Bob Sanders Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 9

(What do you see out of Seattle as far their big play-making ability?)

They have a lot of talented individuals. They have a lot of talented receivers. You've heard Coach Holmgren talk about those guys and certainly they're very well-coached, they have a good scheme and Matt Hasselbeck does a great job of getting the ball to them, and they do an excellent job of running after the catch. Then when they have you spread out and opened up, then they've had some explosive gains in the run game too. It's a very good scheme and they have a quarterback that is very, very good at executing that scheme, and then they have playmakers at a lot of positions on offense.

(How big is it for your guys to stay disciplined every play?)

It's just like every week, but certainly this week staying in coverage on staying on top of the guys you should stay on top of and make sure the communication is very, very good and solid. And then our guys up front in the passing game getting some pressure and also staying in gap control in the run game.

(Can you simulate or be adaptable to what they do because of your offense?)

Sure. In fact we've seen that a number of times this year. In fact last game we saw quite a bit of that set, so certainly we'll be ready.

(Last year Nick Barnett didn't play against Seattle. How different is your defense if you don't have Nick Barnett in it?)

Nick is a very, very good player like I've said all year and certainly he's playing at a very, very high level for us. He does a lot of things for us. He's our quarterback, he gets us lined up. He's very physical. He enjoys the game, he plays at a high level, so certainly with Nick, he's the kind of guy that really gets it all started - setting the front, making the call, setting the front and getting us going. So he's a valuable member of what we do and we ask him to do a lot of things that maybe some of the other linebackers in the league might not be able to do. And we're able to do some things because of the talents that he has and he's responded very well. Certainly he's an integral cog of what we try to get done.

(Do we get to see two of the best middle linebackers in Barnett and Tatupu on Saturday?)

From what I understand, but I can only speak for Nick because he's the one I watch the most. But from what I understand I would say that they would be among the best in the game.

(How does third-down defense work logistically with Lionel Washington and what does he bring to the mix with game plans?)

We divide each aspect of the game plan up. Coach (Carl) Hairston, he works mainly with the run game, Robert Nunn you've got short-yardage and goal line. As far as heading that specific area up everybody kind of looks at it, but as far as kind of being the lead guy in that area, Kurt (Schottenheimer) is the first and second-down drop-back guy, Winston (Moss) is the play-pass, boots, waggles, those type things, gadget plays, screens. Lionel works mainly with the third down territory routes and those type things as far as getting all the information together and having some ideas ready to go once we start looking at it.

(When you look at how your defense has improved since the beginning of last year where do you think your guys have made big strides?)

I think playing together, the communication, the understanding of what we're trying to get done. Naturally, when you maintain that stability, you're able to progress in the defense. You're able to maybe do some things this year that we weren't able to do last year because we've progressed, we've matured into being able to do some of those type situations. I think certainly having the familiarity, the expectation level, the communication, the knowledge, the offseason of work, the techniques that we try to get them to work, the guys being here in the offseason program. All those type things I think all work together to help us.

(Can you give some examples of things you can do now that you weren't able to do last year?)

Just maybe the way we would handle a bunch or the way we would handle a motion or the way we would handle certain situations that arise in the game. As far as alignments or maybe a different coverage or a lot of different things - the way we'd maybe deploy our personnel, depending on who we're playing. Guys mature in the scheme and you're able to ask more of them, so they can do more things and they can see more things. You get familiar with things, you get used to things, and the game slows down a little bit for you.

(How much do you think Al Harris' personality has an effect on the defensive players?)

Al's a very enthusiastic guy. I think certainly his work ethic, his leadership, in the games he's very positive. I think it has a very, very good effect. I think it has a positive effect, and I think it's a tremendous effect, as are a lot of veterans we have on defense as far as helping the young guys out and those type things.

(Have you seen a significant improvement in handling motions since the Dallas game?)

I would hope so. We had our moments in (that) game and it certainly wasn't one of our best, which we talked about, fundamentally, but hopefully we've improved each and every week.

(Do you almost get used to Charles Woodson being hurt but then answering the bell on game day?)

He's very physical, hard-nosed. He's a true veteran. He takes care of himself, he works at that. He's a warrior. There's no question about that. He is a physical player. He's a big play-maker and certainly my hat goes off to him and the things he does week in and week out to get himself ready.

(What about your nickel situation with Blackmon iffy?)

We do the same thing this week we do every week. We get everybody ready to play and then we make decisions at the end of the week.

(Do you have confidence in Tramon?)

Yep, all those young guys.

{sportsad300}(How big of a challenge is Seattle's foursome of receivers especially with Branch and Hackett together?)

That's a huge challenge. Probably a collective four of the best in the league and the things they do. They challenge you offensively anyway, but then when you put talented guys like that in those spots certainly it's a big challenge for our guys, but it's a challenge I think our guys are ready to handle.

(How much of a difference maker is Ryan Pickett for you?)

Ryan has been huge for us. We have to have that big guy in the middle and he's been kind of our leader in there. We kind of build around him and he's played very, very effective. He's physical, he's quick, he's fast and he's done a great job for us inside. Again that's a testament when you look at the production Nick (Barnett) has. You can trace a lot of it back to Ryan and those guys up front - Corey (Williams), Cullen (Jenkins) and Colin Cole and Justin Harrell, Daniel (Muir), all those guys up front. So it's a testament to those (guys) but especially Ryan and his leadership.

(In what ways has Nick Barnett impressed you the most this year?)

I think just his overall improvement. Each year that we've been here he's gotten better and better each year. He's playing at a very, very high level. In fact I've said on a number of occasions I definitely think he's one of the premier linebackers in the league, and for us he plays at a very, very high level. He's very productive, he's physical and he's just gotten more and more familiar with what we're trying to get done. I think the biggest thing, he's seeing more things and that's putting him in a position to make more plays.

(Is Barnett's success due to the stability of being in the same system for two years?)

Well, actually for three years in the same system, but I think certainly that helps. Any time you can get familiar with something and the calls are the same and you do the same things over and over and over again you just get better at them and he's an extremely hard worker anyway, so he takes great pride in trying to get better and he does a good job doing that.

(You're always so even keel. Do you get a little more excited for the playoffs?)

Certainly it's an exciting time. There's no question about that. The expectation level, this is where we expected to be so hopefully we're business as usual. We're trying to work at it the same. Like Mike (McCarthy) said, we do the same organization, but certainly it is an exciting time to have a shot in the playoffs and I feel very blessed and fortunate. Naturally I try to stay even keel because that's what I have to do, and for me to get the job done like I have to try to get it done. But certainly it is very exciting.

(Did you get a chance to call Jim Bates after what happened? How is he doing?)

I had a chance to visit with him briefly last night just for a second. He seemed to be doing OK.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content