Coming On With A Rush - A Q&A With Packers DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila


DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila sacked QB Brad Johnson three times in the Packers first meeting with the Bucs this year.

Second-year defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila didn't get a sack against the Ravens, but don't think the man, whose name means "Big Man Come and Save Me" in Nigerian and who answers to the initials KGB, didn't make his presence felt.

Gbaja-Biamila entered the game with a league-high nine sacks. In only four games, he had gone from a fifth-round project out of San Diego State a year ago to one of this season's most unexpected surprises.

The Ravens paid close attention to Gbaja-Biamila throughout the game (he faced Pro Bowl tackle Jonathan Ogden most of the time). Baltimore double-teamed him at times and rolled away from his side.

The Ravens were determined to neutralize Gbaja-Biamila. Unfortunately for them, that also meant opening the door for other Packers defenders.

Green Bay nose tackle Santana Dotson sacked Elvis Grbac and forced him to fumble with 3:02 remaining in the first half. On the ensuing drive, the Packers scored a touchdown to take a 17-7 lead at halftime.

Green Bay knocked Grbac out of the game with a mild concussion late in the fourth quarter after he already had thrown two interceptions.

Gbaja-Biamila sat down with NFL Insider to discuss his rise to stardom.

Q: Describe what it's been like to go from backup player to being in the spotlight?

A: I have enjoyed the notoriety, but it hasn't changed me as a person. I still go out and practice and play just like I did as a rookie. The only real difference between now and my rookie season is that more people want to talk to me.

Q: What is your secret?

A: My secret is that in all areas of my life I am fully committed to using the gifts I've been given to their fullest. God has blessed me, and I consider myself kind of like a Jedi in Star Wars who has the force with him.

Q: What do you consider are your main strengths?

A: There is no doubt that speed is my strongest asset. But I also have worked really hard under the expert guidance of our defensive line coach Jethro Franklin. We spent a lot of time this past offseason working on new moves. Jethro probably has more influence on my development as a pass rusher than any other coach.

Q: Did the Ravens do more to try and neutralize your pass rush and do you expect that the rest of the season?

A: They did, but that's fine with me because it will just allow my teammates to get more opportunities. I'm just in the right place at the right time now. We have some very impressive defensive linemen and getting sacks is a team effort. Defensive backs and linebackers have to cover the receivers well enough to give us time to get to the quarterbacks, and our defensive calls have to execute well on the line. I don't care who gets the sack or credit. We win and lose as a team.

Q: How did it feel to go up against Ravens Pro Bowl tackle Jonathan Ogden?

A: Ogden is a great player and a great test for me. He did some really good things today, but I think he held me a lot, too. I think all offensive linemen hold more than what they get called for. I like going against him one-on-one. He's very athletic. He can recover very quickly when he does get beat and his long arms give him a great advantage.

Q: Why do you think the Packers' defense has been so good so far?

A: It all starts with [head coach] Mike Sherman. He has helped foster a strong closeness and brotherhood on this team. We care about each other and work well as a team. In the offseason, Coach would have us do things together such as playing paint ball or having family picnics. We have become like family to each other.

Q: You got married on Friday before the game. Did this distract you before the game?

A: On Friday, getting married was the most important thing in my life. But it didn't affect my play. Because on Sunday, the game was the most important thing in my life. I concentrate on the moment at hand. A football career can be very short. I'll have my whole life to enjoy being married.

Q: Where did you and your wife meet?

A: My wife Eileen and I met at San Diego State University. She was a strength and conditioning coach. And let me tell you, she doesn't let me take any days off when it comes to staying in shape.

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