Charles Woodson Press Conf. Transcript - Jan. 26


Charles, when did you sign that jersey for the President, and what went into your thinking?
Just early this morning. And just a gift for him. He's in Wisconsin. We want to treat him right. So that was it.

I saw the video of your post-game thing.  What did you think when he said he was a Bears fans.  What did you think about him on the Bears' bandwagon, and is there room for him on yours?
I voted for him. So why is he not a Green Bay fan? So that was really the thinking behind it. I jumped on his bandwagon a couple years ago and voted for him. So for him to only go to the Super Bowl because Chicago was there, I thought it's not fair to me. I'm a voter. I'm a taxpayer. So I want him to root for the Packers as well.

Based on your experience playing against Roethlisberger last year, what did you find from your point of view, what was unique about playing him?
Ben is just one of those guys that knows how to get it done. He's not going to always kill you with numbers and those sorts of things. But when their team needs a play, he being their guy, he can get it done. And he makes a lot of guys look bad out there on the field during the course of the games with making guys miss who have free rushes, free shots at him. Or if they get to him, breaking tackles, and still being able to keep a play alive. And he's done that his whole career.

And he has hardware to show for that, two championships.  But to be a young quarterback and to have those accomplishments tells you a lot about what kind of player he is.

You've been at the Super Bowl before with the Raiders.  How different is the feeling going with the Packers this time around?
You know, one of the biggest things is that that year, with everything being pushed back, you know because of 9/11, as soon as our championship game was over, we were basically trying to get everybody's families together, trying to figure out travel arrangements and the tickets right after the game. We had a quick meeting and we were on a flight, basically, within hours of that game. So everything was just kind of rushed. So I think for me, you know, that's the biggest difference. But as far as team wise, I've never felt better about a team than I do about this team right now.

How do you embrace the leadership role?  During the postseason it seems like you're addressing the team before and after games.  Have you become more of a vocal leader?
As far as these playoffs are concerned, I was fortunate enough to be voted one of the playoff captains. Coach allowed the captains to come up with who was going to talk before the team before games and that sort of thing. The other captains kind of nominated me without any voting process, they kind of pushed me out there to be the guy to do it. And it was fine with me. I feel like I've played this game a long time, played it at a high level. I feel like the things I can say to the team are things that mean something to them, and I can give them something that maybe I've been through and just shed a little light on this process. So it just kind of happened that way. But it's a road that I feel comfortable with.

The stuff you're saying, does it come naturally? Do you give it a lot of thought?
You have to give it some thought, absolutely. You don't want to just go up there and rant. You want to give it some thought because you're talking to your peers, and at the same time you're talking at a time where the games are bigger than ever. So you put some thought into it, and you want to be able to tell them something, something that they could feel. You don't want to just talk and cliche guys to death. You want to give them something they can feel. So that's what I try to do.

Charles, you'll be a guy who obviously will have to cover what Dom was just in here talking about extending a play when it's Ben, because he might have two seconds, three seconds in the pocket and another two or three outside of the pocket.

But the other challenge, of course, you might come free on a blitz at some time and get a shot at him.  To try to bring someone down that big, just try and describe how difficult it is, what the approach is to sack him.
Yeah, you know, as a rusher, being in that part of the game, when you get your shot, you know, you can't just go full speed and reckless. You've got to kind of break down and be ready to move either way with the quarterback. Because it doesn't take much for a quarterback to just step one foot forward or step one foot back, and you'll miss him completely. So you've got to come with some sort of controlled aggression, once you get to the quarterback. And when you get your hands on him, you can't let go. He's gotta go down. So that will be the task. Not only for me but for our defensive linemen and linebackers as well.

Charles, were you shell-shocked by your last Super Bowl experience?  Are you the type of person to use negative motivation to fuel you?
Yeah. You have to. That was -- it was a great experience, you know, playing that season, being a great season for that team and getting to the Super Bowl. It was a whirlwind. But we got into that game and we just didn't show up. So I know having been once, and that being 10 years ago or whatever it was, that they don't come very often for a lot of people. Some people never get there. Pittsburgh Steelers, they're a team that's been there a couple times in the last few years.  That doesn't happen to everybody.  So this is an opportunity that, it's all or nothing, and that's the way we're going to approach it.

