Eric Ghiaciuc: Honestly I think we just kept our noses to the grindstone. We sputtered for a little bit when I first got in there. I had some technique things that don't come up in practice because the tempo is not as high as the games, and when we got into the games I realized I had some things to work on. As I got more solid and set my feet on the ground, the rest of the offensive line got more comfortable and the trust began to build. I feel that was part of the reason our offense picked up a little bit; not just because of me, but because the offense finally got comfortable and said "alright Ghiaciuc's our guy for the time being so let's just go win games" and everyone just came out relaxed, we got our poise back, we were more comfortable and just made plays.
ET: What's Carson Palmer's demeanor like out there on the field?
EG: He's a tremendous competitor, he's very intense, but at the same time -- if it's possible – he's also very, very laid back. You'll be on the field and somebody cracks a joke and he'll laugh or he'll crack a joke. But as soon as he has the football in his hands, there's nothing but intensity all over his face. I think that's what makes him special because he's able to think, process, play, and he remains very calm. It's a tribute to him because of all of the things he has to process as a quarterback.
ET: What's your demeanor out there on the field? If a defensive lineman's trash-talking are you giving it back to him or do you just shrug it off?
EG: I just kind of egg them on a little bit because as soon as they talk trash to me, I know they're not thinking about the play and I'm just going to come at them harder. I'm an extreme competitor, but if someone starts talking trash I don't return it because it gets me off my game. I don't have any problem with it because somebody can talk to me all they want, but I don't have to talk back to them.
|Center Eric Ghiaciuc and QB Carson Palmer (Getty Images/Al Behrman)|
EG: Kris Jenkins from Carolina, he's just one of the best in the league. Jamal Williams from San Diego, he's a very good nose (guard). Vince Wilfork, he's one of those guys who are quick off the ball and solid with their hands. Casey Hampton (Pittsburgh) is difficult to block because he's very smart -- and usually the smarter the defensive lineman, the harder they are to block.
ET: Rich Braham held down the center spot for many years in Cincinnati. Tell us what he meant to you this year while you settled in as the starter...
EG: Rich is a good person off the field as well as on the field. He's always been available to answer my questions and he's offered his best insight on blocking techniques. He relates very well to all of the struggles I had as a first-year player, so he was a valuable asset to me last year as well as this year.
ET: What impact did the announcement of his retirement have on the team?
EG: I don't know really how to say it properly, but when people think of the Bengals, one of the people you'll always think of is Rich Braham because he's been around the program for so long and is a definite staple in the program. To see Richie go is obviously a sad thing, but everybody has his time and he thought he was at that point. He went out classy and had quite a standing ovation at Paul Brown Stadium.
ET: Tell us a bit about the guards who stand shoulder to shoulder with you and what you appreciate the most about those guys.
EG: Bobbie Williams is a rare guard because there isn't anybody Bobbie Williams can't come off the ball and move. He's one of the strongest guards in the league and he's a solid part of the offensive line…flat out. He communicates very well, he's very alert, and if something happens on the offensive line I hear him first, he's always talking. Eric Steinbach is a little bit different. He, like Bobbie, always communicates and if we're in a loud place and I can't hear the play, he's always got it. For some reason he can hear anything. He's an incredible athlete, he's easily one of the most athletic guards in the league. Each one is a little different, but those two guys are very, very important.
ET: Where will you spend the offseason?
EG: I'll be back and forth between Cincinnati and Michigan, visiting family and going on vacation and stuff like that.
ET: Any fun vacation trips planned at this point?
EG: We might go out west, I have a friend with a little place out in Montana, and we might go to Mexico…someplace warm.
ET: Anything you'd like to say to the Bengals fans who read this article?
EG: Be ready for next season because we're going to come out playing.