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Transcripts: Mike Smith and Matt Ryan Interviews

Posted Dec 18, 2012

Head coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan spoke to the media Tuesday about their preparations for Saturday's game at Detroit.

Head coach Mike Smith
On S William Moore update:

“He did run on the side today. We don’t have to give an injury report today, believe it or not, so we won’t.”

On thoughts on Moore’s chances of playing:

“No. I haven’t talked with the trainers. He worked on the side and I haven’t had a chance to talk with the trainers.”

On the importance of getting CB Asante Samuel with CB Brent Grimes getting injured so early on:

“It was a move that we felt like was going to help us with Brent, obviously. We felt like it having three corners that were capable of being number ones was our thought process with all the three wides that we see. It was a very good thing in terms of the way the season has played out. Asante has been a great addition for our defense, not only our defense, but the team.”

On getting OL Joe Hawley back and making a roster move:

“No. You don’t have to make the roster move this week. There is a one week exemption, and we are going to exercise that exemption. We don’t have to do anything until next week, so there won’t be any roster moves regarding that. We will exercise the exemption for the one week.”

On this week being the same storyline as the Carolina week and are the guys approaching it a little differently:

“I certainly hope we approach it differently. I believe that we will. This is a very good football team. Their record is not indicative of the type of team they are. Eight of their 10 losses have been by less than one score, so they’ve played some very close games and have not been able to get the outcome that they wanted. They are very talented defensively, much like last week, we’ll be facing a defensive front that is probably the strength of their defense. On the offensive side, they’ve got arguably one of the best wide receivers that’s going to create issues. Their quarterback has a very strong arm and can fling it around the field.”

On being able to run the ball when you need to during the game:

“I think that’s an example of running the ball efficiently. We were able to do that really throughout the game. The thing that I was most impressed with was the depth of the running back group that contributed in the ballgame. That was nice to see everyone making contributions. We did a very nice job of blocking on our offensive line. I thought our fullback did a good job. You want to be able to run it when you have to run it. We’ve been saying it. We haven’t done as well as I would’ve liked through the season, but I thought we did it efficiently against the Giants.”

On averaging a little over three yards a carry enough:

“If you have two three point two’s you’re going to be in a third and three. You’d much rather average closer to four yards a carry and actually a little above that is the idea and the goal. You want to get yourself to get out of those third down and longs and if you ran the ball twice and you’re averaging  three and a half per carry it’d be third and three. Third and three is in favor of the offense.”

On thoughts of DT Ndamukong Suh:

“He’s a big, strong, fast defensive tackle. They have a very penetrating style. Somewhat different than most teams that we play. They’re going to penetrate and try and get in the backfield and they don’t read a whole lot. When I say they don’t read a whole lot, they’re more about penetrating the gap and it’s going to be crucial for us. One of the things that we must do is we’re going to have to neutralize that penetration.”

On how well safeties William Moore and Thomas DeCoud are playing:

“I think our two safeties have played as well as any tandem in the League. Both of those guys have done a very good job. They’re making a lot of plays on the ball. I think they are really coming into their own in terms of their maturation process as defensive players. Thomas is in his fifth year and William is in his fourth. They’ve been very productive, and when the opportunities have come they have not missed those opportunities. They have a good understanding of how people are trying to attack us and have done a very nice job.”

On them getting more freedom with the defensive change helping them:

“They have more freedom. I think it’s really, not just a new system, but the maturity process that they go through. They have a really good understanding of how people are trying to attack us, so I think it’s both. The system has changed a little bit, but I think a lot of it has to do with their maturity. They have a much better understanding of how people are trying to attack us.”

On not having much more to accomplish during the regular season than getting home field advantage:

“That’s what everybody is trying to do. I really believe that. That’s the thing that is in reach. We’ve got to go out and play effectively this week and our goal is to win every game we play and figure out what happens after that. With a win this week, it’ll clear some things up.”

Quarterback Matt Ryan
On going back to Detroit after getting a scare last year up there:

“Our offensive line did a great job last week against a really good front four. We’re going against a really good front four this week, a team that pressures the passer really well. They do a great job against the run also. Two weeks in a row we’re going to have our work cut out for us, and we need to prepare well this week and execute well on Saturday.”

On having the discussion to play your game and not theirs:

“We try and focus on every week trying to keep our poise regardless of situations. We know we’re going into a tough, physical matchup. They play with great effort. We’ve got to do the same.”

On DT Ndamukong Suh

“A really talented player. He’s got great size, great strength. He’s quick off the ball. He’s a really good pass rusher. One of the best pass rushers for an interior guy I think in the League, and a guy that plays to the whistle and is relentless. He’s certainly someone that you have to account for.”

On him being voted as one of the dirtiest players in the League:

“It’s not something I think about. The things that concern me are the way he plays the pass and the way he plays the run. That’s it. We need to focus on that.”

On thinking about what happened last time:

“Playing in the League, every week is physical, every week is tough. You just have to have that same mindset as a player to keep your head down, focus on doing your job, and playing the best you can possibly can.”

On the importance of keeping the defense off the field this time of the year:

“Time and possession was big for us last week. We did a good job with it, but it all started with our defense creating the turnover early. That kind of got the momentum going for everybody and we just tried to keep up our end of the bargain on offense.”

On the third down conversions being much more efficient this week:

“We’ve been pretty good on third down for the majority of the year. We had a two week stretch where we didn’t convert the way we were accustomed to the majority of the season. Last week, I thought we did a better job of it. That’s a critical area in games when you can stay on the field and you can convert those third downs to keep drives going. It’s huge.”

On the offensive line playing their best game against the Giants:

“They played well. I think everybody has good games and not so good games, all those kind of things. I’ve certainly had my fair share of them this year. I’ll say I they played really well last week against a very good front four. They play with great effort, their execution was really, really good and I certainly think that they did.”

On Coach Smith having to remind everyone about what is at stake this weekend:

“I don’t think so. Everybody understands where we are at  in terms of the regular season, what’s in front of us and what our mindset needs to be. I think the focus in our locker room is really good the last two weeks and we need to keep it right there.”

On having more confidence after last weekend at this point in the year than before:

“I think we’ve been confident the entire year. We have a veteran group of guys. Guys that can play at a high level and I think our confidence has been at a high level all year. Are we different than we’ve been in the past? Absolutely. We’re definitely a different football team. I think our confidence has been at a high level the entire year.”

On trusting your receivers to make a play being a fine line:

“It’s a fine line every week. I think every time you let go of the ball it’s a fine line. We talk about all the time trying to put it in a spot, especially when we throw it down the field into a place where it’s next to nobody. I think a lot of that has to do with the confidence that I have in the guys on the outside. I trust that even if that throw isn’t perfect our guys are going to make a play somehow, someway. At the worst, they’ll just go knock it down. They’ve done a great job the entire year. I think that allows for you to play a little more free.”

On who else to pay attention to on their defense:

“DE Cliff Avril is a very good player. A really good pass rusher. DT Nick Fairley is obviously tough and stout on the inside. Didn’t play last week, but you have to prepare for him to be back. CB Chris Houston is a guy that was here with us. He’s playing really well for Detroit. Has been for the last couple of years. Those are just a couple of the guys.”


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