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Transcripts: Falcons at Chiefs

Posted Sep 9, 2012

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan react to Sunday's 40-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in their season opener.

Head coach Mike Smith

Opening Remarks:

“It’s always nice to get a win on your first game of the season and to have played the way we played. We came out very quickly, strongly, on offense. I think it took us a while to get going on defense. I thought we made some very good adjustments on the defensive side of the ball at halftime. It took us awhile to get gelling. It was a nice job. Special teams were solid throughout, albeit we had one snafu in terms of an extra point. I really liked the way that our guys played. They played with a lot of passion. They played for 60 minutes, and they finished. That’s what you have to do to have the success we want to have.”

Can you talk about QB Matt Ryan’s performance today?

“Matt’s played some really good games for us in his four years here. This might be the best game that he played. It was a great start to the season. It’s only a start. I’m sure there are some throws that he would like to have back, like always. He had a very good command of the offense and how we wanted to attack the Kansas City defense.”

Did you feel that the Chiefs were vulnerable? Did you see 40 points coming?

“I’m not concerned about 40 points. I’m concerned about having one more than they have. If it’s one point or 40 points more than they’ve got, we’ve accomplished what we need to get done. I felt that we were operating in the preseason very well with our first unit. But, I have to say it’s preseason. We’re not getting the schemes and the looks. But I thought it was a nice start.”

Can you talk about TE Tony Gonzalez’s play today?

“Tony Gonzalez without a doubt is going to be a first-ballot hall-of-famer. He’s probably the greatest tight end in my mind to play the game. He’s been a great addition to our football team. He’s a mentor. Tony’s not a guy who uses a whole lot of words, but everybody watches what Tony does and they try to mimic it. Whether you’re a defensive lineman or a wide receiver/tight end, he’s the first one out in practice. He’s catching balls. He catches balls all the time, and it’s something that permeates across our football team.”

How difficult was it for TE Tony Gonzalez to play in Kansas City today?

“Tony has played in some big games. I knew it was going to be an emotional week for him. I’m sure he’s glad that it’s over. Tony knows how to handle all situations. I thought he did a great job this week in terms of he doesn’t change his routine. His routine was no different than what he’s done probably since he got in the league. He’s been a great addition to the Atlanta Falcons football family.”

On the performance of WR Julio Jones:

“I thought Julio had a very good game. He had a very quick start. He had six receptions for 108 yards. He was targeted early, and I felt like he and Matt [Ryan] were on the same page. Then they try and take him away and we’re able to distribute the ball to Roddy [White] for six catches and Tony [Gonzalez] got his catches. That’s what you’ve got to do to be successful on offense, is how people try to attack you defensively, you have to make sure you get the ball into your playmaker’s hands. Matt did a very good job, and I thought the plan was outstanding. The offensive staff did a very nice job in preparation. There were some things we had not shown, so we got our first opportunity to see it and now everybody else will get a chance to evaluate it.”

Quarterback Matt Ryan

Opening Statement

“To start off, it was a good team win to start off for us today. We always like to start off the season with a win and to start fast and I think I did that. I thought our offensive line played really, really well. Our wide receivers and tight ends had a good day and I think we had a little success running the ball too, so overall a good effort.”

How efficient was the offense given that you scored on your first eight possessions?

“Pretty efficient. I think we wanted to start fast and we wanted to score touchdowns and we did a pretty good job of that. We set up for a couple of field goals, we know we left a couple of plays out there we probably could have made, but all in all points are good in this league. Any time you get the ball and you can score points that’s good. So offensively I think it was a pretty good start.”

So you convinced TE Tony Gonzalez to dunk the ball...I don’t think he was too sure he was going to do it, what did you tell him?

“Dunk the ball. Maybe a few other words in there too. It’s a great moment, not only for him personally, but for Kansas City fans too. He is such a great part of this organization, probably the greatest tight end to have ever played the game. I think deep down in their hearts Kansas City fans probably loved seeing that one more time and it was just fun to be a part of it.”

How tough a week was it for Tony Gonzalez to prepare?

“Tony is a pretty easy-going guy. Always has a smile on his face, is positive every day he shows up to work. So in all honesty it wasn’t all that different during the week, during practice. I think riding over on the bus today, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him come over on the early bus and he came over on the early bus today. I’m sure it was a special experience and I can’t even imagine what it would be like for him. He’d speak on it better, but it was fun to see it from a spectator's point of view like I did.”

It is difficult to win on the road in this league. Can you talk about opening the season with a win?

“It’s huge. I haven’t done it since I’ve been in the NFL. I think five openers now, two at home, three on the road, and this is the first win we’ve had, on the road, season opener. So it’s a hard thing to do. This is a really difficult place to play, the fans are unbelievable, it’s an awesome atmosphere, and a good football team too. So for us it’s a good start.”

I know it's only one game, but your receivers and Tony Gonzalez are excited about the offense. Does it feel different now that you are with Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter?

“There are certainly differences, you know. Anytime you have coaching changes there are differences between schemes and just personalities and those kind of things. You know I think everybody has enjoyed working with Dirk; I think he has done a great job since he has been here and one game into it he did pretty well.”

WR Roddy White said that when plays come into the huddle you guys have no idea what to expect. What's it like?

“I think we haven’t played enough games with him, we haven’t had a great feel for his play-calling style. I think as you play with somebody longer you get into a little bit of a rhythm, a little bit of a feel for it. Today was a little different. You don’t know what to expect from him coming in, but I thought he did a really great job.”

What is the key to rolling with their selections in coverage?

“The key is recognizing it. I think from the quarterback, I tell those guys all the time I don’t care who’s got single or match-up, whatever. I think all of our guys are capable of winning on any route when they are one-on-one, but when you do have one-on-one, you better expect the ball to come. It did, it changed at different points today. I think they tried to double some different guys and you know Roddy White found some one-on-ones, Julio Jones found some one-on-ones, Tony Gonzalez found some one-on-ones, Harry Douglas had a couple one-on-ones and you know when we get those opportunities we have to take advantage of it.”

On your rushing touchdown and big spike in the end zone

“I don’t score all that often, I don’t score rushing touchdowns all that often, so when I get in there it always feels pretty good, so that’s why I spiked it.”


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