The Atlanta Falcons were all business on Monday night, having watched film of the Week 2 game against Cincinnati, before moving ahead, focused on Thursday night's NFC South matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Below are some of the key quotes from Monday's media session with Falcons head coach Mike Smith and players, including rookie left tackle Jake Matthews:
- Asked about the keys in preparing for a team like the Buccaneers, especially during a short week, Smith emphasized health: "To get our bodies back, I think, is going to be very key; that's why we worked on the grass today and finished up in the dark. We didn't want to go in and play on the turf; we played on turf on Sunday and I think it's going to be very important that we recover physically."
- When asked if he expects to play on Thursday night, Falcons top-pick Jake Matthews answered with a hopeful confidence: "I do expect to play on Thursday. I'm excited for the game and I'm excited to see if I play or not. I have to be mentally ready for any game, but one of my biggest things is being able to be confident that I'm going to be able to go in there and get the job done."
- Thursday night's game will be the first time Falcons WR Devin Hester plays against Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith, who coached Hester in Chicago; Hester was asked about the reunion: "It's going to be weird. I never really imagined this; I always imagined myself being in Chicago and retiring in Chicago, but it is what it is. He's with a new team, down in Tampa, and I hope the best for him, but at the same time, I hope we win."
- Falcons RG Jon Asamoah spoke to the team's Monday workload and emphasized the mindset of putting Week 2 in the past: "We've already got all of our basic stuff in for Tampa Bay and we'll continue to build on it tomorrow. Learning from the mistakes we made, seeing what we did, what we can improve and just going out there and knowing that we have to prove ourselves every Sunday, or this week, on Thursday, is a motivating factor."
- While the team obviously wanted a win in Week 2, Falcons S Dwight Lowery says the Buccaneers don't care about Atlanta's loss: "They're going to come here and play us, regardless of what happened to us on Sunday. We have to get prepared for them and put the loss behind us. It's just like any other week, except a little quicker."
- The Thursday-night game offers the Falcons a chance to go 2-0 in the NFC South to start the year, something the team, including star CB Desmond Trufant is focused on: "You can't win every game; you'd like to, but it's a very-competitive league. Everybody is good. If we get this win, we'll be right back to feeling how we want to feel; we just have to prepare tomorrow, get our mental reps in and we'll be ready."
Footnote: Smith anticipates T Jake Matthews, WR Julio Jones and LB Prince Shembo will be full participants in Tuesday's practice.