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Quotes (1/05) Spagnuolo, Sullivan

Posted Jan 4, 2017

Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo


Happy New Year to everyone. I haven’t seen everyone in 2017, so hopefully you had a great New Year. Great day out there today. It was nice to get out there in that weather. The good Lord blessed us with the perfect weather that we needed to get ready for this one, so with that I will open it up.

Q: Does that weather affect you guys as a defense?

A: I don’t think so. I think that initially when some of those Southern Florida guys were out in the cold weather it did, but I don’t think it has had an effect. Our guys are pretty focused right now.

Q: There has been a lot of talk about Aaron Rodgers being better on the run and being very elusive. So is it very tricky for you, in terms of game planning, because on one hand you want to keep him in the pocket, and on the other hand, I don’t know what you want to do.

A: When you are a great player, and an elite player, and one of the top quarterbacks in the league – take away this and he goes that way, take away that and he goes this way, so look, there are some things that we think we need to do. Whether that happens or not we will see, but he finds ways, he is as competitive – I have talked with Ben a lot this week, we did that last time, but I will see something on tape and go running down to his office and say, ‘Why is he doing that?’ Sometimes Ben has an answer and sometimes he is like, ‘I don’t know.

He is just a great athlete and figured it out.’ But yeah, he is as effective getting out of the pocket as he is hanging in there. The one thing that he does a great job of is, I think, he purposely extends the downs sometimes because I think he knows that his receivers can get open eventually and then it ends up being a big play. I think that sometimes he just says, ‘Hey, I am going to let this down go a ways.’ He knows that he can get himself in and out of trouble. Very rarely does he get tackled, or get put in a tough situation, and it makes it tough on the guys in the back end.

Q: So are you saying that sometimes he will pass up an open receiver?

A: Well, I am not saying that, but it just looks like sometimes when he is back there, he has got every intention of letting the down extend, making moves and having somebody miss, and I think it is because he likes making big plays. The most amazing thing to me about Aaron Rodgers is all the different places and positions that he can throw the football and be accurate. A lot of guys have to be perfect when the ball is accurate, Aaron can be anywhere. He can be running right, running left, being up inside, off his back foot, not have his feet set, and he can flick the ball anywhere and he is just accurate with every throw that he makes.

Q: What is the key for him to be able to do that?

A: Yeah, one of the terms that we always use defensively is that a good quarterback throws his receivers open. So the receiver might be covered, but he has a great anticipation skill, I am talking about Aaron there, and look, those receivers and him have been working so well together and so long that he knows where he needs to throw it for his receiver to go get it and nobody else. So that is a term that we use, and I think that he is as good at that as anybody.

Q: What do you remember about that 2012 matchup?

A: I wasn’t here then. I wasn’t, so you would have to ask one of the other guys. I was watching it on TV.

Q: In Week 5, in the second half, it seemed like your secondary did a great job of staying disciplined to not give up the big play. Is that how you are going to have to play it against Green Bay?

A: Against anybody you don’t want to give up big plays and certainly not against this football team. The thing that I remember about that game was that we didn’t tackle very well, and I think that we have to begin there first. Whether they run the football, or get it to wideouts, we have to limit the yards after catch. They are going to complete balls. That is just the way it is going to be. That is what he does. We just have to make sure that wherever the receiver catches it, he needs to be tackled there; and when they do run the football, we need to tackle better than we did last time.

Q: How important is DRC to what you have done all year?

A: How important? Well, I think it is kind of obvious. He has stepped in there when guys have gotten hurt and played a number of different positions. He has had one of his better years. He has been great, he has been great to work with. All of the other guys have kind of rallied around him. He has been in the league a while, he has been through a lot. I think that he can share experiences that some of the other guys haven’t been through, and I think some of the young guys appreciate that.

Q: Everyone knew that you had a tough hand dealt to you. Does getting the infusion of talent this year, with the results that you have had, invigorate you?

A: You are assuming that there was a time when I didn’t think I could. But I can tell you that I never felt that way. I have been in it long enough to know that it is not one person that makes it happen, you have to have good players. I will tell you what, and I do want to say this – the guys, in my opinion, that get lost in this whole thing are our assistant coaches on defense. The players go out and play, and one person who happens to be the coordinator, gets some credit.

