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Transcripts: Smith, Ryan Press Conferences

Posted Nov 30, 2014

Head coach Mike Smith and Quarterback Matt Ryan spoke to the media after Sunday's win over the Arizona Cardinals about starting fast and playing through each phase of the game.

Head coach Mike Smith
Opening Statement:

“Today I thought we had a very good performance in all three phases of the game. There were some excellent plays made, and when you make those types of plays you’re going to get the outcome that you want. I think we did an outstanding job in our preparation. Thought our coaching staff was spot on in putting the game plan together. Defensively, I thought we were flying around, we took the ball away on most opportunities that we had. It was good to get the running game going. That’s a very good football team that we played today, and I thought that we matched them for their level of physicality and intensity. We’re going to enjoy this for about four or five hours, and then move on to the Green Bay Packers. Our goal this week was to be 1-0 at the end of the week; we were 1-0. We’ll be having the same goal next week. With that, I’ll open it up for questions.”

On the Matt Ryan and Julio Jones combination:

“They had a career game. It was outstanding. We felt like Julio and Matt have been real close to having this type of game, and they were spot on. Julio did a great job of running the routes, and Matt put the ball where it needed to be. When we’re consistent and play consistent football, coach consistent football, we feel like we’re a pretty good team.”

On whether it was encouraging that they were able to hold onto the big lead after gaining it:

“Absolutely. The games in the NFL they’re games that can change very quickly. Momentum swings happen. I thought we did a very good job after we threw the interception that was returned for a touchdown. We didn’t allow them to keep the momentum that they had for that one specific play.”

On the play of the offensive line and helping Steven Jackson go over 100 yards rushing:

“We’ve been kind of one off, in terms of our run game. When you watch the tape, we feel like we’re one off here, we’re one off there. This group has got five or six games underneath their belt, and they did a very good job blocking for Steven. It was good to see Steven create that explosive play.”

On the play of the safeties:

“They create turnovers. It was a great strip. William Moore, it was good to have him back out on our defense. He created one turnover, and those two guys are very physical football players. When they’re rolling back in the deep, people are going to be aware that they’re out there.”

On jumping out to an early lead:

“We started very fast. We talked about coming out of the locker room, and what we needed to get done and what we needed to get accomplished, and we were able to do it. They’re a very good football team. Their record indicates it; they’re a very good defense, and we were able to move the football today.”

On the play of Harry Douglas:

“Harry, it’s great to have Harry back there out on the field. He missed some significant time earlier in the season. He’s fought through his injury, and we know he is a playmaker. He made a couple of big catches for us, and getting third down conversions.”

On whether he was surprised by this win:

“Absolutely not. I think we’re capable of playing when we play consistent football we can put that type of performance out there. I thought the preparation this week was outstanding. Guys were focused. Sometimes it’s tough when you’re the home team on Thursday because you’ve got a house full of people, and I thought that our guys did a very good job in their preparation. It was outstanding, players and coaches.”

On the Devin Hester penalty:

“Please don’t make me answer that question. There was a penalty, and we can’t have a penalty on our sideline. I asked the official what transpired. You guys saw the replay, just like I saw the replay. The flag came out, and in the NFL that’s a 15-yard penalty.”

On the play of Matt Bryant:

“What it means to this team, Matt is an offensive weapon, simply because when he gets an opportunity to kick the ball on a field goal attempt he’s going to make it. He’s got very good range for a guy that’s been in the League for a long time. Sometimes the range goes down. He has a very good strong leg, and he’s a very accurate kicker, and he’s helped us win a lot of football games.”

On what can he say about William Moore:

“What can I tell you about him? Hey, we’ve missed him. He’s a [dang] good football player, that when he attacks the ball and there’s contact there’s usually going to be somebody going backwards.

Quarterback Matt Ryan
On whether having a good start building confidence:

“Yeah, I think that fast start was huge for us. It was all three phases. When you get rolling like that early and you get a little cushion, it’s a big difference. We continue to keep the foot on the pedal too and play aggressive, which is key when you’re going against a really good football team with a good defense. Coming into it, this was going to be one of those games that there are peaks and valleys and you’ve got to hang on when it’s not going your way. I thought across the board we did a great job of that today.”

On talking trash to WR Julio Jones by the opposing team:

“It’s one of those things, it’s part of the game. He’s a very good player, but we think Julio is a really good player, too. He had a great game today. He went out and competed really hard and made some really good catches for us. I thought he stepped up when we needed him to.”

On WR Julio Jones’ play:

“We’d love to be opportunistic when you get the chance. Off of a turnover, you’d love to be able to go ahead and score a touchdown with a short field. I think that was a second down call for us. We ran first and then second down, we got the one-on-one press coverage we thought we might get, we took a chance. Julio adjusted really well to that ball. That was big.”

On the offensive line:

“I think out group up front played really, really well. They played physical, they played smart. One of the things when you go up against Arizona, they give you a bunch of different looks. Identification and making sure you get the guys in the right spot is huge. We did a great job of that up front, but I also think they competed. They opened up some lanes for our runners and our guys in the back field did a fantastic job of getting downhill. That’s probably about as good as we run it in a while. That’s good for us moving forward.”

On the hit you took:

“No, I’ll be fine. It’s just part of the game; you get knocked down a little bit. It hurt a little bit at the time. I feel great.”

On if this was the best game of the year:

“Yeah, because it’s the last one, it’s the one we just finished. The next best one will be the next one. This was a good team effort. It was a very good football team. These are the kind of games you need to win in November and December in order to play in January. For a young football team and an offensive line that is just starting to come together, with some guys that have played continuously next to each other, I think that is going to go well for us moving forward.”

On Steven Jacksons big run early on:

“Get in the end zone. You see him take off and it was huge. When you’re running the ball against a really good team, you know there are going to be some of those one and two yard gains. I thought we stuck with it today knowing that if we just keep grinding it out, one or two of those are going to pop out the back end. It popped out early. That was huge. From a confidence standpoint, just going out there and really feeling good about playing… the guys bought into that.”

On if this is game can get you rolling for the end of the season:

“Yeah, this is what it is like in December when you are in the mix. Obviously, this year is shaking out differently than any other that I’ve been a part of. It doesn’t make a difference. We are where we are. We are right in the mix. From my experience, being here seven years now, this is what November/December football is. It’s going to be tough, you are going to go against good football teams. You’ve got to play well. I thought we stepped up to that challenge today. I thought we had a great week of practice. The guys were focused and it translated into us playing well today.”

On using TE Levine Toilolo in the red zone:

“I think that is an area we need to improve on moving forward. I think we were in the red zone five times today. We came away with one touchdown there. It’s good that we were down there five times, but we’ve got to be more opportunistic. I think we ended up kicking a few field goals from maybe the three yard line. So it was a good setup the way we had it early. We just have to execute better across the board moving forward.”

On throwing to Julio Jones down field more today:

“Yeah, after last week, we took some shots. We didn’t really hit any. Today, we hit the shots when they were there. That’s what you have to do. In order to be an explosive football team, in order to make plays when you need them, you’ve got to hit them when you get one-on-one. I thought Julio did a great job at making some great plays, in traffic too. Patrick Peterson had some good coverage but Julio showcased what he can do.”

On extra time working on things after practice this week:

“Yeah, I think it’s like any week. You have to spend a little extra time in the meeting room or in practice and that was one of those things we felt we just needed to get a couple reps. It certainly paid off.”

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