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Transcripts: Mike Smith and Matt Ryan Interviews

Posted Dec 26, 2012

Head coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan spoke to the media Wednesday as the team prepares for the regular-season finale against Tampa Bay

Head coach Mike Smith
On the injury report:

“We’ve got four guys that didn’t practice today: 25, 84, 21, and 98 and 95 and 91 were limited. 21 has a hamstring, 25 is a hamstring, 84 with his knee, and then 98 with a hamstring. Those are the guys that didn’t practice and then 95 and 91 were limited. Jonathan (Babineaux) with his ribs and Corey (Peters) with his knee.”

On being concerned with S William Moore’s hamstring being ready for the playoffs:

“I would like for William to be ready to go, but the doctors have got to make that determination. We’re to a point in the process where we need to get him as healthy as you can be. I would say that he’s not going to play in the game this week and that will be our take right now on it.”

On WR Roddy White’s season:

“Roddy is about as tough as any football player that I’ve been around. For him to battle through injuries that he’s had it’s just speaks volumes. You can’t keep him down. He’s a guy that regardless of what’s going on it’s hard to keep him out of the game. He wants to play and he’s a competitive guy.”

On C Joe Hawley being added back to the roster:

“Joe did a nice job. He was in shape. We got that one week period where we didn’t have to have him on our roster. He was an exemption and he looked like he had done a nice job of staying in shape. We had to make a move with WR Kevin Cone, so we just traded them out. Kevin had to go on IR and we brought Joe back. He should be ready to help us if called on.”

On keeping momentum this Sunday:

“I think it’s very important for us. We’ve talked all along about going out and we have a different mission every week. We want the same result and that’s to win and that’s what we’re preparing to do. We want to go through the process like we always do. We talk about it all the time. It’s a five, six, seven, or this week it’s an eight day segment that we’re going through to get prepared. It’s very important for us to finish the regular season off in the right way. Tampa is a really good football team that we played a really tough game. It was a one point game down there in Tampa.”

On how important it is to the players to make the Pro Bowl:

“It’s an honor for guys that make it and there’s always guys that don’t make it that probably deserve to make it. That’s something that always happens. Guys work their tails off and try to win football games, but at the same time a certain time for individual achievements and the Pro Bowl is one of them that happens every year.”

On QB Matt Ryan’s numbers and how well he’s played:

“The numbers will back that up in terms of quarterback rating and the passing yardage and the things that he does. Really, it’s about running the offense and running our offensive team. There’s lots of things that go into the quarterback’s success and not having success. He’s done a really good job. He’s got us into some really good plays and at the right time. He got us out of some bad plays and he’s felt very comfortable. He’s looked very comfortable in the pocket, and going through his progressions, and getting to the guy that we need to get it to most of the time.”

On how well he’s playing right now:

“You want him to be hot every game, but that’s not possible. There are different levels that we play at. Right now he’s playing extremely well the last two ballgames.”

On being more conservative this week since home field is already locked up:

“We’re going to do whatever we have to do to win this ballgame in terms of our game plan. We think it’s very important for us to complete our 14th mission successfully. We’ve had fifteen opportunities and on the 16th we want to get our 14th mission completed. In terms of game planning, it’s really specific with how people are going to try and defend you so it’s not necessarily we want to hold this back or we want to hold that back. It’s really going to be if we feel like we’ve got an advantage in this matchup or in this scheme. To say that we’re going be vanilla in this last ballgame, no we’re going to do everything in our power. Go through it like we normally do in our game planning to win the ballgame.”

Quarterback Matt Ryan
On not being able to play this week not to get hurt:

“I think everybody knows we know one way to do it and we’re going to try and do it the same way this week that we’ve done it all year. I think it’s important to prepare really well and to give yourself a chance to go execute and play well on Sunday. That’s the mindset that I have.”

On getting off to a good start and being able to let some backups get in:

“My mindset is to prepare myself to play the entire game and that’s the way I’m going to go into it. Really, it’ll be no different than any other week.”

On what he’s learned from being in this situation before:

“The biggest difference from where we are now and where we were a couple of years ago is the maturity of the football team. I think at this point everybody understands we’ve put ourselves in good position, but we still have a lot of work to do. Nobody’s content with where we are at. I think that’s probably a little bit different than where we’ve been in the past. Our focus is on what’s ahead and what’s next. I think that’s probably the biggest difference.”

On having a mindset to jump on them early:

“I think every week you want to start fast. That’s something we try and do, but pretty much every time we’ve played this team, excluding the one that you mentioned (last year’s finale), it’s come down to the wire. It’s a tough defense, it’s a physical defense, and we’re going to prepare ourselves for that kind of matchup.”

On what defenses have done this year to stop the offense:

“We’ve been played different ways at different times of the season. I think that’s really why we’ve been a little different every week. We’ve had weeks where Roddy (White) has been the guy. This past weekend Roddy had an unbelievable game. Tony’s (Gonzalez) been a guy for us a number of times this year. Julio’s (Jones) been the guy at times for us this year. We’ve run the ball effectively in certain games when we’ve needed to. I think we’ve been defended differently throughout the year and we’ve found different ways to win. That’s probably the thing I think we’ve done best of anything is just taking what they’re giving us and doing the best we can with what we have each week.”

On WR Harry Douglas having such a good turnout at his charity event the night after a game:

“I think it’s important. I really do. Especially around the holidays to be able to help out and give back and support a local community, but also support your teammate. I think that’s something that starts from the top. Arthur (Blank) preaches that throughout the organization and Coach Smith and Thomas (Dimitroff) do a great job of preaching that down to us. I think guys take it to heart.”

On the Pro Bowl players being announced:

“You never know how it’s going to shake out. We certainly have some guys that are definitely deserving.”

On what he has taken from the first matchup with Tampa that will help him Sunday:

“One of the things for me personally, is we have to protect the football better. Two turnovers down there last time we played. S Ronde Barber did what he has done throughout his entire career. He’s a ball hawk and made a great play. Then, I made a mental mistake in terms of our pass protection. Those are two things that I’ve got to clean up in order for us to have a better chance.”

On changes he is going to make next week from a couple of years ago:

“One of the things that I’ve always tried to do is learn from each experience. Not only mental note it, but make sure it’s documented. I think in that last experience I’ll probably do some things differently next week. I’ll worry about that then. You definitely learn from everything that you go through and I think that’s part of what helps you improve.”

On WR Roddy White being one of the most underrated receivers in the league:

“If I’m talking about him he’s always mentioned. I think he is incredibly consistent. He’s an unbelievable competitor. He’s one of the smartest football players that I’ve ever been around. He is very, very in tune with what a defense is trying to do and he’s great for feedback on the sidelines. I certainly think he’s one of the best in the League.”

On how unbelievable it is he’s never missed a game:

“You have to be lucky for that to happen, but you have to be incredibly tough. Since I’ve been here for the five years, I’ve seen him play through some things that a lot of guys wouldn’t play through. I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for how committed he is to what he does.”