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Transcripts: Mike Smith and Matt Ryan Interviews

Posted Jan 2, 2013

Head coach Mike Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan spoke to the media after Wednesday's bye week practice session.

Head coach Mike Smith
On Coach Koetter deciding to stay with the Falcons:

“That is accurate. I spoke with Coach Koetter last night and am very excited that he’s going to be here with us.”

On keeping continuity with the offense:

“Continuity is very important. Continuity on your football team and on your coaching staff is important. Dirk’s a very good football coach. Done a nice job for us and we’ve put that to rest.”

On how keeping Koetter here developed:

“I don’t want to get into any of the details. Dirk is going to be here with us. He informed me of that last night. We talked at length and that’s where we’re at with it right now.”

On the system set up for the interview process being a good system:

“I think it’s the system that the League has in place and you have to deal with it. I don’t have any concerns with the guys that we have just like when I was going through it five years ago. You have to work on the job that you’ve got and can’t concern yourself with anything else. That’s what is going on with our guys. It’s an honor to have guys mentioned for other positions. It says we have a great staff and I’ve been saying it for a long time. In my mind, we have the best coaching staff in the NFL.”

On the developments with the other assistants:

“I’m not going to talk specifically about other team’s coaching searches. I addressed Dirk because that’s something that needed to be addressed.”

On approaching this Bye week differently than in 2010:

“There’s only so much that you can do. The days that we’re working are different this year than what we did two years ago. We’re going to have a little more volume. The intensity is not going to be changed. At this point in time in the season, you guys have been out here and see what we do, the intensity stays the same no matter what. The volume and what we’re working on in the Bye week is different this year.”

On any injury news:

“I’m not going to talk about injuries. We had a number of guys today that didn’t practice. We kept them inside, and we’ll have our first injury report next Wednesday.”

On S William Moore:

“I’m not going to talk specifically about anybody that’s injured right now.”

On involving QB Matt Ryan when studying the potential opponents:

“This week is Falcons-on-Falcons for the players. For the staff, today will be the day that we work on Seattle. We’ll work on Minnesota tomorrow and then the Washington Redskins. The reason we picked that sequence is we haven’t played Seattle. We know a little bit about Minnesota having Bill Musgrave been on our staff, and we played Washington earlier in the year. We’ll be working as a staff the rest of the day and then we’ll put that to rest and switch gears. For our players, it’s about us getting better on the fundamental things that we need to get better at.”

On how important it is for Koetter to stay:

“I think it says we do things the right way around here. I think it says we have a good football team. I’m very glad that Dirk has made the decision that he’s going to be our offensive coordinator next year.”

On some of the fundamentals that the team will be working on:

“It’s all about blocking and tackling. That’s at the core of what you have to do to be successful in football. That’s what we need to work on. We don’t have to worry about scheming this week so we can really focus in on the fundamentals: tackling blocking, running, catching. That’s what our emphasis is this week.”

On struggling against RB Doug Martin last week:

“We didn’t play very well last week. We gave up some explosive runs and we didn’t tackle well. That’s going to be the emphasis point this week. We’ve got to work on tackling. We’ve got to do a better job of tackling as well.”

On wearing pads this week:

“We haven’t been in pads since week 9. This is the time of year you want you guys as fresh as possible. It’s a long season. We’re starting the second season. I like where we’re at in terms of our freshness. The guys seem to feel good. They’re doing a nice job of doing the extra things they need to do in the weight room, so we’ll continue doing the same program we’ve been doing the last eight weeks.”

On RB Michael Turner being fresher at this point in the season than past season:

“His work load is definitely down this year in terms of the number of snaps. He seems to feel very good when I asked him. I’m sure the wear and tear on his body isn’t near as bad as it’s been the last four years.”

Quarterback Matt Ryan
On Coach Koetter staying with the Falcons for another year:

“I’m excited about it. Obviously a great coach and has helped us out a bunch this year. I think the guys enjoy working with him and learning from him. I’m excited he’s going to be here and I know the guys are too.”

On Koetter being good at getting so many guys involved on the offense:

“I think he does a great job of putting all of our guys in position to succeed. He changes it up and he puts different guys out there at different times, but the thing I think the thing everybody respects and likes the most is he trusts our guys to go out there and make plays. He’s not afraid to be aggressive and it’s been fun.”

