Nick Barnett Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 9

Read the transcripts of all of the press conferences held in the Lambeau Field media auditorium on Wednesday. Mike McCarthy | Joe Philbin | Bob Sanders | Mike Stock Nick Barnett | Mark Tauscher | Ryan Grant Seattle Conference Calls: Mike Holmgren | Matt Hasselbeck Jan. 8 Transcripts Audio | Video | Packers-Seahawks Game Center

(What was it like watching from the sidelines last year in Seattle?)

Last year, going into that game and not being able to play, having the broken hand or whatever and we jumped out on them and then they came back and we lost the game. It was just agonizing every play for me, no matter if we were doing good or bad, just because I wanted to be out there with my guys and playing in that game. It looked fun with all the snow and crazy weather on that Monday night game, so it was disappointing. I'm glad that we have an opportunity to play them again.

(Is it nice on any level that the game might have made the Packers realize what they're missing without you in there?)

I don't even think like that, honestly. You know, we've got a lot of great guys who are behind me. Abdul (Hodge) I thought he did fairly well. There were a couple plays, but those were plays that any veteran could have missed. But I thought he went in and played well. It was just disappointing not being able to be in there to give the effort to win that game. But that was last year, so it doesn't matter this year.

(Do you buy into the fact that one play can change a playoff game?)

In the playoffs I think every single play is very important, is a direct determinant - I don't know if that was the right word - to the outcome of the game. That's what is so special about the playoffs. Everything counts, from that opening kickoff to the last play of the game. It all determines if you're going home or not, so you have to be on top of your game and study and not have any mental mistakes. That's the biggest part about this game at this level is the mental aspect of this game and that's what we're preparing for.

(Have you always been a high-energy player or do you have to work yourself into being that way?)

I think it's always been like that. I've been playing football all my life and in the earlier years I didn't like it because it took away from my Nintendo playing time, but as I got older this game, I just love to play it and to go out there and get guys excited to play. There's only one way to play this game and that's to be excited about it and have fun doing it, and so that's what I try to do. And I try to bring a little attitude with it, a little chip on my shoulder, but it's all in fun. That's what it's all about.

(What would be the biggest points of dealing with Seattle's offense?)

For me they're fairly similar to our offense in the aspect of they throw the ball a lot. They have a lot of great weapons with (Shaun) Alexander at the running back and their fullback has been a weapon on passing downs as well, and (Maurice) Morris is great on third downs. Those are the things I have to worry about, tight ends as well, so those are pretty much my bullet points is coverage this week. Hopefully they try to come out and run the ball, make the game a little bit funner than just passing it for us.

(What was your reaction to what Hasselbeck said at the last playoff game?)

At the time I didn't even hear it, I didn't even know. Sometimes you know you say some things and it comes back to bite you in the butt, and sometimes you say some things and it happens your way. It's all part of the game. I didn't take any offense. We ended up winning that game so it ended up biting him in the butt.

(Do you think we'll see the two best middle linebackers in the NFC on Saturday?)

I can come at this question so many different ways. I don't want to put myself as saying I'm one of the best middle linebackers in the game, but you're definitely going to see some high level of play out of the linebackers. They have a linebacking corps and I like to think that we have a great linebacking corps - very active and playmakers. (Julian) Peterson, he makes plays, Lofa (Tatupu) and all those guys, and I like to think that our guys are high-level, high-performance guys as well.

(What is it like for you to once again be on the cusp of doing something special?)

For me I'm excited. This is the furthest I've been as far as levels of the playoffs. We had that year in Philly where it kind of just slipped away from us and one game from being in the NFC Championship. To have that opportunity now is huge and I definitely think we're capable of getting there, but the road goes through Seattle - or should I say goes through Green Bay - but we're excited man. We're a little different when you guys are in there, but when you walk around the locker room guys are just excited this is that week. We have an opportunity, it could be once in a lifetime. I know guys who've been in the league, who've made Pro Bowls, who've played 11 years, who've never made the playoffs and this is a great opportunity for a lot of people to take advantage of.

