(Charles, you are one of only two Packer players that have had major roles in Super Bowls before. What have you told your younger teammates about being in the Super Bowl and what it takes to get there?)**
Only thing I've told them is about the media, and I think they see that today in the locker room. You know, it turns up a notch. You're one of four teams left, and all of the attention is going to be on you. And so you know, you've got to deal with it the best you can. There will be a lot of questions you have to answer. But just concentrate on football because that's what everybody is here for.
(What does it mean to you to have another shot?)
Man, you know, a great deal. For every player in the NFL, these are the moments that you play for, to have an opportunity. I've been once, and it was an incredible experience. It's been a long time ago, though, now. The thing is you never know when you'll get back. You never know if you'll get there. You never know if you'll win one. But to have the opportunity, and again, to be one of the final teams trying to get to the Super Bowl, it means a lot.
(What do you notice about just how the communication is so much better or so much less verbal than it needed to be when you got this thing going?)**
Yeah, the communication has been really outstanding all year. Last year we were all just kind of getting our feet wet in the defense trying to figure it out. It's a complicated defense. And now having that year under our belt, guys being familiar with it, you know, we had success with it the first year, got killed a lot of games with it, as well. So you know, we've kind of been through everything with the defense, and having that year, and to be able to go through all of those ups and downs with it prepared us going into this year. We had a lot of the same guys back coming in, and everything just worked a little bit better for us. So communication, like you said, is a big part of that.
(After you came up from Oakland, how long did it take to change your mindset about the Bears?)**
About the what?
(The Bears, this rivalry, this game.)**
Not long. You know, when you come in here ‑‑ you know, you watch some of the commercials. I watched a commercial with Jerry Kramer and Mike Ditka, and they said when they came in, they understood from the fans that, hey, you've got to get ready to play the Bears. It was the same way for me. We played those guys, and you knew that week leading up to this game that people here in the organization, the fans around Green Bay and Wisconsin as a whole, they want to beat Chicago. And so you understand that very early on, what this game is about.
(What has Sam meant to the secondary? He's been pretty reliable all season for you.)**
Man, he's been great, man. I think you have a young guy who came in who really had no fear, you know, came in with a ton of athletic ability. But he didn't have any fear. You know, he took the challenge of being an undrafted player and having an opportunity to come in and play for this team, and he took coaching well. I think probably the biggest thing for him has been his coach, you know, Joe Whitt. I think Joe is probably one of the best young coaches that this game has to offer, and he has that rare combination, I think, of being able to be an Xs and Os guy and then also being a great teacher, being able to teach a young guy like Sam where he needs to be and at the same time why he needs to be there and why it makes a defense work.
So having a coach like that coaching you and then being a great athlete at the same time works in your favor. He's taking coaching. He's a young guy that takes notes. You don't see a lot of young guys that come in take notes. You can see him, he's in watching film and those sort of things. He's done himself well in that department.
(Going back to the rivalry, you talked about what it's like for people in the building and the fans. What is it like for players, though? I'm guessing it's not quite the same for you as it was maybe emotionally when you were at Michigan and you were playing Ohio State. There's not necessarily a player‑to‑player hatred like there might have been back in the old days here, is there?)**
You know, during the week, no. But once you get into the game, yeah. It's all there. It's rivalry, you know, it's all those things, all of those emotions. You kind of take on the emotions of your community. You know how much they want to beat Chicago. Yeah, during this point in time of the week, it's about preparation, you know, and getting your looks, watching film, and understanding what you have to do that particular Sunday. But once the game rolls around, it's all there, you know, so you get yourself ready.
(How did you guys shut down Knox the last time you played?)
It was just good defense, good all‑around defense. You know, our thing is to take care of vertical routes, not allow people to get over the top of us, try to eliminate those big plays, and we weren't going to do that. We got some good pressure up front with our guys, limited the time that Jay had back there to throw the ball and then made some plays downfield. It's always about designing to try to stop their players from having big days.
(Can you talk about the challenge of facing a guy like Olsen?)
Yeah, he's one of those ‑‑ one of the big-play tight ends that you have in the league. He's a guy that has, like you said, size, he has speed, and he also blocks well for them. So he's a guy that can split him out at times or he can run routes for you and get himself upfield, make plays downfield with his speed and catching the ball. He's a threat. You know, he's one of those guys. You have your Antonio Gates who can run well, Jermichael here is one of those guys at tight end, and he's right in there with those guys.
(Not that you took 2007 for granted, but do you kind of cherish this opportunity more considering it's hard to get here and you're not 25 anymore?)**
Yeah, you know, you didn't have to point that out, but ‑‑ (laughter.) Yeah, the important thing is that we're just having fun. We understand what it's all about. 2007 we thought we had a great team. We thought we had as good a chance as any to get to the Super Bowl that year. It didn't work out. And so again, you know, you understand that it's hard to get here, you know, and we're not even to the game we want to be at. It's still the (Conference) Championship. You've got to win this one to move on to actually have that chance to win the Super Bowl. None of us take it for granted where we're at at this point in time in the season, and we're look forward to the challenge.
(Driver said that this team believes more than that team did. Would you agree with that?)**
You know, I don't know. You know, I felt ‑‑ boy, I felt at that time in 2007, I thought we were the best team left and couldn't get it done here at home at Lambeau, and that was tough. But going into that game, you couldn't have told me we were going to lose. I think we were confident at that point in time, but you know, I'm sure Driver is speaking in the now. This team is playing well right now, and we feel good about our chances going into this game and hopefully getting to the Super Bowl. In that respect, I guess yes.
(I think four years ago when you were up here you talked about some of the cultural realities of playing in a place like Green Bay. I just wonder if you could kind of characterize how your time has been here professionally, personally, and what it would mean to bring a championship here?)**
It's been good. It's been a good four and a half, five years now. This is a tremendous place. You know, it's been a great place for me to be, a great place for me to have a family. Personally, I've married since I've been here, two kids, so that's been the biggest blessing in my life is that aspect of it.
Football‑wise, I've enjoyed some great years here as a player. I've played very well here, played with some great guys, great coaches, and you know, I've had a lot of fun. I look forward to this game and hopefully the Super Bowl and playing a few more years here. You know, I never imagined that it would feel this good playing in Green Bay, but it has. You know, I'm very fortunate and very blessed to be here.
(Are you at all surprised with the ease with which you were able to get to Cutler in that last game?)**
Well, you know, nothing is easy, but we played fast, and I think that's the way this team, this defense has been playing all year because we've been playing fast. And I think that's the key to us getting into quarterbacks all season, playing fast, knowing where you're supposed to be, not making the big mistakes, and you know, those type of things work in your favor if you do that. I think the speed of our defense, understanding the defense has been a reason why we've been able to get quarterbacks.