


“You see guys punching at the ball, Byron Maxwell stripping the ball, forcing a fumble, or I am forcing a fumble, that’s Rocky Seto’s presentations.”

It’s just one of the things Seto has passed along, Thomas said.

“I think his style of teaching is very, very different from anybody in that building,” Thomas said. “I’ve never met a coach that shows examples from Animal Planet and tries to relate that to how we attack football. That’s different.”

Going back to his days as a linebacker and then a graduate assistant at Southern Cal, Seto has been a lockbox for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. He followed Carroll to Seattle in 2010, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and a distinct perspective.

“I watched him grow up in our system,” Carroll said. “He has become really the keeper of the records. He’s got all the information. He knows everything we’ve ever done and how we’ve done it.

“He’s a tremendous resource for us to always stay in touch with the principles and the philosophy and all that.

“He’s been a special confidant to me to maintain our language and our belief because he goes back the furthest with me. He’s been a great friend. He’s been a great coach for us. He’s been a very integral part of everything that we do.”


Quarterbacks connect

A mutual connection provided the link between Tom Brady and Russell Wilson long before their Super Bowl matchup was set.

During his time at the University of Wisconsin, Wilson became close friends with Kenny Dichter , founder of the New York-based business jet company Wheels Up. Brady is one of the company’s 1,000 members.

Ditcher hooked up the two quarterbacks via e-mail. Before the playoffs, they messaged back and forth.

“The funny thing is, Kenny shared an e-mail with Tom and I and then back and forth,” Wilson said. “I told Kenny, I said, ‘Hey, we’re probably going to play Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. Get ready for it.’ And Tom, the day before or the same day, said the same thing. It’s just funny how that worked out.”

Media obligations

Marshawn Lynch’s limited and reluctant compliance with Super Bowl media obligations have been a sideshow all week, and in his annual “State of the NFL” address, commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear that he expects all players to comply.

“I’ve been very clear,” Goodell said. “When you’re in the NFL, you have an obligation. It’s an obligation to the fans. It is part of your job, and there are things we all have to do in our job that we may not necessarily want to do.”

Goodell said he hasn’t made a decision about punishing Lynch, who made himself available for all media sessions, even if it was for a brief five minutes and his responses were limited to “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.” The NFL is reviewing whether the “Beast Mode” hat Lynch wore to media sessions is league approved; if not, Lynch could be fined.


Tip of the hat All week, Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett has been pretty easy to spot. For good luck, he has been wearing a white cowboy hat to honor his former mentor, Mark Alexander , who recently died of cancer. Bennett and his brother, Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett, were just two of the kids that Alexander took under his wing when they were growing up in Houston, Michael Bennett said. “When he died, he had over 500 people show up to his house,” said Bennett. “And even at the funeral last week, it was so many kids that had grown up and had done so many things. I think the most special thing about his funeral was when his mom talked and she just said, ‘He always said that he worked with kids, but I didn’t believe that he really worked with kids like that.’ To have so many kids come back — kids were lawyers, kids were bankers, teachers, coaches. To see all those kids come back . . . and be happy for him and his family when he died and to see all those people bring his family up. It was cool.” . . . Kam Chancellor will be listed as probable after tweaking his knee on a fall near the goal line on the last play of the Seahawks practice. Richard Sherman (elbow), Thomas (shoulder), and J.R. Sweezy (ankle) all practiced without limitation.

Snoop Dogg attended the team’s last full practice, along with his Los Angeles-area youth football team, before a final morning walkthrough on Saturday.

Julian Benbow can be reached jbenbow@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @julianbenbow.