ATLANTA --Quotes from Falcons starters after the season opener against the Dolphins.
Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith
Opening Statement:"I really felt it was a great team effort today. I was really proud of the way our football team played. We played with a lot of energy, they were very enthusiastic, and I think our defense really attacked the football with the four turnovers. Anytime you can have four turnovers in a game, you're really going to enhance your chances of getting what you want. I want to caution everyone that this is Week 1 of a long journey, and we've got 15 more games that we're guaranteed to play. We got a lot of things that we will correct when we get in there and watch the tapes tomorrow. Again, I can't say anymore about the energy and enthusiasm that this football team played with today."
Q: Can you talk about the decision with Brian Williams as cornerback?
A: "It was something that we worked through this week, and we came to a comfort level with Brian. He understands our scheme, he is familiar with what we've done in the past, and we felt it was the best opportunity for him to play. I thought Brian made significant plays in the ball game."
Q. Can you talk about the addition of Tony Gonzalez and what he brings to the offense?A. "I think it was really evident with his touchdown catch on third down. He caught the ball short of the stick and was able to break the tackle and go into the end zone. Tony is going to not only help our offense, but he's going to help our defense and special teams as well. He's going to help our entire football team. It was great to see him wearing a black helmet with a bird on it today."
Q. Talk to us about Mike Peterson's performance today.
A. "Mike had a good game. He was in on some of the crucial plays of the ball game. Mike is very enthusiastic and energetic. We'll watch the tape and hold judgment on the entire piece of work, but I was very pleased with Mike."
Q. Can talk about that first turn over, and taking the lead in the fist half?
A. "We had the overturned reception, they had a trick play, and they got the ball into the red zone down at the 16 yard line. We were able to man-up, make that play, and knock the ball out of the running back's hand."
Q. It's nice to get good plays from anybody, but when it's a new player in his first game, does that provide and additional excitement?A. "I think it possibly can. Anytime a guy makes a good play, whether he's been here one week, five years, or 12 years, it creates excitement. It creates excitement on the sideline, in the stands, it's just a good thing."
Q. Can you talk about the rotation of John Abraham and Kroy Biermann?
A. "We've been saying from the very beginning that we do not have four starting defensive linemen. We have seven or eight starting defensive linemen and I think it's very important that you rotate those players and try to keep it as fresh as possible. This is the first real game, and it stuns their body. We'll get a better idea in the next two or three weeks in terms of how that rotation will play itself out. I thought Kroy did a nice job being a second year player."
Q. Can you talk about getting off the field in third down situations?A. "That was big for us. We were four out of eleven on third down. When you win those third downs, you get the offense back out there and they have an opportunity to go out and play. I think when you compound that with the turnovers that we were able to create; it really set us up well in the first half."
Q. What's it's like to see the defense come together when they had some ups and downs in the preseason?A. "I don't put a whole lot of stock into what happens in the preseason. This is a young group of defensive players that haven't spent a lot of time together, and they will continue to get better. As a coaching staff, I thought they did a great job. Brian VanGorder and his staff did a great job putting the game plan together, and I think they'll continue to get better. I want to say again that we've got a lot we can improve on. This is just Week 1."
Q. Can you talk about Matt Ryan's performance today?A. "I thought Matt played well. He was 22 out of 36 for 229 yards. He made some big throws on third down and will continue to make more of those. I think as the season progresses, and they spend more time working with one another, their going to continue to make those plays when the opportunities are presented."
Q. What did the Dolphins do to slow Michael Tuner down?
A. "They're a very good defense. That's a very good football team. Remember, that team was 11 and 5 and went to the playoffs last year. They are well coached, and I know Coach (Tony) Sparano wants to have a physical football team, and he's going to make sure that they try to win in the trenches. They did a nice job. They came out earlier in the week and said that one of the goals they had was to try and stop our running game. They've got some big guys and they did a nice job in defending the run."
Q. How much extra time did you spend preparing for the wildcat?
A. "We spent a whole lot of time in the off season preparing for the wildcat, and of course they played the wildcat, but they also ran some wildcat formations with Pat White at the quarterback, which brings a completely different dynamic into it. I think we spent more time than we probably needed to, but I wanted to make sure we dotted all of our "I's" and crossed all of our "T's"."
Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan
Q: Opening statement:A: "We are all excited to come through with the win today. We did a great job on defense, offense and special teams. It was a great start for us to start season with the win. I think this win gives us great momentum heading into a division game next week."
Q: What are the differences from your rookie season to year-two?
A: "I am much more prepared now to deal with the ebbs and flows of the season. I learned that you have to stay level-headed. I am comfortable dealing with these things this year as opposed to last."
Q: On the defensive performance...A: "Our defense helped us out tremendously today. They gave us great field position which helped us score throughout the game. They played physical against a good Miami offense. They kept them off the score board until three minutes remaining in the ball game. I give a lot of credit to those guys on the defensive side of the ball."