Look, our assistant coaches that we have on defense have done as good a job as anybody I have been around, with all the things that you are talking about; new players coming in within a certain group, making them gel, you have a young guy and an older guy, you have a guy that knows the system and a guy that hasn’t been exposed to the system, and I have sat back many times during the season and just let the assistant coaches go and that has been a joy. I told them a couple weeks ago in front of the group that one of the joys that I have had this year is being able to step back and watch them gel with their coaches, and just player to player, and when you can start to do that, that is when it really works.

So this is really not about me, it is about a bunch of guys coming together as a unit and playing as a team. To me, we had injuries and boom, we didn’t blink, we went forward and guys kept working at it and we kept playing pretty good. Now of course none of that matters now because it is a whole new season.

Q: Were you nervous about how DRC would take a new role and how did you approach that with him?

A: Well, initially when Eli was drafted, the immediate thought wasn’t that DRC would play inside or there would be three corners, or that sometimes DRC would be out. That wasn’t the initial thought. You draft because he is a good player. Jerry’s crew identified him and I am glad we got him. Get as many good players in the group that you can, and then you get the ones out there playing the best football. You get the best 11 out there and I know we have had three corners a lot, so you need three in this league, you need three corners. But he has done a great job with the role he has had and he has excelled at it and has had a really good year.

Q: The players say that you emphasize making decisions at full speed. How is that of particular importance against this quarterback and this offense?

A: Well, we have been talking and that is a good point, Kim. We do stress that and our guys do a good job with it. Against Aaron Rodgers, in my opinion and I may have said it before the last time we played him, but it is as much about what you do from whistle to snap as it is from snap to whistle. Usually everyone talks about that, how fast you have to play from snap to whistle. He is so good when the down is over as to what he is going to do on the next down, that you have to be ready for that, and if our verbal and visual communication isn’t dead on, and it begins with me, I have to get a call in there quickly.

The mike linebacker has to get it to the other 10, and we have to be ready to roll and he is the master at getting you off on that, and that is what he wants to do. He wants you out of sync and he wants to get you to substitute and he got us once the last time we played, we got stuck with 12 guys on the field. We are trying to avoid that this time around. But you have to play this game thinking fast and hopefully we do enough preparing during the week that our guys can just go out and play. But he loves to think and manage games, Aaron Rodgers. There is no doubt about that.

Q: Does he have as good of a pump fake as there is in the NFL? Do you have to coach your players up on that?

A: We did, today. We talked a lot today about keeping your feet on the ground. What he wants to do is to get you in the air and whether he sidesteps or gets out, he ducked somebody on one of the teams we just watched this morning. We believe that you have to keep your feet on the ground and keeping running, so that you can run to him and hit him. Now that is easier said than done. It is easy for me when I am standing up there with the remote saying, ‘Don’t do this and don’t do that.’ But I think it is sinking in, and I think the guys will take that and try to do that in this game, but he is a master of that, or looking one way and making you think when you are coming from here that he doesn’t see you, but he does. It is instincts and vision.

Q: With his ability to extend plays, does he negate or limit the opportunity of the pass rush?

A: If you let it, yeah, he will. You have to be a little bit more disciplined. I don’t think that you can turn guys loose like you can do with some quarterbacks and we are hoping to do that. Look, there are going to be downs where we are going to have to say, ‘Look, you just have to go get him. Find a way to get him and let somebody else rally from behind you.’

Pat Graham and Z (Jeff Zgonina) have been trying to piece all of that together. One of the things that we do talk about is that Aaron Rodgers is one of the elite and in some regard, you are not going to change that. What you have to do is try to affect the other 10 and that is what we are going to try to do during the game.

Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan


Q: How much advantage can you take knowing their defensive secondary is banged up and guys are playing out of position?

A: The first thing that we see, and the first thing we think of with that defense, is the fact that they've got 40 sacks. They're sixth in the league with 40 sacks and in the past four games, all important games for them, that put them in position, they have 13 takeaways. So they're doing a lot of good things that whoever is in whatever role they decide, we know that they're going to be ready to play. I think it really all starts with what they have upfront, their ability to get to the quarterback, and they've been doing a great job taking the ball away from the offense.

