Q: What is the mindset of this locker room?
A: "Right now, surprisingly we're pretty loose and I think that's a good sign. Everybody knows the challenge that we have coming here this weekend and I'm sure nobody going to give us this chance. What do we have to lose? Let's just go out there and just play like there's no tomorrow. Let's go out there and shock the world."
Q: Are they the best team in the league?
A: "One of them, I guess. I think last time we played them though we gave them all they can handle. It easily could've gone our way and we understand that. Depending on what guys we get back we might be a little short handed, but that doesn't matter. Now we really have no excuse because we did play a game with other guys filling in. So now it's about going out there and just executing. Making sure that we make big plays when we have to and not giving up big plays and I think we'll be okay."
Q: What's it going to take to make some of those big plays?
A: "Somebody's going to have to come up with a big play, there's no doubt about it. That's what the whole NFL game is built around, explosive plays. If you can get a couple of explosive plays, game changing type plays, turnovers, a 40-or 50-yard bomb or a big run in the running game that can change the complexity of the whole game. We've got to have some of those plays this weekend if we're going to have a chance in this game."
Q: How helpful will it be for the offense to get the running game going?
A: "It opens everything up. The running game is what opens the passing game. I am a firm believer in that. I know that a lot of people saying that the passing game opens the running game. But, for me especially with the type of guys that we have on this side of the ball, I think that it's important to establish that run because it will open everything else up for us."
Q: Can you talk about going up against a defensive end like Will Smith?
A: "He's a great player but we've gone against some really good players. You've got to account for him. if you don't he's going to hurt you. Just like great defensive ends, guys like (Julius)Peppers, you better have a game plan or you might get killed. You're going to pay for it."
Q: Can you talk about going up against a safety like Darren Sharper?
A: "Like I said, I've gone up against Sharper a lot. He's kind of like Asante Samuel, they're going to take some gambles and try to make some plays and you try to make them pay for it to. Because sometimes they take that gamble, the wrong angle or try to jump a route and you can get over the top of them. It's one of those things that when they do come with those types of plays you hopefully can make them pay for it, because he's going to get some plays. He's a great player, but hopefully there are more big plays for us than him."
Q: What can you take from the Week 8 game to help you here in Week 14?
A: "Just try to remember the same things that we did against them in the first game. We were able to come in there and run the ball. That's going to be big to control the ball. They're used to getting turnovers and having a short field and last game we were able to control the ball with the run and they had to take the ball the distance, so we kept it real close. We're going to try to do the same thing this game."
Q: What's it going to take to get the running game back on track?
A: "Just as running backs we've got to run down hill and go back to the basics. We're coming up short in little areas; just get back to the details. We've got a lot of good running backs and we can get it done, it's just getting back to the little things."
Q: You look frustrated, are you alright?
A: "It gets a little frustrating at times because I know we're a better team than the way we've been performing. We can't really worry about that. We're going to concentrate on the Saints. We know we have chance to beat these guys. They're playing well, but we have a good team and we're going in with the approach that we can win this game."
Q: What's the difference when in your last seven games you've gone lost five of the seven as opposed to the beginning of the season where you won four of your first five?A: "We haven't really been able to sustain a great game. We've had good spurts of playing really well and then we've had a drop off. We've got to come into this game and play four quarters of good football and that will make the outcome of the game."
Q: You've seen it all from big wins to games won in the last seconds and big loses. Last week was a bad lose, what did you take from that?
A: "It was tough. We know we didn't play well in all three phases of the game. We know that if you want to be successful in this league as a team you can't do that. We've got a lot of areas that we've got to improve on and we look to do that this week."
Q: Is your job harder because you don't know who will be under center?
A: "You've just got to approach it like any other week. You go in, you get your game plan and you learn to do your job, what you're supposed to do and what the guys around you are supposed to do and everything else will fall in place.'
Q: Can you talk about going up against Sedrick Ellis?
A: "He's playing really well right now. I think that he's learning the speed of this game and he's a guy that over the next few years I think is going to be a big impact in this league for that defense. He's a good player and a guy you've got to block until the whistle because he's able to make a bunch of plays.
Q: Is Ellis special because of his speed rush or power?
