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Quotable: Wednesday Locker Room


Q: Do you take it personally when the running game doesn't do what it is accustomed to do in terms of total yardage?
A: " Yeah, for sure. You know in this league what you try to do is win games. When you win a game and don't perform like you want to, I guess that's a plus. We know we didn't play as well as we could have up front. We looked at the film and we've made some corrections. I think we will be ready to go this week."

Q: Is this a week your fortunate that your a center and don't have to worry about Julius Peppers on the wing?A: " Yeah, he's a great player and pass rusher. We have to account for wherever he's at. He can disrupt games, not only on defense, but also on special teams on their field goal block and stuff like that. He is a great player. They've got a really good front and it's going to be a challenge for us this week."

Q: You're an old school guy, do you like the throwback uniforms?
A: "Yeah, it's pretty sweet man. Everybody's excited to wear that look. I'm sure the fans will be excited about it to."

Q: Do you think the fans will be fired up this weekend for a conference opponent?A: "Yeah, for sure. You watch this past game and saw how much of a factor the crowd was in the game. When you have (John) Abraham coming off the edge and (Kroy) Bierrman, they're getting that jump that helps the D-line and makes it hard on offenses to operate. I'm sure that they will be pumped. We've got a conference opponent and hopefully we will get the same result we did last week."

Q: Everybody knows about Julius, but what other weapons do they have?A: "Just off the top of my head, (Jon) Beason. He makes plays and led them in tackles last year. He is a player that just runs around. We will have to account for him in the running and passing game as well. They're just a good front overall."

Quarterback Matt Ryan

Q: What is your overall assessment of last week's performance?
A: "We did enough to get the win, but I think we need to get a lot better. When you look at the tape and you look at some of the mistakes we made, I think there's a lot of room for improvement. That's what we're trying to do this week, get better, get back to work and get ready for Carolina."

Q: What do you see in studying this (Carolina) defense?
A: "They got some good players. Obviously Julius Peppers is one of the best defensive ends in the league. He is a big guy. Fast. Beason's a good player, a really good linebacker. He has good speed; he's smart, instinctive. (Chris) Gamble is a good corner. We're going to have our work cut out for us. This is a division game. We know them, they know us and you know their personnel. It's going to be a great game and we just need to prepare this week."

Q: Did you look at last year's game film to prepare for this game?
A: "You take a look at it and some things have changed for them. They have a new defensive coordinator this year so some of the schemes and schematic things are a little bit different. You do take a look at some of the personnel matchups, especially on the outside and take a look at some different things. I think that helps."

Q: Did you take Sam (Baker) out to lunch this week since he will be going against Peppers?A: "We don't really get much time to go out to lunch. You guys know the schedule, it's pretty tight, but he can have the lunch in the cafeteria on me."

Q: Have you ever had a two-game stretch like Jake (Delhomme) is going through?A: "Yeah. You know it happens. Some weeks you're not going to play as well as others. You know Jake is a good quarterback, I'm sure he is going to bounce back and play well… He's a competitor. First and foremost I know Jake a little bit, and I have always respected his competitive nature. He goes out there and plays hard and does everything he can to help that team win."

Q: Talk about the offense in general. Do you want more balance in this game?A: "Yeah, we would've liked to have run the ball a little bit better. Credit to Miami; they did a good job in that. I think that the thing that is going to happen week-in and week-out we are just going to have to find different ways to win whether it is through the air, on the ground, special teams or defense. We just need to keep finding ways to win and not really worry about the statistics of whether we are running the ball, throwing the ball or scoring on special teams or defense. "

Linebacker Mike Peterson

Q: How important is it to keep the pressure on Jake Delhomme?
A: "First we have to stop the run. I think we are facing two good running backs so the goal this game -- along with the rest of the games this season -- is stop the run first."

Q: Is there a major difference in the two Panthers running backs?A: "Not really, both of them run hard. If you watch tape I think they've got the mindset of they're not going to let the first guy bring them down. So we are going to emphasize gang tackling and everybody getting to the ball."

Q: Is it going to be a main point to get after Jake Delhomme this week?A: "Oh yeah, that's always going to be the case. But I know he's expecting a big game and he's putting a lot of work in. So we are definitely going to have our hands full."

Q: Who has the tough task of stopping Steve Smith?A: "Everybody. That thing works together. It starts with the D-line and it works to the linebackers and onto the secondary. I think as a unit we have a big task ahead of us."

Q: How are the throwback helmets?
A: "I'm loving them man. They remind me of my high school helmets so, right now, I'm loving them. "

Tight end Tony Gonzalez

Q: What have you seen on the Panthers defense?A: "I haven't really looked at it yet. Were about to go into the meeting room right now. I saw a little bit of film so far and they look good on defense. Obviously Peppers is there, No. 52 Beason and Gamble… We went over the whole scouting report. There are some good players on their defense and obviously they were one of the best units in the NFL last year. I anticipate they're going to come in here ready to roll and that's something that we are going to prepare for. It's going to be a good game. "

Q: They have an ugly taste in their mouth from last week. Do you think they're going to try to stick it to you this week?A: "Definitely. Why wouldn't they, especially since it is a divisional game? This is a game that they don't want to go down 0-2 and we don't want to go 1-1. This is going to be a good football game and I'm looking forward to it."

Q: Are you satisfied with the offense's performance in the first game?
A: "Nah, I don't think so. I think if you ask anybody on the offensive side of the ball that last week we left some plays out there and left some points. Hopefully we'll get better this week and I think we will. We've adjusted and taken care of it, but you have to give the defense some credit and that's football. I don't know if we will ever be satisfied. That's one thing I like about this offense and Coach Mularkey. We can always keep getting better no matter what. I don't care if we put up 60 points, lets just keep going out there and keep trying to work it so we keep getting better. "

Q: Have you ever had to block Abraham in practice?A: "Not really… I was watching when he pushed (Jake) Long down and got the sack, and I'm not surprised. Abraham has established himself as one of the best defensive ends in the league for a long time. I remember when he was out there with the Jets, trying to block him was one of the hardest things to do. He is such a good combination of size, strength and quickness. He definitely presents a mismatch for almost anybody that he goes against and its good to have him on our team. "

Defensive Tackle Jamaal Anderson

Q: One thing that they did give up last week was the ball, could you speak on that?A: "It looks like it's a carryover from the end of last season. That's what killed them in the playoffs against Arizona and that's what got us our victory last week. We want to keep emphasizing BDs (ball disruptions) and the more we get with that, the better our chances are of winning these games."

Q: Do you think Jake Delhomme's state of mind could be a bit fragile if you get to him and rattle his cage?
A: "Yeah and we definitely expect a great crowd once again. Once we get that momentum with us we plan on getting a lot of pressure to him and hopefully riding him real early."

Q: Do they have a good wide receiver-running back combination?A: "Like I said, they want to pound the ball and take deep shots with the players they've got. We want to control the run game first and stop them from making explosive plays."

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