Q: On Marshall Newhouse.

A: Marshall stepped in, did a great job. We've got both guys ready to play, but I'll let Ben McAdoo address the injury report and all those types of things, but we're definitely pleased with things that he did and a lot of things that whole offensive line did last week.

Q: Do you believe there's a formula to win a playoff game on the road?

A: I think it all starts with taking care of the football. It's something that seems cliché or tripe but really, you talk about all throughout the year, but the one thing with the NFL, with the playoffs, it's not a seven games series, it's not a five game series. Any of the struggles that have happened throughout the course of the season, as well as any of the success through the course of the season all go out the window; you've just got to win that one game and you have to make the most of every opportunity, every position. So, the number one focus for us from an offensive standpoint, on the road, against any opponent, certainly a great one like Green Bay, is to take care of the football. That's got to be paramount and it all starts with that.

Q: What do you think is the biggest difference in the offense now compared to week 5 when you played Green Bay?

A: I think we've made some progress running the football. We're really excited about a lot of the things that happened, particularly last week, in a game where the opponent had to win to get in, and to be able to have 40 rushes and put up those type of yards and not have any negative rushes is something that gives us the type of confidence and momentum that I think you need. Whether it's, certainly we don't expect it to be 75 degrees and sunny there in Wisconsin on Sunday, and to be able to have an all-weather type of offense and do those type of things is going to be something that we need to rely upon.

Q: How much better do you feel now about the running game than you did three or four weeks ago?

A: It's continued to improved, we've seen flashes where we've made progress, it's been steady. I think to really put it all together like last week is something that I think everybody, and I say everybody, you initially would think the offensive linemen, think the runners, the tight ends, the receivers did a good job on the perimeter, helping trying to finish blocks and showed a willingness to put their faces in there and get on their man.

I think they all know that, that also opens up some of the play action passes, some of the fake passes and so forth. To have that type of consistency in an important game, a final game, one in which we treated as such as that we wanted to go down there and be at our best and win, I think it is something that we feel good about and can hopefully carry that momentum into the postseason.

Q: Has Paul Perkins separated himself from the pack?

A: Paul did a great job, I mean he did a phenomenal job, made some guys miss. He's done some of the things that we've seen throughout the season; whether it's being able to make guys miss or break arm tackles. I think Rashad Jennings did a lot of good things as well. You look at him picking his feet up there, the touchdown run that he had, the two guys complement each other. Bobby Rainey gets called into action in terms of some of the two minute, 3rd-down situations, and so we feel very fortunate that we got three guys that we can count on to carry the load for us.

Q: Do you worry about Paul Perkins, rookie aspect, going into a playoff game?

A: I think we, and it starts with the head coach, with how Ben has addressed things with the team. We're not approaching this as the playoffs or as a wild card game, it's a game against the Green Bay Packers. A team we played earlier in the year, a team that is playing well on both sides of the football and on their special teams. So it's really been a matter of zeroing in on the preparation and going out.

Had a heck of a day today, it was great to be outside. A lot of speed work. Whether it's a young guy like Perkins or Sterling Shepard, some of the other young players that we have, it really boils down to the investment that they all make throughout the course of the week, the meetings, on the practice field, that's what they're going to draw upon to go out there and play. It's still football, just going to have a little bit heightened, as we all know, intensity, energy and speed. The investment they're making this week; we feel really confident about them being able to perform at a high level on Sunday.

Q: Perkins, is he a quick decision maker?

A: I think that's a good question in terms of, do some guys have the vision and the instincts, but maybe the body doesn't move them as fast as they like. The spirit is willing but the body is weak. He does have, I think, a lot of those traits that you like, in terms of the short area quickness, the ability to put his foot in the ground and make a cut, and there's also a good instinct and vision that he has that enables him to do that. It's been a nice mixture, he’s showing improvement, and we're excited about it.

Q: Did you see those things back in training camp or have you seen more of it the more he's played?

A: The offseason was limited with him, as you know, he wasn't with us in the spring because of the core system in UCLA, and then he was behind the power curve throughout a lot of the preseason because he was just trying to play catch-up. We ask a lot of the backs, not just in terms of running the football but pass protection is a huge part of what they do. And then, getting out into the pattern as receivers.