Q: How important is TE Tony Gonzalez to the offense?A: "From the first day he arrived, we worked on blitz communication and understanding route breaks. There is not much you have to tell him. Tony is guy that has played for a long time. He understands protection better than anyone I've been around. He played very well tonight and it was good to see him score a touchdown."
Q: How much easier does Tony Gonzalez make the offense?A: "Without question, he makes my job easier as a quarterback. He is a mix-match for defenses. Coaches have to decide whether a linebacker, safety or cornerback is the best option. Tony did a good job for us in third-down situations and in the red zone for us. He did a good job for us today and that is something we'll need all season."
Q: On the win...
A: "It is all good to me. We got the win and that is all that matters. Miami is a good team and that was something we knew going in. It was a long and physical game. We have to tip our hats to them for competing to the end. We will continue to work hard and make improvements. The Carolina Panthers will be ready to play and we have to make sure we handle our business."
Running Back Michael Turner
Q: Tell me what they did to make sure they didn't get beat by your ground game, and the adjustments the offense had to make...A: "They just had a great scheme against us. I got to see on tape what they were exactly doing. We were trying to make adjustments, trying to get it going a little bit. It was one of those days, but we got the win."
Q: What is said and written before the game means nothing. Everybody can look at the yards you guys gained as a team and you individually last year, and you knew it means nothing coming in.
A: "No, it means nothings coming in. It's a whole new year and it's a whole new team, we've got some new guys on offense and things like that. We got the win, we'll take it anyway we can. Running or throwing we'll take it anyway we can."
Defensive End John Abraham
Q: With all that was written and all that was said, and the way the preseason went, you guys feel a little bit of justification that you can show what you can do.A: "It's one game. We're not tooting our horns after one game. We've got a big game next week against Carolina. You're not considered a good team after one game, you have to do it continuously."
Q: John, what does the rotation of the bodies mean to you guys today? It seems that you guys were able to stay fresh.A: "That's what we did last year, and it's the same thing we are doing this year. It's nothing to do with change though. A lot of people say I don't get many plays, but you have to understand if we're winning 19-0 in the fourth quarter, there's really no need for me to be in there. We want everybody to get a chance to play and everybody to be fresh for the next game. Everybody who came in contributed."
Q: Everybody talks about the addition of Tony Gonzalez on the offensive side of the ball, but you got Mike Peterson, he had a huge, monster afternoon.A: "He's the kind of guy you need to talk to, and he talked to me the whole game. We kept pumping each other up. He's coming to play, so I've got to talk to him every week now."
Kicker Jason Elam
Q: Did the ball feel good coming off you foot?A: "Yeah, honestly it did. That first one, if it didn't nick the upright it was really close. The one hit the upright and I thought maybe I had a chance for it to ricochet in. But it is that game of inches thing, a couple of inches all of them would have been good. But they weren't. And I've got to take that, have a long week and ponder on it and it was frustrating."
Q: When you say the first, you mean the point after?
A: "The forty-two yarder that shaved right down the right upright. I mean, had that been a little longer of a field goal, because it was hooking back in. There's not much to say, I didn't get my job done today."
Defensive Tackle Jonathan Babineaux
Q: You didn't get the shutout, but it was close. You'll still take it?A: "Oh yeah, definitely, when you have four turnovers you know, that's very good. It's a plus for us. You know, increase the odds of winning. We went out there and played our hats off."
Q: What does one guy contributing like yourself, Abe, and Peterson, and Kroy, you guys were bringing it.A: "Oh yeah, that's what defense is all about, being a team. You know, everyone has to contribute someway, somehow. You know, we all can't make every play. Guys know their role, and their going to get in and make the plays."
Q: How much of a confidence booster is this? You guys came out and play a really good team and you hold them to one touchdown.A: "I think we can be as good as we want to be. Guys out there are executing, doing their job. If everybody does their job, we'll do alright."
Defensive End Kroy Biermann
Q: You had some big hits, a sack a special teams hit.
A: "I wanted to fly around, make some plays, I wanted to help the team win. I felt like I did an okay job out there today."
Q: Talk about the Falcons creating four turnovers.A: "Turnovers are a big deal. Anytime the defense is getting turnovers, usually flying around, and you are usually making some plays, and your helping out your offense. It's a big thing."
MORE FROM THE FALCONS-DOLPHINS GAME:
- GAMEDAY LIVE:Complete game coverage from AF.com
- GAME CENTER:Stats and more from NFL.com
- GAME FEATURE:Falcons defense steps up in Week 1 win
- FROM THE BLOG:Notes from the game in J. Michael Moore's blog
- FIRST TAKE:Head Coach Mike Smith | Ryan | Gonzalez | Biermann | Peterson
- NFL NETWORK:Highlights and interviews from NFL Network
- INTERVIEWS:Locker room interviews and more Falcons-Dolphins video
- GAME NOTES:Offcial game notes from the Georgia Dome press box
- PHOTOS:Images from the Falcons season-opening win
- QUOTABLE:Quotes from Falcons coaches and players | Dolphins
- INACTIVES:Inactive players and starters from Sunday's game
- BOARDS:Talk about the game with other fans on FalconsLIFE