Here are some of the top quotes by the Atlanta Falcons players from Wednesday's open locker room session with the media:
- It comes as no surprise that Sunday's game will be profiled as the battle of franchise QBs, Saints signal-caller Drew Brees versus Falcons franchise QB Matt Ryan; however, rather than worrying about QB matchups, Ryan has focused his time in practice and film study, preparing for a talented Saints defense, headlined by S Jairus Byrd. "His range is probably as good as anybody in this league," Ryan said. "His production in terms of interceptions has been off the charts and so, he adds to an already-solid defense. Scheme-wise, the Saints have a multiple defense; they can do a lot of different things from a lot of different personnel groupings and that's all stuff that we'll have to be prepared for."
- One day after Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter admitted to being pleasantly surprised by the impact of Falcons WR Devin Hester on the team's offense, Hester shared his thoughts on playing in such a high-octane offense. "I couldn't ask for a better offensive group than we have right now," Hester said. "It makes me happy to be a part of the offense; you have guys like Matt and then the Pro Bowl receivers that we have, all the attention will go to those guys and hopefully I'll be tucked away on the other side and be able to make a couple of plays."
- Playing against a Super Bowl-winning QB like Brees, the Falcons defense knows it needs to be on-point against the Saints gunslinger. Falcons S William Moore was asked whether or not the Falcons defense can confuse Brees on Sunday: "I don't want to say that, because Drew Brees is one of the best QBs in the NFL and there isn't too much that he hasn't seen before. But, if you do get a chance to confuse him, do it and that's what we're going to try to do."
- NFL specialists are rarely talked about unless the game comes down to a game-winning kick; if that's the situation on Sunday, Falcons K Matt Bryant shared exactly what will be going through his mind: "I try to approach every kick the same way, no matter if it's an extra point or if it's a 50-yard field goal or a game-winner, that way, it all feels the same. When it's time to kick a game-winner, it feels just like the extra point I kicked earlier."
- If you missed the final episode of HBO's Hard Knocks on Tuesday night, one of the more-memorable scenes included Falcons LB Tyler Starr getting the 'you-made-the-team' phone call from Falcons head coach Mike Smith; the rookie LB still gets excited when reliving the incoming call: "It's a moment that you've been waiting on for a long time. It's just overwhelming and I'm happy and ready to take that next step. I give credit to a lot of my coaches, Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, Coach Smith; they trusted me and gave me a shot, and also my family, for being my motivation."