(Do you go back to 2003 and say you're not going to let that happen again?)

I take every experience that I've had - all the lessons I've learned - and try to put it into each game. Obviously this is the biggest game of this year for us. We win, we continue, we lose, we go home, so every mistake that I've ever made, I try to make sure that I don't make that one on this game. There was a lot of things to be learned from that game and I've talked to a lot of the linebackers and told them this is one of those games when you make one mistake you will remember it the remainder of your career. You know, one play you will remember it. It's not like the regular season game, 'Well that was one play,' and move on. You remember 4th-and-26 the remainder of your career. You remember all that stuff so you've just got to continue to be very keen on that mental aspect of the game.

(How's Brady Poppinga this week?)

Brady's just excited, man, and the thing is he never changes any week, and that's why I like to think our linebacking corps, we practice at a playoff level every week. That guy has so much excitement and it's just so fun to watch practice and play. He's just one of those guys that is great to have in your corps, who's great for the camaraderie, great for everything, man. I really love our linebacking corps. I don't think I've ever had this much camaraderie since I've been here.

(Is this a chance for your linebacking corps to put yourselves on the national map?)

We look at this as an opportunity to move on to the NFC Championship game and bottom line any national game is a chance to showcase your abilities as well. And of course every player in this league wants to be noticed as one of the best at his position. But is that an emphasis? No, my emphasis is to make sure no guy catches the ball on me, make sure there's no missed tackles, make sure I'm playing with 110 percent effort. Those guys, they made the Pro Bowl. Unfortunately we only had a couple guys and it sucks because we were whatever our record was. I don't remember it because it's a new record now. It's the playoffs. But we played well and only got a couple guys, but we're not worried about that because we've got a lot bigger things to worry about at this point.

{sportsad300}(You've had some run-ins with opposing players this year. Do you enjoy trying to get in the other guys' heads?)

I think they enjoy trying to get into my head. It's fun, you know. It's part of the game I think. I don't, you know, try to get too trashy with it or do anything dirty. I think it's just getting each other excited about playing one another. I like having fun doing that. It gets in my face, I'm going to get in your face. I never back down from any challenge and I always look for a nice little scrummage before the game, try to get my excitement going, but sometimes people just run by and want to engage in any extracurricular activities, but it's just for fun.

(Do you have to be careful with letting your emotions get out of control?)

You can't let your emotions get the best of you. For me I'm definitely an emotional player, so I'm always looking for something to get my emotions fired up in some way or another - whether it's I'm mad or angry or happy that I made a play or whatever it is. I'm always trying to get my emotions going. That's what gets me going as a player, but you do have to be careful (and don't) let your emotions get away from you and do something stupid and get a penalty and cost your team.

(How have you taken your game up to another level this season?)

I think for me I just played a lot smarter this year, come out and made a lot more plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage. (I) made plays, not me always necessarily making a sack or me always making a tackle (but) being in the position where I create a situation where my teammates can make plays as well. A lot of my improvement has to do with a lot of the guys on the team as well, with A.J. (Hawk) playing the way he plays and Brady (Poppinga) playing the way he plays and the D-line keeping guys off of me and the corners making it nowhere for them to throw the ball but to my guy and I'm able to make the plays. I mean it's a group effort. I think in the NFL there's a lot of talent. A lot of linebackers have a lot of talent but when you have surrounding guys around you it makes you that much better.

(Is part of that success the stability with the defensive coordinator?)

True that. I've had different defensive coordinators almost all the years I've been here except for these last couple years with Bob. I know the defense now inside-out and this is the first year I've had it where I just know it. I know when to make checks and I know who's going to be where, what gaps to go into and I'm able to do things down the field that I wasn't always comfortable with doing in the earlier years because I wasn't familiar with the defense. I think that's, with this young team, last year in the beginning of the year we had a lot of mental mistakes, and that's because the guys weren't used to the scheme. As the year went on we became a better defense in those last four games and it's kind of carried over the momentum into this year and I think we're going to continue to grow hopefully all the way to Arizona.

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