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Quotable: Falcons vs. Panthers


ATLANTA --Quotes from Falcons starters at halftime of the season week 2 game against the Panthers.

Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith

Opening Statement:"Today's game was a typically NFC game between two very physical football teams. We knew that coming in. We knew that Coach Fox would have his team prepared and ready to play. I really liked the way that our team came out and fought in all three phases. I felt that we battled through a number of things through the entire game. We had a number of miscues and some good plays. I can assure you that when we get back to Flowery Branch tomorrow, we'll be talking more about that the miscues than the good plays because we've got a lot of things that we can improve on. We had a bunch of good football plays out there by both teams. I thought it was a very exciting game."

Q: Can you talk about the bizarre ending?A: "From what I understand, there was a buzz down from upstairs and it was to check to see if the clock had definitely expired. It took a while and most, if not all, of our players we in the locker room so I am glad of the outcome in terms of the decision that was made. We would have had to pull some guys out of the shower, re-tape them, and get them back out there."

Q. Can you talk about the third quarter when you put together two drives that solidified the lead?A. "With those two drives offensively we were able to do what we had set from the very beginning as a football team last year in January. We wanted to run the football and control the line of scrimmage. I thought that our guys did that and it really showed in those two drives."

Q. Mike Mularkey said the offense wasn't in perfect sync in Week 1. How was it today?
A. "Matt (Ryan) threw the ball very well. I think that he had 13 completions in a row. So he was distributing the ball very well. I think he got us in and out of some good plays and that's what we anticipate and expect our quarterback to do."

Q. Can you talk about Marty Booker, Jason Snelling, and incorporating different pieces from one week to the next?A. "The more weapons you have offensively, it opens up and expands what you can do. I think our offensive staff has a very good grasp of what we're capable of doing, and knowing what the guy's strong points are and playing to those strong points. We did some good things, and it was a good football game, but we've got a lot of things that we can improve on."

Q. Can you talk about the blocked punt?A. "I'm not sure exactly what happened, but it was a big time play. Brian Williams blocked the punt and Mike Peterson was able to catch the punt. It was a good opportunity for us to change the field position."

Q. Self-scout the running game for us.
A. "Michael Turner went over 100 yards. Again, we want to be a team that runs the football. I thought that Jason Snelling came in when Jerious (Norwood) went down and was able to give us some touches and give us some plays. Until we watch the film, we won't really know exactly how it played out, but I was pleased with the ability of our offensive line to move the line of scrimmage."

Q. Are you happy with Thomas DeCoud's play?A. "Thomas is a young player. He's a second-year player that we drafted in the third round last year. He's assented to be a starter in this League, and I think he continues to improve everyday. We've seen that from about the mid-point of last season, but I'm pleased with Thomas. He's getting us into the right situations, and the right checks back in the secondary."

Q. Do you have updates on Peria Jerry and Jerious Norwood?
A. "No I do not. I have not had a chance to speak with the trainers. We will be visiting shortly. Of course, we'll give our injury update on Wednesday after practice."

DE John Abraham

Q: Are you and Mike Peterson getting each other going?A: "We weren't making noise like we did in Week 1. We're definitely going to try and do it against New England. It's going to be a big game. It would be nice to be 3-0."

CB Chris Houston

Q: What happened on the DeAngelo Williams touchdown?A: "I just left him too much space. You can't leave a good runner space. I should've just took more of a grasp and cut the space down."

Q: How big it is to get off to a 2-0 start in the 2009 season.A: "I think we've got a bit of confidence. Going into the third game we can build off it and bring energy."

Q: Talk about that last play where you made the pick.A: "I just played the coverage called. Steve Smith ran an in-and-out and I just played with my eyes and made a play on the ball."

TE Tony Gonzalez

Q: In the past you've dunked it after a touchdown. You got it in the end zone today, what happened on that play to free you open?A: Well, we were just going down the middle. What a great throw that was right over the linebackers. Outside, Roddy White was running the same type of route. The safety overplays him, which he should. If he doesn't Roddy's probably going to get that touchdown. We work off each other, and we get each other open."

Q: After two games, not a bad startA: "Not a bad start at all. Starting out 2-0, against some really good football teams. You know, I was kind of scared at the end there. I thought they were going to come back. It's just great to be part of a team like this. Just coming back in here in the locker room, seeing everybody smiling, seeing coach happy; that's good enough for me right there."

QB Matt Ryan

Opening Statement"It's a tough NFC South match up. Anytime Carolina comes to the Dome, you know it's going to be a tough game. We are excited about moving to 2 – 0. We still have a lot of work to do. I still feel like we can make a lot of improvements. I think we are just going to get back to work Monday and see what we can do."

Q: On controlling the clock in the third quarter:A: "We controlled the ball great during the third quarter. I'm not sure what the time of possession was, but we did a great job mixing up the running game with the passing game. That's what we like to do. We have a great offensive line and good physical players up front. We want to ride them. I think we did a pretty good job with that in the third quarter."

Q: On knocking off the first game jitters:
A: "I think we were. We had a good week of practice. We knocked off the opening game rust. It's good to get to Week 2. I thought we played well today. With that said, we still have a long way to go. I feel like we can still make a lot of improvements and get a lot better. We had a couple of turnovers today, which are never good especially in division games and games that you know are going to be tough. We have to tighten that up, but all in all, a great effort from the guys."

Q: On the performance of TE Tony Gonzalez:
A: "Different weeks, different guys are going to find the ball. This week it was Tony. He is one of the best players in the League and certainly one of the best tight ends of all-time. He was a huge pick-up for us. He has done a great job and he is going to make plays for us through out the year in different situations when we need him to. I have enjoyed playing with him thus far."


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