Tauscher Ready For Strahan Assignment


If the Packers offense is to keep up its high-scoring performance from last week's game at Indianapolis when the New York Giants visit Lambeau Field this weekend, one key will definitely be continuing to protect Brett Favre when he drops back to pass.

Through three games, the Packers have allowed just three sacks, which ties Dallas for fewest in the NFC. Green Bay's stalwart offensive line may have a task on their hands, however, as the Giants have already dropped opposing quarterbacks 10 times, fourth-best in the NFL.

When you think of the Giants pass rush, your thoughts immediately go toward defensive end Michael Strahan, who set the NFL all-time single-season record with 22.5 sacks in 2001.

The 12-year veteran and six-time Pro Bowler, who leads all active players with 117 career sacks, is well on his way to another fine season, having picked up three sacks, including two last week against Cleveland.

Strahan predominately lines up on the left side of the Giants' defensive front, meaning that right tackle Mark Tauscher will draw the assignment of blocking the future Hall of Famer for the Packers Sunday.

Tauscher, a fifth-year man from the University of Wisconsin, was given a vote of confidence by GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman during the coach's weekly Wednesday press conference.

"Strahan is a future Hall of Fame football player that has done marvelous things in this league," Sherman said. "He continues to do them on Sundays. He's caused fumbles, recovered fumbles, whatever.

"But Tauscher always rises to the challenge. Tausch is an amazing guy to me. You look at Strahan and you look at him and you say, 'How's this going to work out?' But Tausch always rises to the occasion. I'm confident in him against a good player, and Michael's a hell of a player. But I have confidence - I'd put my money on Tausch."

Tauscher also spoke respectfully of Strahan, but said that he's got a lot of confidence going into the match-up.

"He's about as good as they come and he's been doing it for a long time," said Tauscher. "I have a lot of respect for him. I feel he's probably one of the best players I've played against since I've been in the league. I'll go out there and play as hard as I can - I have a lot of confidence in myself, too."

When asked what makes Strahan so good, Tauscher appeared to have a good grip on the scouting report and knows what to expect from his adversary come game day.

"He turns his speed to explosion better than anybody," Tauscher said. "He causes pretty much everybody he goes against a lot of problems. He causes a lot of problems just as far as his power. He's not the heaviest guy, but he's probably the most explosive."

The two have met head-to-head once before, in a game that will be most remembered for a controversial sack by Strahan at Giants Stadium in early 2002.

Strahan entered the 2001 season finale 1/2 a sack shy of Mark Gastineau's record of 22 sacks in a season. With right guard Marco Rivera slowed by a broken hand, Tauscher split time between tackle and guard, forming a rotation with Earl Dotson at tackle to block Strahan.

Late in the game, Favre rolled out away from the protection of the line and went to the ground before being touched for the record-breaking sack by Strahan.

"Earl and I kind of switched off, we split about a quarter each with (Strahan)," Tauscher recalled Wednesday. "We both respected what he does. Going into that game, the media had made a big deal (about the record) and rightfully so, and we didn't want to give him that. But it happened, and that's three years ago, so that's old news."

Tauscher hopes to make some new news by keeping Strahan off the stat sheet Sunday. The match-up should definitely be one to watch.

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