Mark Tauscher Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 9

(What have you seen on film of Kerney?)

He's not only a very talented player but he also plays with high energy and I think when you combine those two things you in the end have a really good player and it shows up constantly on film. He never takes a play off and I think his motor along with his talent is why he's been so successful.

(Do you believe one play can make or break a playoff game?)

Obviously everything is magnified. I don't necessarily know if one play, but there's one or two (that) definitely have a big impact in the outcome of a game, and you never know when that play's going to happen. I think that's what's really interesting about the playoffs, is that things are really magnified and then on top of it you're the only game, everybody's watching that and the outcome and your season depends on the fact that those plays go your way. And like I said you never know when that play is going to happen.

(What do you remember of your matchup with Kerney when he was with the Falcons?)

Basically just what I said. He hasn't changed. I think basically he's just managed his craft better. I think as his experience has gone up he's learned how to do some different things. But he's always been a high-energy, talented player. It hasn't been a case where he's struggled. He's always been successful. I think his numbers have just went way up because of, if it's scheme or what it is, if they've gotten ahead, he's just become I think much more productive than he was earlier.

(What do you remember about the sack he had against you in that game?)

The sack, what year was it? I don't remember much about it. I don't ever remember the bad plays. I get those out of my head as quick as I can, but he's obviously, like I said, he's a challenge and it's going to be a lot of fun going out and testing myself this week.

(You pride yourself on not getting much help. Have you told the coaches you don't want much help on Saturday?)

I've learned you just go into a game expecting to block guys. You don't worry about help and all that stuff. You'd have to have little to no pride to go in and say, 'I need a ton of help,' or, 'Do this,' and if you go into a game thinking, 'I need a ton of help,' you're already behind the 8-ball.

(Can going against Kampman in training camp help you at all against Kerney?)

I think there's obviously a few things that are similar but they're different players. Aaron's a very talented player, they're both going to the Pro Bowl, but in the long run they're different players. They're both very talented guys and they both play extremely hard, and I think that's probably where I'd draw the comparison line at.

(How do your fellow offensive linemen feel about your podium appearance?)

You know I don't know. I haven't asked them. The podium, it doesn't happen all that often for offensive linemen to get pulled up here. Obviously I think with the match-up, that's obviously what most of you guys are interested in, so I haven't really brought it to their attention either. So maybe I'll hear something tomorrow about it, but as far as did I brag about it? No, that's not the case.

(What did you learn as a team from the Dallas game?)

I just think it's always good to put yourself in a position where there's a lot of people looking at you because things get ramped up. We lost the game but the way we played the second half and how we competed was a plus, and to put yourself in that position, hopefully we'll take something from that game this week. But every game kind of stands on its own and you can't really get caught up in, 'Well, these guys have played in 12 playoff games and we only have eight guys that have played in playoff games.' Saturday, the guys that are out there playing, how well are we going to execute, that's really what it's going to come down to. It's not going to come down to the fact that certain guys have played 30 playoff games and other guys haven't. Every game kind of stands on its own.

(Aaron Kampman said you're going to practice more sharply as a team. Is there anything to that?)

I usually don't disagree with 'Kamp' but I think you should prepare the same. I don't necessarily think you should sharpen anything. You want to be sharp at this time of the year with all the reps and everything that we've done. I think if you're doing things that you're normally not doing you're going to get out of what's made you a successful player, so you obviously understand the ramifications of the football game but I don't think you really get caught up in trying to say, 'Well, maybe I need to watch extra film.' Well, you should be doing that during the course of the season then also.

(Can you talk about the progression of the run game throughout the season and what Ryan Grant has meant to you?)

We were kind of beaten around a little bit earlier in the season with our rushing stats and Coach Philbin put up a slide the other day to kind of just emphasize where we were and where we've gotten to, and Ryan Grant's obviously been a big component to our success in the second half of the season. We realize what kind of football team we are and we can be balanced. Ryan has added a lot from a standpoint that he gets going and he is explosive. He's had a lot of big runs and ... you mentioned the big plays. That's what wins. You have to be explosive and Ryan's given us that dimension that we simply didn't have in the beginning of the season.

(Is it fun for the line when Grant breaks a big run?)

It's great every time the running back breaks open and we put him on the safety. That's all we ask for and more times than not he's beaten the safety and had long runs. I don't know how many over-20-yard runs he's had, but that demoralizes a defense and that's what's fun for us as offensive linemen. Defenses always pride themselves on stopping the run and if they stop you a couple times and then you bust one on them it puts doubt in their head. I think that's what, from an offensive linemen's standpoint, is something we obviously want to have happen.

(How has your pass protection stayed so good with juggling linemen in and out of the lineup?)

I think there's a lot of components to pass protection. You have guys that have a lot of pride in it and then you have a quarterback that understands the system, how to get rid of the football, where the ball's going to go, and you combine all those things I think that's the major reason why we've been successful throwing the football.