On hitting it off with him right away:

“I was impressed with is knowledge of our guys and how he thought that we could mix some of the things that he had done in the past into what we were doing before. I think one of the biggest things that helped throughout the situation was him adapting to the terminology and a lot of the concepts that we used. We had one guy changing for the mass as opposed to the mass changing for one guy. I think guys really respected that and appreciated it.”

On what he can take away from the game against Tampa:

“We didn’t play our best football. Frustrated at this point with that, but we need to put it behind us. Work on some of the things we didn’t do well. Try and improve on those this week so that we’re ready to get to work next week.”

On this week having a training camp feel:

“It’s not quite training camp. We’re at a point where we know next week we’re right where we want to be. It’s a unique week. It really is. I think having the practices this week being able to go out there and get some work done while staying in a rhythm is good for us.”

On him taking a look at the three possible opponents:

“I’ll stick with us. I think a lot of self-scouting this week is probably the best thing that I can do. We played one of the teams before, but it doesn’t make a difference. This week is about us and we’re going to have plenty of time to get prepared next week and get that game plan and make those preparations.”

On him working on timing with his receivers this week:

“That’s probably the biggest thing is staying on time with your wideouts. Also, just having pass rush around you even when you’re not getting hit is something that just kind of helps you stay in rhythm. Throwing on air is good and you can do a lot of those things, but having guys move around you simulates game play and that’s going to be big.”

On having a running game being a key in the playoffs:

“In the playoffs you’ve got to do whatever you need to do to get the win. Whether that’s run the ball or pass the ball. I think you need to be able to do both effectively. Again, in the past we haven’t played our best. I think our focus needs to not be about that, but needs to be on what we can do to set ourselves up to play our best a week from Sunday.”

On practicing this week helping the team stay sharp and start fast once they play:

“We started off fast in that game. We just didn’t sustain it. We didn’t play well. I think that it’s good that we are practicing this week and that we’re going to have that timing going into it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to start fast and be able to sustain that throughout the game.”

On being able to notice opponent’s players that aren’t healthy and target them more:

“To a certain extent, I don’t think that anybody in the League has their full 53 feeling great. Everybody’s got different guys who are nicked up. The one thing that I think has helped us is regardless of what’s happened during the week with guys practicing or not practicing, we’ve been pretty close to 100 percent almost every game. Our guys have been out there flying around. That’s helped me a ton. I think our timing has stayed pretty consistent throughout the year.”

On picking on defensive backs that are banged up:

“That’s things you talk about during the week. Those are certain things that we’re trying to pick up during the week.”

On changing his routine up a little bit:

“My routine all year has been a little bit different than the past years. At this point, I’m trying to stick with the routine that I’ve had all year. Try and do things as similar as possible. The one thing is if there is any time of the year you need to turn the TV off and not listen to certain things, for me, it’s this time of year. I try not to pay attention to those things. Sometimes it’s hard to exlude them completely, but this time of year you need to make a conscious effort to do that.”

On how he feels and what was Tampa doing to take away the deep stuff:

“I feel good. In terms of dropping guys back, they did a good job with their coverage scheme. Kind of changed things up a little bit on us. They just out played us. That’s what it comes down to. They played better than we did both up front and on the outside.”

On the goal for this week:

“To get better that day whatever it is we’re going to work on. Let’s be fully engaged while we’re in here. We got off to a good start with that today. We had a productive practice. We worked on some things that we felt like we needed to work on, and if we have that focus every day I think that’s going to bode well for us.”

On putting extra pressure on himself:

“With our guys you don’t really need to. We’ve got guys that understand when it’s time to work it’s time to work. It’s fun and easy to be around those kinds of guys.”

On thinking about this possibly being TE Tony Gonzalez’s last season and using that as motivation:

“I think you use anything you can take at this point. If that’s what gets guys going by all means let’s take advantage of that. He’s been around long enough and we’ve all been around long enough to know that these opportunities are tough to get. They’re tough to come by and we need to take full advantage of that and hopefully we’re able to do that.”

On being happy about having continuity with Koetter staying:

“Absolutely. I’m excited that he’s going to be back. I think he’s a really good football coach. He’s a great person. Fun to be around. Fun to work with. I think he’s done a great job here, so I’m excited he’s going to be back next year.”

On how excited he is for the playoffs to be here:

“I’m very excited for the playoffs to start. This is what you work for all year to put yourself in this position to give yourself a chance.”


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