News

Print
RSS

Transcript: Mike Smith and Matt Ryan Interviews

Posted Sep 5, 2012

Head coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan spoke to the Atlanta media Wednesday to discuss Sunday's game at Kansas City

Mike Smith

On the injury report:

“It’s a pretty good injury report. We’ve got two players that were limited in participation today. I anticipate they will be ready to go on Sunday. They were Jason Snelling and Chris Owens. Those were the only two guys on our report, and they practiced today on a limited basis.”

On advice he will give LB Akeem Dent making his first start:

“Do what you’ve been doing your whole career and relax. He’s been a guy that’s played already. He’s played special teams, so it’s not like it’s going be his first time out there on an NFL field. He’ll have to go out there and relax and let the game come to him. He’s been playing the game a long time. I’ll tell him its one hundred and twenty yards long, fifty four and a third wide, and every ten yards is a first down and go out and play. I don’t anticipate he’ll have any issues.”

On DE Tyson Jackson and DE Glenn Dorsey:

“Tyson Jackson and Dorsey are two big five techniques. Two gap guys in their 3-4 defense. They will undershift into an underlook as well. It’ll give you a four man front. Those guys are good players. [LB Justin] Houston is a good pass rusher. He had five and a half sacks last year. It’s going to be important for us to control the line of scrimmage.”

On TE Tony Gonzalez going back to Kansas City:

“I’m sure that it’s going to be an emotional time. It’s his first time back there. Tony’s a pro and he says he’s 99.9 percent that this is his last year. I’m holding out for that .1 percent. It’ll be an emotional time I’m sure for him. He’s got a lot of good memories. I don’t know how many guys are on that roster that he played with, but he’s going back where he’s played a whole lot of ball games. I know Tony’s excited to get this season started like all of us.”

On having a sense for how your team will be:

“I get a sense for our team. I usually try and not talk about it. I got a sense in my mind of where we are as a football team and most of the time it is accurate barring any unforeseen injuries. I think you know your team and you know the guys you’ve got and you know what the guys are capable of doing. I will say this, I’m very pleased with the way our guys have gone through our training camp and their preparation. One of our main goals was to get to the season healthy, and if you look at our injury report we’ve been able to accomplish that. We don’t have a whole lot of guys that are nicked up. To me that’s a big advantage to have a full bus when you take off to go to the airport on Saturday.”

On having a better sense of where this team is compared to last year’s team:

“I think that we have one goal and that’s to be better than we were last year. I think all 31 teams beside us have the same goal. We want to be better than we were last year. We’re a year older. We’re a year more mature. It’s a different makeup of the roster, and I like how the guys have worked. I think this is a team that loves to play the game. They play hard and when you do that you have a chance to win.”

On Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter and QB Matt Ryan:

“I’m very impressed with how quickly they’ve gotten on the same page. The one thing I think about both Matt and Dirk is they’re very collaborative. They can have conversations and its two ways. Matt’s been in our system for four years. He’s got some things he believes in, and I think that he’s got to be a part of the process of building our offense. He deserves that. He’s earned that because of the way he’s played and Dirk has been very receptive. It will look different. It will be different than our offense from last year and their relationship is outstanding.”

On getting through training camp without major injuries:

“I think you’ve got to have a lot of luck. In terms of playing week in and week out throughout the season it’s such a fine line. The way we practice, the way we prepare, the way we do things in our athletic performance, I don’t just think it’s one thing. It’s a number of things. We push hydration. We push rest. If you ask our guys, they understand what is important and what’s not important to be in the best shape you can be. It’s a long season. The next step for us is to make sure we’re staying on plan and staying on task to be as healthy as we can throughout the season. That might mean resting guys during the season. We’ve got guys that we’ve rested through the offseason and we might have to rest them during the season. Not on Sunday, but Monday through Saturday we’ll rest those guys.”

Matt Ryan

On the opening game:

“The first week is always kind of difficult for the preparation, because you’re going to have some different looks you’re not prepared for and you have to make those adjustments on the side. We’ve got an experienced bunch. We’ve got guys that have been in our system and have adapted to (Offensive Coordinator) Dirk’s (Koetter) new stuff really well. For us, the focus has to be on being rock solid with our game plan and having a really good understanding of what we’re doing and what we want to do. Then (we have to) be able to adjust to whatever we see throughout the game.”

On what’s going through TE Tony Gonzalez’s head:

“I can only imagine. It’s going to be a mixed bag a little bit. You’re going to have to ask him for exactly what’s going on. I think it’s going to be special for him. He played there for a long time. Obviously, he established himself as the premier tight end in the history of the League there. He’s improved on that here. I can only imagine. It’s going to be a fun day for him.”

On getting to week one:

“It’s exciting. Week one is always exciting. You get to game plan, and you get to get into what we want to do and what we’re going to be as an offense this year. I’m excited about that. It’s always a great atmosphere. I think Kansas City will be one of the best places in the League to start off the season. They have a lot of history there.”

On what it is about this team that gets him excited:

“The guys. I think the biggest thing I’m excited about is my teammates. We’ve got talented guys across the board offensively and defensively. Letting them go out there and make plays, and letting them do what they’re capable of doing is exciting.”

On getting over the hump in the red zone:

“We’ve got to improve on the details. When we went back and looked at some of those tapes from the preseason it’s the little things that kept us out of the endzone. It also comes down to making plays. I think we’ve got to have an aggressive mindset. Be aggressive when we get down there and just make the plays when they present themselves. That’s going to be our focus this week in the red zone. I’m sure our coaches have dialed up a great plan for us to do that. Then it’s just about going out there and making those plays.”

On the new digital headsets:

“The headsets are a little bit different this year. They’re digital. They’re clear. It’s not like a walkie talkie in your helmet anymore. It’s more like a cell phone.”

On the old headsets:

“Our equipment guys might have some horrifying stories of myself and Smitty coming off on the sideline. We were either in Oakland or San Diego and Madonna was having a concert right next door and we were getting a pretty good sound check before the game and during the game so they switched that off. Hopefully we don’t have any of those issues anymore.”

On LB Tamba Hali not being out there:

“It goes without saying he’s a great player and one of the best in the League. I’m sure they’ll make adjustments in terms of scheme and personnel to try and create what they’re going to miss without him. It’s still a talented defense. On the back end, they’ve got two players in S Eric Berry and CB Brandon Flowers that I think are some of the best in the League. At the linebacker level, you’ve got some physical guys. Guys that can make plays and that are athletic. The scheme allows them to get one-on-one matchups. I still think we’ve got our work cut out for us. They have some talented players on that defense. We’re going to have to play well.”

On how he thinks Gonzalez will play:

“One thing I’ve come to know about him in the time that he’s been here is he’s extremely consistent. Week in and week out he brings his best game. I expect the same from him. I expect what he normally brings to it. He’s also a guy that has a pretty level head. I’m sure it’ll be different for him going back there. Once you get out there I’m sure he’ll let all those things go to the side, and he’ll focus on doing his job and playing the position the best he can.”