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Quotable: Falcons vs. Chargers


ATLANTA --Quotes from Falcons starters at halftime of the preseason opener against the Chargers.

Head Coach Mike Smith

Q: Recapping the game...
A: "What a finish. Fourth down and not a whole lot of time left on the clock. It was an exciting way to finish the game. Anytime you can win in this League, you'll take it. I was really pleased with what the offense was able to do, especially in the second half. I thought Chris (Redman) did a great job when he came in; he was 8 for 10 passing. He threw the ball very efficiently. He made a big-time play on the fourth down when he threw that pass to Eric Weemsin the back of the endzone. Obviously this is the preseason, and we've got a lot of work to do on offense, defense, and special teams. We're going to get on the tape tomorrow and try to make the corrections."

Q: Were you disappointed with the defense tonight?A: "I was disappointed with the way that we played on third down. I thought that on first and second down we played extremely well. We got them under some very good third down situations: third and 24, third and 14, third and 15, and third and nine. So on first and second down there were some really good things going on down there. Conversely on third down, there were not a lot of good things going on. They converted seven out of eight in the first half, and you know the down and distances that we just talked about. It's definitely something we have to work on and we will get better. Often times it goes on those down and distances where people think it's just the secondary. It's not. It's team defense. What I mean by that, is that it starts up front, it goes to the linebackers and it goes to the secondary. It's not just one group on third down. We have got to get better on third down. I will tip my hat to Philip Rivers. Congratulations on his 92 million dollar contract. I think the San Diego Chargers probably made a very wise investment. He is an outstanding quarterback, and he did a great job tonight."

Q: How much are you willing to absolve the secondary?
A: "I'm not going to absolve anybody. Again, when we go out there and play, we play as a team. We play as a unit; offense, defense, and special teams. I can give you a better insight after watching the tape with what we saw out on the field. We're very disappointed in our third down efficiency. Again, that was a very good offense."

Q: You spoke with some length to your defense tonight after the second touchdown dive. What did you say?
A: "What I say to the players is between myself and them. You guys know that's always been the way that we operate. Obviously, were not satisfied with the way that drive went because of the third down conversion, but it's definitely something we have to address. We will address it as a coaching staff and as a defensive unit."

Q. How did you like your redzone offense?
A. "When we got down into the redzone inside the 25, I though that we were very efficient. Brian Finneranhad a nice catch on the first touchdown. We had a couple of drives where we had to kick field goals and stalled just outside the redzone. The two drives that we got in there we were able to finish them off with touchdowns."

Q. After tonight, is Chris Redman looking closer to being the number two quarterback?A. "Chris certainly helped himself in this ball game. He is the most experience quarterback behind Matt (Ryan) and he did a very nice job moving the team down the field. Again, when he was 8 for 10, and when that blitz came right in his face, he was able to retreat and get the ball out. That was a big time play that a lot of quarterbacks in this League couldn't make."

Quarterback Matt Ryan

Q: Can you talk about the performance of the offense?
A: "I think we did pretty good job in the first half. We have to get better and keep getting better. We have a couple more weeks until the regular season. I thought it was good for the first team to get out there during the second half and get used to making that transition."

Q: Can you talk about your relationship between you and the receivers?
A: "I am starting to get a good feel for some of the new guys. Marty (Booker) had a couple of good catches tonight for us. Tony (Gonzalez)has done a really good job. It has been really fun building on what he had from last year."

Wide Receiver Roddy White

Q: Talk about how things are going between you and Matt (Ryan)?
A: "I think that it is going well. We continue to grow and get better."

Q: What is the biggest thing that you still have to work on to get ready for week one?
A: "I just have a lot of catching up to do, especially in our two-minute packages. I need to get all of my sights and routes running together. I just need to catch up with the rest of the players."

Wide Receiver Brian Finneran

Q: Chris Redman came out having some good rhythm...A: "It was great to see Chris and Eric Weems hook up in the end. A ton of receivers touched the ball today. I think everybody played a big role in this win."

Q: So do we have a quarterback controversy?
A: "(Laughs) No, I think we're OK. I think we're OK with our number one guy. But it's nice to know we have a good, secondary backup guy that can go down and do as Chris Redman did.

Falcons player Michael Turner

Q: How about the work of the offensive line who continues to make plays late?A: "We just have a good system in place. We're building something special here. Everybody knows when they're out there on the field they have to execute and do their job."

Q: What's the biggest thing the offense has to continue to work on?A: "We try to get better at everything. Making the line, making the correct calls and all of the little things."

Q: How is the offense picking up things, how are they coming together and gelling?
A: "It's great. We're getting the chemistry right. Roddy was coming late into camp, but fit right in, nonstop. We've got a mission ahead of us."

Falcons player Chris Redman

Q: Talk about the last drive...A: It was a lot of fun and a total team effort. The offensive line stepped up and did great. I hardly got touched the whole drive down there."

Q: With one more preseason game, what do you guys have to work on as an offense?
A: "We have a lot of things to work on and we can always improve. Just little detail things. We're getting better every game. We're making big strides. In a couple weeks it's for real."


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