Could you talk about your relationship with Joe Whitt, as far as your being an established player and him being a coach, basically?
Yeah. You know that's the situation you never really know how it's going to turn out. I've played in this league a long time. I'm older than Joe, and he's coming in and now he's a younger guy and he's your coach, you know. So that's always a tough situation for both parties involved. And for a veteran who's seen a lot, played in a lot of games, have a lot of experience, it's hard to listen to somebody who comes in who is younger than you.

But the great thing about Joe is that, for one he's a coach's son, and those people who seem to always have an edge as far as knowing the game of football.  And with him he's probably the best Xs and Os coach I've been around as far as secondary is concerned.  And as I said last week, he's a great teacher as well.  So being able to teach a guy some things that maybe he didn't pick up on that's been in the league for a long time says a lot about him, his preparation, his knowledge of the game and then him being able to get young guys to understand the game as well and play at the level that they're playing at.

He's done a great job with our secondary, our corners as a whole, and a lot of what we've done as a secondary this year is in large part because of Joe Whitt.

Is it quick to get the trust like that, or was it just kind of an ongoing process where he had to prove himself several times, okay, this guy knows his stuff or did that come quick?
Actually I knew it pretty early when he was here. Before he was actually our defensive back coach, I sat and talked with him a few times when he was here under Bob Sanders. You could tell he was a guy that knew a lot about the game. Now, how he was going to be once he was the coach, I had no idea about that. So that part was a process. But he's handled it as well as could be expected and I have a lot of respect for Joe Whitt.

Which do you think was the more impressive performance by Pittsburgh's offense, building the lead against the Jets or come from behind against the Raiders?
Man, I think it would be a come from behind. I think probably all of you guys and anybody else who watched, if you think or if you see the Baltimore Ravens with a lead like that, they're not going to lose the game.  So for Pittsburgh to regroup, whatever they did that game, whatever adjustments that they made, I think that's probably the more impressive win for them. Against the Jets, they got the lead and it started to slip away there in the end.  So I think a comeback victory against a team who is also known for defense is probably the more impressive victory.

Considering what Shields and Raji did Sunday, after what you and Clay and Collins and Tramon Williams have done, have you been on a defense with this many playmakers?
No, man, you know, every week it's somebody else. And it's somebody young. The thing about the league now is that you come in as a young player and there's no time to develop. You're expected to play. You're expected to play well, and nobody's going to make excuses for you if you don't play well. These guys, week in and week out, they've just been making big plays for this team. And overall, like you said, we have a ton of guys that can just make plays at any time, any point in the game.

Being around you now since '06, we all know how important winning a Super Bowl is.  Can you kind of articulate how obsessed you are with it, how it motivates you, how much you think about it, how it impacts the kind of guy you are?
Yeah, I mean, around the clock. I think about it around the clock. I don't know how much more than that you can think about it. But since we got into the playoffs and going to Philly and beating Philly and then going to Atlanta and winning in Atlanta, you get closer and closer, you just get a little bit more anxious each and every time. Then you go to Chicago, you've got one more step before you get there. So the anxiety just continues to build and build in anticipation to make it to the Super Bowl. And then you win that game and you've still got "the" game. So you feel good about winning in this NFC Championship. But that's not the end all.

So there's still some more to get to.  But it's an everyday, every minute, every second thought for myself.

After you didn't win in Oakland, and then things went the way they did in Oakland, did you wonder if it was always going to be a hole in your resume with everything else you've accomplished, if you'd ever get the chance again?
You just don't know. I'm not going to say I didn't think I'd ever be there again. But I just knew how hard it was. I knew how hard the process was, building that team the first few years I was in Oakland and the guys with Gruden and the guys they brought in, and finally getting to a playoff game and then a championship game and then finally the Super Bowl, and then you don't win it. That was a tough, tough pill to swallow.

Then after that, the losing seasons, losing season, losing seasons, and I leave and I come to Green Bay, and you still really don't know what to expect, you know.  We had a lot of talent around here when I first got here.  We won some games, but couldn't get over the hump.  Then we get to a championship game and you lose it.  And it's like, you know, wow, it's hard getting here.  You want to be able to get there and win it.  So I'm just very pleased and feel good about a situation now and hopefully we can go down there and win it.

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