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Quotable: Falcons vs. Patriots


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. --Quotes from the Falcons locker room after the Week 3 game against the Patriots.

Head Coach Mike Smith

Opening Statement:
A: Guys, I didn't feel like we played our best game today. It was a hard fought game and I think we played well in spurts, but we weren't able to get the job done. Coach Belichick and his staff, did, I think a very, very good job in having his team ready to play and we've got a lot of things, starting with me all the way down, that we got to look at and get better at. In all three phases, -- offense, defense and special teams -- so we're going into our bye week and we'll get back together tomorrow as a team. Watch the tape, make the corrections and move forward. This is a long journey, this is a 16-week season, and this is our third game of this season. And with that, I will open it up for questions.

Q: Mike, were you disappointed in how much and how often they were able to run it?A: Well, coming into this game they had run the ball 43 times and thrown it 100. Their game plan, obviously today, was to come in and run it a little bit more. And we did not fit the run as well as we'd like to. But it doesn't surprise me that Coach Belichick, he'll show one thing one week and then next week do something different. We didn't play the run the way we needed to play it and that we will definitely have to improve on.

Q: Did the loss of your first round pick affect that today?A: I don't want to make excuses; I don't want to make excuses for anyone. Losing Jerry [Peria] is a big loss. He was our starting defensive tackle, but we have others players on our football team that have to step up and make plays, and today, my hat is off to them. They were the better team.

Q: What was your vantage point on the [Michael] Jenkins touchdown that was ruled pass interference?A: I was on the far side of the field and the call was on their sideline and again it was offensive pass interference because that's what the official called.

Q: Mike, what did the Patriots do defensively that kind of limited Tony Gonzalez and how restricting was that for your offense and what you wanted to do?A: Again, my hat's off to Coach Belichick and his staff. I think Tony had one catch, and the way they were trying to defend us, the ball, the reads took it in a different direction. So again, they did a very good job. I don't feel like that we have to concern ourselves, because we have enough weapons on the offense that if they are trying to defend us one way, we should move the ball and do it in different ways.

Q: Do you think the defensive game plan might have been too vanilla? It seemed like you guys were rushing four players and keeping seven back, giving Tom Brady too much time.MS: Well, we did not put pressure on the quarterback; we did not get a sack. We did pressure Tom early in the game. We pressured him there before halftime with some five and six-man pressures. And they did a nice job in their protection. They were the better team today. It's real simple. If you want to search for answers, they were the better team and we will try to go and make corrections because I know we are a good football team as well.

Q: Talk about how Matt Ryan played today.A: Matt threw for almost 200 yards; I thought he was very accurate. I know there was a stretch there in the third quarter where they converted on two fourth downs and a drive and we couldn't get our offense back out on the football field. And even on third down we weren't able to get on fourth down. But I thought Matt came up and distributed the ball very well.

Q: Pro or con, what did you learn about your team?A: Well, I learned that our guys played hard. We did not quit. Those guys were battling, battling through adversity, battling through a lot of things and again that's a good football team in a hostile environment. It's the first time we've played outside, it's our first road game of the season. We'll learn a lot from this. I think we will make sure that we get everything pointed out what we got to do, like I said, starting with me, all the way down. When we win as a team, we lose as a team.

Q: Regarding Matt's [Ryan] return to the area where he played collegiately…A: Matt, since we started back in the draft process, you can see that Matt is a focused football player. Matt is focused on one thing and that's what happens between those two sidelines. I don't think it affected Matt one bit.

Q: Do you think he sat there, when Patriots were on offense, it looked like Matt was studying Brady? Would it surprise you to learn that?
A: Well, we were making corrections on the sideline with Coach Musgrave and we have a sequence of things that we go through in between series.

Q: Does Turner have a fumbling problem?A: No, I don't. It's a misfortunate situation that we put the ball on the ground twice, but I wouldn't even comment on that in terms of being a problem. You know, they were attacking the ball and they did a nice job.

Q: They only activated three corners, and played mainly Bodden and Springs, two older guys. How would you assess how they played? Seems like they might have went with those corners because they have a more physical style. How do you think your receivers did?A: Again, I really can't make a comment on that until I watch the tape. I know we threw the ball for about 200 yards. Michael Jenkins, I believe, our wide receiver, was the leading receiver.

Quarterback Matt Ryan

(On the game)"It was a bit of a frustrating loss for us today. I thought we came out and did a pretty good job on offense and moving the ball today. We just couldn't get the ball in the end zone. When you play a good football team like New England in their stadium, you are going to have to do that. So hats off to them. They played better than us today. It is about us going into the bye week, getting some rest and getting better."

(On the New England run defense)"They did a good job. To a certain degree, we expected that from them, after the couple of weeks that [Michael] Turner has had early in the season. They had a good game today. They executed it well, but with that said, I still think we moved the ball pretty well. We just couldn't get the ball in the end zone. Certainly, that is something we are going to need to work on during the bye week."