It's taken him a while, but we've all seen instances where he's shown some of the things that you mentioned, as far as having that vision, having the ability to cut, having the ability to make guys miss as well as to break some arm tackles. We're also excited about how he continues to improve, I've said this before, from a pass protection standpoint. Not just the willingness, which you have to have before you can do anything else, but also now the knowledge. He's definitely made huge strides in that area, pass protection, from the preseason.

Q: Back in week 5, Bobby Rainey led you in scrimmage yards. When you look back at that, does that seem like a different offense compared to where you guys are at the end of the season?

A: You mentioned, obviously Bobby played quite a bit. Rashad was not in a position to help us there. Paul was at a different place in terms of where his experience level was and his level of confidence and where he's playing. I think overall, we didn't run the ball very well at all in that football game. A lot of the two-high coverages, a lot of commitment to try to take Odell and the receiver out of the game and as was the case and several instances this season, our own worst enemy as far as the turnovers, as far as, ‘Okay here's a big play, and oh, there's the penalty.’ That's really the first thing that comes to mind when I think about that game, and then just as we really try to zero in and study, ‘Okay, this was their approach, what's going to be the same, what are they going to try to counter with.’ Obviously, Dom Capers is a tremendous coach, a great defensive mind, so that's really more the focus in terms of the things that we know we need to do better.

Q: Can someone like Paul Perkins have a positive impact on Rashad once Perkins gets into a groove? Can that trickle down to Rashad and other running backs?

A: I think when any player is performing well, it's contagious. It helps guys be motivated. I think it's had an effect, whether it's Rashad scoring his touchdown, you ask about Paul, some of the things he's done. That makes the receivers feel confident. They see that happen and they don't want to let him down, they want to finish their blocks. They know this is going to do some good things and of course is going to set up those play action passes.

They get motivated, the line gets motivated. They're like, ‘I’m holding onto this block, and maybe it's not quite perfect, but if I can just stay on him long enough then I got a guy that's going to be able to make a play.' I think the two do feed off of each other, and Bobby Rainey. It's a very close-knit group, that position, and quite frankly, within the offense a lot of guys are really pulling together, trying to put the bad behind us, learn from our mistakes, and excited about being in the tournament.

Q: What are your recollections of that 2012 playoff game in Green Bay and what stands out?

A: I remember the 2012 game; it wasn't as cold as the 2007 one. The 2007, I can remember with Pete Giunta the secondary coach, trying to go get a cup of coffee in the morning before, it was a night game, and thinking, ‘Oh, I'm tough, I don't need to have hat,' and about 15 feet out, I didn't know if I was going to laugh or cry or throw up or pass out or whatever, it was miserable. The first thing I remember about that game you mentioned, it wasn't quite as bitterly cold. The second thing, I think, it's the playoffs, it's a great atmosphere. It's an excellent organization with a lot of history. The fans are very passionate, and they were certainly heavily favored and were playing well on all phases, and we were able to put things together at the right time. Just comes down to, like I said, win one game.

Q: What are you recollections of the Hail Mary at the end of the half?

A: I didn't see it, I was in the press box at the time and it's a long ways to get from the coaches box down and at half time, it's not like the movies, it's boom, boom, boom, you're out fast. So I literally, and it's not like you're hearing cheers, but then I heard some hooting and hollering by our guys and they said we scored a touchdown, so I didn't see it until looking at the game film after the game, I just heard about it. Was happy about that.

Q: We hear about Eli being a different quarterback in the playoffs. This week have you seen or noticed anything different with him?

A: Eli is a model of consistency and steadiness. He prepares like a true pro and puts the time in. There's no one that's going to be more focused, no one that's going to be more prepared to be at his best. He's been able to have success in those postseason games in terms of it all coming together. It's been brought up a few times, postseason Eli, regular season Eli; he's just a great competitor, he's a leader to this offense and he's working very hard. Had a great day today.

Q: Can you put your finger on why he has that success?