(What did you know about Grant before he got here and did the trade register when it happened?)

No, to be honest with you it didn't. I think it happened the final cutdown day if I'm not mistaken when the trade happened and that time guys are kind of hoping they made the team and you're just kind of looking at the roster when you get here, and everything is kind of set. You're obviously not going to throw somebody in that you traded a 6th round pick for right off the get-go and once he's gotten in there he's a hard-working guy, very humble, fun to be around. Once he's gotten his opportunity -- and I think that's all as a football player you want is an opportunity -- he had it and he's made the most of it. That's what I think guys really respect about him.

(Do you remember the moment Grant went from being just a guy to someone who would make an impact?)

Yeah, as a matter of fact, the New York Giants game. I remember it was actually not even during the game, it was watching film the next day. We threw a screen pass to him and he made a series of two moves that were phenomenal. He didn't get in the end zone but he got very close. It was a big play in the game -- I think it was in the first or second quarter of the game. The game was still, I think it was 7-7, and he made a great move getting us down in position to go and score a touchdown and that's when people, we were watching the film and we were like 'Geez, that's a phenomenal move,' and when you see that kind of talent I think that gets everybody excited.

(What is like the second time around being on the cusp of greatness?)

I just think for me personally you appreciate it a lot more. You go through a 4-12 season. When we first came here it was a new coach and we went through a first season very similar to how the last season finished up. And then we just went 12-4, 12-4, playoffs, playoffs four years in a row. Not that you take it for granted but you kind of start assuming this is how it is. Then you hit a season where you go 4-12 and you understand how miserable (it is). This is a great job, but when you're losing...We were just talking about it up in the O-line room about when you're 4-12 how miserable a feeling that is. You make a lot of money, you enjoy playing, but you play football to win and to put yourself in the position that we're in. And I think the guys that have been here understand how important it is to always try to take advantage of opportunities like we have.

(How is this playoff team different than the ones you've been on before?)

I feel like our playmakers make more plays maybe than we have in the past, and that's not to take anything away from the past teams. It just seems like when we need a big play we get it, and it comes from our running back, it comes from our quarterback, our defense, our special teams. It just seems like every week you look, especially early in the season, every week that you look at when we needed a big play...Charles Woodson takes a fumble back against the Redskins when we were struggling offensively. And that's how teams win. You're not always going to be executing at a high level. You have to find ways to win when things aren't going as well as you'd hoped.

{sportsad300}(Do you relish your matchup with Kerney being in the spotlight?)

As an offensive lineman you want to be not seen. You don't want to hear your name called. What you want to have happen is just go out, I pride myself on trying to be consistent, trying to be the same player every week, and that's what I'm going to be looking for. I'm not going to necessarily jump at the fact that it's going to be a spotlighted match-up if that is the case, but I just want to go out and execute to the best of my abilities when we go out there on Saturday.

(Do veterans like you appreciate the time off with the bye more so than younger players or rookies?)

I think when you're in a good rhythm and the way we finished the season against Detroit, you want to get back out there and play, but in the same respect that first-round bye is a huge thing. You don't have to put yourself out there for that week. Guys that are banged up get a chance to get refreshed a little bit and I think that's definitely a positive. But we're kind of creatures of habit. We want to stick to our routine and go with it. Now with a week off everybody's fresh and we've gotten back into our routine this week.

(How important is being able to block 1-on-1 to make the 5-receiver set work?)

I did answer parts of that question and you always assume that you're going to be able to go out and block people; that's why you're in this position. Now is it every snap or do you want to do things differently? We are a team that likes to spread people out and do things, and I would assume that we're going to continue to do that. I'm not going to give anything away what we're doing, but we play to our strengths and I think that's been one reason why we've been as successful as we've been.

(How different is your job as a tackle at home as opposed to being on the road?)

It's a big difference. When you're playing especially in a loud dome against a very good speed rusher you can't get off on the snap count. You consistently have to look in at the ball and that makes a big difference when you're trying to get back in your set. You want to get in a position and when you're going to be a half-step slower than the other guy it puts your body in a position maybe that you don't want to be in, and that's why I think playing at home, it's probably most important from a standpoint of players would be the offensive tackles because we're at the biggest disadvantage. When you're on the road in a very tough venue it is a disadvantage, but it's something that you can work around if you have a silent count and do some different things. But it's a huge advantage to play at home, and that's definitely one position that I think would feel it.

(Was the Washington tackle lined up against Kerney having to look in at the ball a lot?)

There's the silent count. The Redskins' tackle had to look in and you have to focus on other things rather than just block the guy that you're playing against. So, yeah, it's definitely something that Seattle's known for having a very tough place to go up there and play. Their fans are unbelievable. They make a lot of noise and that definitely causes some problems.

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