(On Jenkins' touchdown callback)"I didn't really see the replay. I thought Mike [Jenkins] did a great job — when there was man-to-man coverage — of going down the field and coming down with the ball. That's the way it's going to go sometimes. We need to do a better job of responding to that. We came out and didn't do much offensively after that. Sometimes things aren't going to go your way during the game and it's what you do in those situations, that really says what kind of football team you are. That is certainly something that we can improve on."

(On playing a Gillette Stadium after his career at Boston College)"I had never been down here. First and foremost, it was cool to see it. I have watched from a distance during my time at B.C. I have played enough games in the league; when you go somewhere, you have to produce, and you have to lineup against whomever you are playing against. So it doesn't make a difference. You have to go out and execute."

(On third-down efficiency)"They did a good job of making plays on third down and that is something we have done a pretty good job of early in the season. That's kind of the NFL game, that's the money down. Offensively, you need to stay on the field. We just didn't do enough on third down today. When you don't do that, it takes away your chances of winning the game."

(On limiting the running game)"They had a number of guys down in the box. That is something we see week in and week out, when you have a back like Mike Turner with our offensive line. They had good personnel and good players to execute. They did a great job against the run today."

Tight End Tony Gonzalez

(On the double coverage)"They did the same thing they always do to me, 'bracket coverage.' Every time I play against him (Coach Belichick), it seems like I am going to get bracketed. It was expected and obviously it is not a good thing for me, although it gets everyone else open. We were able to make plays down the field and guys were getting open. I have been around a long time and for me it is somewhat a sign of respect. I feel that if I get single coverage I am going to make them pay for it eventually. It is the same thing they have always done the last couple of times I have played against them. You have to give them credit for it."

(On Matt Ryan's success)"I think it is his poise and his work ethic that are probably the biggest reasons. I keep saying it all along that he has got the great arm and is the prototype (Quarterback) -- 6-foot-5; but I think the real thing that is going to separate him in the long run is his wanting to go out there and be the best. On a scale of one to 10, I would say he is a ten as far as his work ethic is concerned. He is a special player and is on his way"

Defensive End John Abraham

(What did the Patriots do that made it hard to get to Brady? )"They played well, they ran the ball a little more than we expected, they have three good backs, so they ran more play action at us, which made it hard and took us off our blocks. I've got to stay up on my blocks and put more pressure on them."

Safety Erik Coleman

(How do you try to figure out what a QB like Brady is going to do)"Brady is one of the smartest QBs out there and when they get a lead and can run the ball a bit it makes it hard. I think they basically out-executed us today and we're going to have to look at the film and get better."

Linebacker Mike Peterson

(On Fred Taylor)"I knew coming into the game he still had it. The same thing I've been telling him, I still have it. I knew it was going to be a battle. I think he got the best of it today."

(On the Chris Baker touchdown)
"The back went to the flat, it is my responsibility to take him all the way. It was a great play by them."

(On Tom Brady)"You have to win. So you have to tip your hat at him and say it was the old Tom Brady. They were the best team today and hopefully we get a crack at them in the playoffs."

Cornerback Brian Williams

(On the game)"It was a little frustrating. They did a good job, they were the better team today and got the win."

(On Randy Moss)"I think he got a little more involved then normally. We didn't really give them anything over the top too deep. They won the game, we just have to go back and get to work."

(On the game)
"I'm sure we did some good things out there. We have to go back, watch the films tomorrow and make all the corrections that we need to. We will have to look forward to a better season, there is still a long way to go."

Wide Receiver Brian Finneran

(On team performance in 2nd half)"We made some mistakes. The fumble and penalties cost us. After the penalty on Jenkins, the momentum shifted. We had an offside after that and before you knew it we were punting the ball. They're a great team and I wish we played a little better."

(On the Patriots defense)"Everybody in this league can play, it's just a matter of how hard you want to play. They played hard today and were able to shut some of our stuff down. They're missing some of their veteran players, but they still have a lot of good football players on that team."

Wide Receiver Michael Jenkins

(On his interference penalty)"It was a tough call. It was just two guys fighting for the ball and the ref felt I pushed off. It's one of those plays and you have to live with the call."

(On overall play of offense)"We hurt ourselves a little bit. A couple of penalties and a turnover here and there, but it just comes down to executing in the red zone and putting up seven instead of three."

(On Patriots defense)
"They wanted to bracket Tony [Gonzales] a little bit and obviously stop Michael [Turner] and the run game. But we were still able to move the ball. They didn't want us to have the ball on offense. We worked hard, but it wasn't enough today."

Defensive Tackle Thomas Johnson

(On the game)
"I expected it because we have a good pass rush, and I expected that they would keep more guys in [to block] and they did. We just didn't get it done today. We just have to get better and work hard to get better." "I expected it because we have a good pass rush, and I expected that they would keep more guys in [to block] and they did. We just didn't get it done today. We just have to get better and work hard to get better."


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