A: There's no specific trait or something, a magic button, and there's nothing specific that I can point to other than the fact that I think when anyone approaches their work with a level of consistency and they don't get caught up in the setbacks and they don't get caught up in the negativity, the criticism, nor do they get caught up in the praise, it's just this laser, steady focus that he has; and I would imagine being able to do that is what allows him to get the negative out of the way, and he doesn't get caught up in the positives, and be able to be at his best so hopefully that'll be the case Sunday.

Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn



Q: What do you remember about the 07’ game while Lawrence Tynes was running out there for the field goal?

A: I remember him making the field goal, that’s one good thing. It’s tough to kick in those conditions, so you’ve got to be ready for it and battle. The mental toughness will come into play for all the specialists.

Q: Does Robbie Gould’s experience in the cold weather all those years in Chicago help?

A: Not only that it’s been that cold, but as a veteran kicker, he’s been through that experience before, probably not as cold as it’s going to be but close to it. Once it gets cold, it’s cold

Q: What is your biggest concern? Is it the kicking or the ball handling?

A: It’s ball handling when it gets cold. We had a fumble with R.W. McQuarters in the fourth quarter when the score was tied that Michael Johnson recovered, which was a huge play that nobody talks about. We returned the ball to the plus 42-43 with two minutes to go to win the game right there. He fumbled it, went back around the 50 and Michael Johnson did a heck of a job getting on it (before Domenik Hixon recovered). So we want to make sure that anyone who handles the ball secures it.

Q: Are you doing anything like freezing the balls this week for the kickers and punters or things like that?

A: No, because you can bruise your feet. We will kick normal balls and kick cold balls when we have to.

Q: What do you see from their return game?

A: They have Micah Hyde and Randall Cobb. If Randall plays, you could probably expect him back there.

Q: He’s only had a handful of returns, though, right?

A: A little bit, but he’s got it on faith. Micah’s really hard and he’s elusive and he’s kind of a jump cutter. I told the punt team he’s probably the kid that was never ‘it’ in tag because you can never get your hands on him. He’s really elusive and does a really good job of getting north and south. Once he sees it, he puts his foot in the ground and he’s all around a really good football player.

Q: In the past, Mike McCarthy has done some of the onside kick stuff and things like that…

A: Yeah, he’s done one against us in ’11, I think to start the third quarter, I think.

Q: Have they done that much this year?

A: They did one, it was from the 50, but Mason (Crosby’s) really good at those, so you always have to be aware.

Q: Have they done anything else like fake field goals or fake punts or anything else like that this season?

A: No, not so much. They have some on tape from the past. We will study all of those.

RB Paul Perkins


Q: How cool is this to be going to Green Bay like this in your first year?

A: I’m blessed. That’s one word I can use. I’m extremely blessed to be here and to be in this position with my teammates to go into Green Bay.

Q: How does coming off this 102-yard rushing game impact your confidence going forward?

A: For me, I have high expectations for myself. I’m looking forward to doing better things. I left a lot of yards on the field last week. It doesn’t mean anything if I don’t back it up this week.

Q: You hear a lot of talk about can the Giants match this Packers offense in terms of points. What’s your answer?

A: The way our defense is playing; they’re playing lights out. Defense wins championships. We’re going to rely on them heavy, but also we need to put up points.

Q: In terms of offense, you think you’re ready?

A: I think we’re ready, yes.

Q: The best defense against Aaron Rodgers is keeping him off the field. That starts with ball control and is something that is extremely important. That’s a role you think you could fulfill?

A: That’s any game, especially now in December and January. Ball control is the main thing. Keeping a high-flying offense like Green Bay on the sidelines. Keep them cold.

Q: When you look at that stat line and you see the 100 yards, does it put a little spring into your step heading into the postseason?

A: Yes, definitely. Everyone gets confidence running the ball. I think the team total was (161) yards rushing. It helps the offensive line with their confidence and it definitely helps the backs.

Q: Is there a carryover from last Sunday to this Sunday?

A: I think there’s a carryover and some momentum, but it doesn’t really mean anything if we don’t keep going through the process. Momentum only lasts for so long, so we have to keep staying driven and keep pushing.

Q: Have you ever played in conditions like the ones predicted for Sunday?