A: "He's got both. He's got good athleticism and he uses a lot of power rushes and stuff like that in passing situations. I think that's what makes him good. He can beat you with his quickness and also with power."
Q: How do you plan to stop the Saints defense?
A: "We've got to be able to pick up their blitz. They blitz a lot, some exotic stuff on third downs. They leave some guys out there that can make plays when they bring some of those guys from the secondary. We've got to pick it up, give the quarterback time to throw the ball and it will take care of itself if we can do that."
Q: How do you fight through a day like last week's game and move on?
A: "It's just one of those things. We knew that the Eagles were big on blitzing, bringing the house, doing a lot of different looks and covering complex things. With so many new guys coming in on the offensive side of the ball, we knew going into the game that it was going to be a blitz fest and it turned out to be that way. We tried to do the best we could and unfortunately it didn't work out. Now it's a new week and we're not even talking about last week. We're really just focusing on the Saints. It's a whole new ballgame and this is the next game on our schedule."
Q: Having faced that offense what's something that you have to look at and focus on?
A: "With the Saints, that's one of the things that is so difficult about them. There's not one person or one thing that you can focus on. Of course Drew Brees runs it all, but as far as one player, they spread it around and they go to everybody. You've got to be prepared and just study film, be ready and do your job. You can't just focus on one thing with the Saints."
Q: Is it important to have a short memory when you're playing against the Saints?
A: "Definitely. As you can see this year, they're running up points, they're making plays. You've just got to go out there and if you give up something you've just got to comeback the next play and be ready to perform again."
Q: How often do you watch the leap?
A: "Actually my family and friends watch it more than I do. They tell me about it and they showed it to me on You Tube. That's pretty cool to see it but I haven't watched it in a while actually."
Q: You've got to focus on business.
A: "Yeah, I try to just get ready for this game as well as I can and get ready to play."
Q: What is the mood in this locker room right now?
A: "We're excited to play the Saints. We've got an opportunity to just go out and perform in a game where the odds are against us obviously. They're the number one offense and we've just got to go out there and we've got a chance to make a statement this week at home."
Q: Does this team need to play the perfect game to beat them?
A: "There's no such thing as a perfect game, but you've got to be on your job and limit your mistakes as much as possible if you want to beat an explosive offense like that."
Q: You said that the odds were against you, does that stir a competitive fire under this team?A: "Yeah. You hear all week, you'll hear that the Falcons are supposed to lose. You just use it as motivation to get ready for the game. You just go in there and are prepared. If you do your job and play hard you've always got a chance to win."
Q: Is this game like a playoff game or a must win?
A: "Like I said before, every game in the NFL you've got to look at it as a must win. I mean of course coming down the stretch things are magnified and you need to win these games with the situation that we're in. Yeah, I guess you can say it's a must win."
Q: As a group they've got big receivers. Does that make it even tougher?
A: "Yeah they have Colston that's pretty big and Meachem is pretty big. They can kind of use body position on you and make some plays on the ball with Brees throwing it in the right spot. You've just got to go out there and compete and that's pretty much all you can do."
Q: What's it been like this week trying to move on from a physically and mentally tough game last week?
A: "You know that's part of it. You can't have a rear view mirror. You've just got to keep looking forward. That's what we're going to do. Just put that one behind us and move forward. That's all you can do. Obviously there are a lot of corrections that we have to make. I think everybody's going to come in here and work real hard this week and put on a lot better performance this weekend."
Q: Are you starting?
A: "I haven't talked to coach yet at all. I'm just going to prepare like I always do. If I have to go in, I have to go in. Other than that I don't really know. I'm just going to go out there and do what I do every week. That's just prepare like I have to play."
Q: Can you talk about the mental state here after that tough lose?
A: "You know I think that everyone has to take it one game at a time like everyone says and not get too far ahead of ourselves. Just go out there and worry about ourselves. Play a good game as far as our whole team and I think we will. I think we're going to work real hard and like I said take it one day at a time."
Q: Is there a sense of desperation in this locker room?
A: "No I don't think so. I think everyone all going to come to work and not get to frantic or anything. Just going to go out and have a good week, a sound week of practice. That's all we're focused on right now, working on of our fundamentals and what we have to do. Then hopefully the rest will take care of itself on Sunday."