A: No. This is probably the coldest I’ve played in. I’m not accustomed to too cold of weather, but it’s not going to be a big deal.

Q: Why not?

A: Because we’re focused on the game plan. The weather is secondary.

Q: This team has 15 takeaways in the last five games. How much more emphasis do you have to put on taking care of the ball?

A: The ball is always a priority and it is even more now in the playoffs.

Q: It’s hard to carry the ball in the cold like that?

A: I’ll tell you Monday.

Q: Your uncle played for the Cowboys in Green Bay?

A: Yes.

Q: Was that the Ice Bowl?

A: Yes.

Q: Have you ever talked to him about it?

A: No. This just happened this week so I haven’t felt the need to. I’m sure if I asked him, he could help me with some tips on how to stay warm.

Q: Why did you decide to go out there in the short sleeves and shorts today?

A: You have to get used to being uncomfortable. It wasn’t too bad.

Q: Rashad Jennings was saying he talked to you before the game. What was he saying to you?

A: Yes. The stuff that he says will stay between us and is confidential, but he definitely gave me some encouraging words. He was just telling me that he has my back.

Q: How much did that help?

A: Tremendously. To know that you have friends and teammates that are backing you up, it means the world.

Q: When you made that big run in Minnesota, how critical was that? Was it like breaking a barrier of some sort?

A: You just have to keep improving on it. Just because you make one play doesn’t mean it’s going to break your confidence out. You have to continue to build on it and continue to make plays.

Q: What does more for your confidence, one big play or the 100 yards?

A: Neither.

DE Olivier Vernon


Q: How would you say this opportunity presents itself to you? How excited are you?

A: It’s something that we’ve been working towards for a while. Right now, the opportunity presents itself. You just have to work at it and get the job done.

Q: You hear all the talk about the Packers offense and the Giants defense. Are you able to accept that challenge?

A: They have an explosive offense. They have a great quarterback. They’re a dangerous team. We all know that coming into the game. Pretty much right now, we’re just focusing. Everyone is just focusing and getting ready for the game.

Q: What’s the key to getting to Aaron Rodgers?

A: It’s just about staying disciplined. Everyone knows he can make plays with his feet as well as his arm. It’s just staying disciplined. That’s the biggest thing.

Q: Do you guys have to get to him or just hold your ground. What’s the philosophy here?

A: Most definitely have to get to him, as well as being disciplined at the same time. Just get in his face. That’s the biggest thing. You have to put pressure on him. We’ll see on Sunday.

Q: Do you bring a swagger into this game in terms of what this defense has accomplished this year?

A: I don’t know. We’re just here to play Giants football. That’s it.

Q: How big are the butterflies and how big is the anticipation to play in a playoff game?

A: I wouldn’t say any butterflies. There is a lot of guys that are excited just to have the opportunity. You don’t get too many chances to be in the postseason. You just have to make the most of the opportunity.

Q: What did you learn about Aaron Rodgers the first time you played him that you could take into this game?

A: He’s a good quarterback. He’s able to make plays with his feet and his arm. Overall as a team, they have guys on defense and on offense that can make plays. That’s something that, coming from the first time that we played them, they got us over there at Lambeau Field. It’s what they did. They had home field advantage, what they have again. It’s going to be a hostile environment. It’s a good team that we’re facing. We can’t wait to get there.

Q: How has their offensive line changed since the first time you played them?

A: Basically, they know we can rush the passer. They’re going to try and limit our pass rush. The main thing is just stopping the run. Stop the run and force them to throw the ball.

Q: How is their offensive line, in particular, going to try and slow you down?

A: I know they’re going to try to run the ball. Try and run the ball, with a play-action pass. Little things like that as far as just trying to get you off your spot. That’s been the game plan of most offensive lines that we play. We just have to be ready for Green Bay.

Q: When you add a piece like Damon Harrison into the pass rush, how does that affect the total picture?

A: I think right now, at this point in time, guys are willing to do anything. Snacks, being able to be out there with us and being able to contribute not only on a run but on the pass game is big. We need all hands on deck.

RB Rashad Jennings

Q: Paul Perkins says he's never carried the ball in really cold weather. What would you tell him about how to handle that situation?

A: He's going to be in the right frame of mind. You've just got to protect it. The football is a little bit harder when it's cold outside, it could get moist just simply because of the weather and the dew but he'll be fine.

Q: How important was it to get the running game going the way you did on Sunday?

A: It was major for us because we needed that momentum-builder to head into the playoffs. That was a playoff atmosphere playing against the Redskins because it was a must-win for them. We understood where we were at and every organization I've been part of, they won, stop the run, run the football. Be able to do those things and play hard-nosed defense, you can find your way to a championship. We've got to carry that over.

Q: Coach doesn't like to use the word “playoffs.” He keeps saying this is the 17th game. For guys who've never been to the playoffs, how hard is it to separate that word from game number 17?

A: I ain't separating nothing! This is the playoffs, it's what it is, and the playoffs happen to be the 17th game! He's focused on how he's preparing, how he's delivering messages to the team, how he wants us to deliver it and we don't expect him to change at all. Guys are going to be excited, this is why we do it. As far as the preparation, that's not going to change. From Monday, Tuesday, today, tomorrow, the whole preparation is the exact same as it was week 1 versus Dallas. That's why he's looking at it as the 17th game.

Q: Have you relayed to guys on the team what a rare opportunity it this because you're in a unique position where this is your first time in the playoffs?

A: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Q: How do you go about doing that?

A: Letting them know that this is my eighth year in the league and this is my first time making the playoffs and letting them know, some of the guys that I've known, throughout their career that have never made it to the playoffs. They've played 10 years and some guys never made it to the playoffs. So own this and take advantage of this. Don't let it slip. Extra hour here, extra hour there, studying, doing what you need to do so we can do it at a high level. Put ourselves in the position to go for the 18th.

DT Damon Harrison
On the atmosphere of the playoffs

A: We have some guys who talked to some of us who have never been there before and let us know how it is going to be, how the atmosphere is going to be. Some of the coaches have talked about it as well. I am going to go out there for my first playoff game and I am sure emotions will be going, but it is going to be exciting too.

Q: What part of their message has hit home the most?

A: Just staying focused and not trying to change up too much because doing exactly what you did is what got you to this point, so not trying to go outside of anything that you have been doing. If you have been a consistent guy, then remain consistent. Stay true to your technique and don’t try to do too much in a situation where you stretch and try to make plays and mess up, so just stay true to yourself.

Q: Rashad said that the idea is to act like you have been there. Is it hard to act like you have been there if you haven’t been there?

A: No, I have a lot of experience in the playoffs. I just won the Super Bowl last night on Madden (laughing). I go to the playoffs every year in Madden, so I have some playoff experience if guys want to talk to me or lean on me. But no, JC (Jonathan Casillas), Eli (Manning), Victor (Cruz), Zak DeOssie, they do a really good job of informing us on what it is going to be like as well as our defensive line coach, Pat Graham who has won a championship. They are letting us know what it is going to be like. Especially on the road to help us get accomplished what we need to get accomplished.

Q: How important is it that you have guys that have not only played in playoff games but have also won Super Bowls?

A: It’s really important. A guy like myself who is a younger-older guy, I listen. I soak everything up like a sponge. I’m always picking brains and trying to get an idea of what something is like.

Q: Is it hard to act like you’ve been there if you’ve never been there?

A: No. I have a lot of playoff experience. I just won a Super Bowl last night on Madden with the Green Bay Packers. I go to the playoffs every year in Madden just in case guys want to talk to me and lean on me. JC, Eli, Victor, Zak DeOssie, they do a really good job on informing us on what it’s going to be like. As well as our defensive line coach Pat Graham who won championships or a championship on letting us know what it’ll be like. Especially on the road to let us get accomplished what we need to get accomplished.

Q: Is that a way of scouting the Packers? Using them playing Madden?

A: I actually won with the Packers on there. The team looked a little different. I made some cuts and had some guys with some contracts so I could add some cap space. I was using Rodgers pretty good on Madden. Hopefully in know some of his weaknesses. Madden doesn’t lie.

Q: What have you learned about stopping Rodgers on Madden?

A: If you make him go to his left, he’s not as accurate when he goes to his right. The video game can’t compensate for that.