Q: What's it going to take for this offense to get a spark?
A: "We've just got to go make some plays and obviously eliminate some of the mental mistakes. I think everyone has to do there job. That's what I'm going to try to do myself and our offense. We know that we can put some points up on the board and just everybody has to take care of what we have to do, starting with myself and everybody. Hopefully it will start a snowball affect."
Q: They're plus 15 in the turnover margin. What do you see when you look at the Saints on film?
A: "Definitely that's one of the keys to their success. Them being able to get turnovers, create turnovers and score points off of that. That's a big concentration for us this week is not to turn the ball over, take care of it and just go out there and play smart."
Q: You played much better against Tampa Bay. Did you look at film, or what are your personal feelings on why that is?
A: "I obviously didn't get off to a good start, but we just have to just be better, as far as my reads. You can't just look at one thing and say I need to do this better, you've got to do everything better. That's part of being the quarterback, one week you're the hero and the next week you're the zero. That's just part of it. I'm going to just keep plugging along and I'm going to work harder this week and put together a good game plan."
Q: What's the difference when in your last seven games you've gone lost five of the seven as opposed to the beginning of the season where you won four of your first five?
A: "I don't know. We've obviously had a tough schedule. There are no excuses. We know that we're capable of going out there and playing with any team out there, as long as we play well. The team's we've lost to are the times we haven't played as well as we needed to play. I think it's just being more consistent and hopefully we'll be able to do that this week."
Q: Talk about Drew Brees.
A: "With Brees he sees the defense and he gets the ball in the right position and to the right guy every time. They're very precise in what they do."
Q: What did the team do well in the Week 8 game against New Orleans?
A: "We just played good. We put pressure on the quarterback and got him to turnover the ball. We actually scored a touchdown to in that game. We've just got to do the same thing in this upcoming game."
Q: How great would it be to breakup their undefeated season?
A: "Great. It's something that you want to do. They're 12-0 right now and coming into our house. You don't want to lose at home and it's going to be a great feeling to upset them if we can."
Q: Do you think they're the best team in football?
A: "I don't know about that. I know they are one of the best teams out there, but I wouldn't say that they are the team. But, they are one of the best teams out there."
Q: How tough is it coming back from a game like last weeks? You haven't been out of a game like that with the Falcons with this being your second year.
A: "I mean from high school to college you've been in those situations. You kind of look back at those times where you're doing that and you just come back. We felt like we let our fans down, we let each other down and we just want to comeback and have a solid game this week."
Q: From your perspective what's made the Saints offense so dynamic?
A: "I think just their efficiency. They run everything to a tee. They're really precise in the routes that they run and how fast the ball comes out of Brees' hand, so they're real efficient in that sense. Also, what stands out is he spreads the ball out a lot. There are a lot of catches spread out between a lot of their receivers, their backs and tight ends. The way they spread the ball around and how efficient they are is what really stands out on film."
Q: First time around you guys had some success. Can you take that into this game at all?
A: "Definitely on that Monday night game we played well against them, we made plays on defense and kept it a close game until the end. I think we can build off that momentum, see how we played last game against them and see what we did well and try to do those same things again on Sunday."
Q: Mentally can you put that game last week behind you?
A: "You kind of have to, especially playing a good team like the Saints the next week. You have to get it out of your system, move forward and prepare for a great team like we are this week."
MORE FALCONS-SAINTS COVERAGE:
MULTIMEDIA:Falcons-Saints video interviews and features * WHAT TO WATCH:Key stats and information to get you ready for gameday * GAME INFORMATION:Important fan information for Sunday's game * J. MIKE'S MISSIVES:News updates and thoughts from the AF.com managing editor * THE BEAT BLOG:Additional Falcons news and injury updates from John Manasso * INJURY REPORT:Injury updates on the Falcons and Saints, presented by Piedmont Healthcare * TRANSACTION:Falcons make early-week roster moves | Bergeron back on practice squad * PREVIEW PACK:More game info and stats from the Football Communications Staff * FALCONS LIVE:Mike Smith and Lawrence Sidbury talk with Wes and Dave * TRANSCRIPTS:Wednesday Locker Room | Smith Wednesday | Smith Monday * USA FOOTBALL:Gonzalez named to first All-Fundamentals Team