Transcript: Matt Ryan Locker Room Interview

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On how he feels after a physical game on Sunday night:

“I’m feeling better today than I was earlier in the week. That was a physical game, I think, for everybody Sunday night. It’s that time of the year. You’re going to take all six, seven days to get ready for the next week.”

On Tampa Bay as a rivalry game:

“Any division game is a rivalry game, especially with them. Our games have been down the to the wire really the entire time I’ve been here. Games have come down to what you do in the fourth quarter. They’re a good football team. They’ve got a really good quarterback in Josh Freeman, a guy that’s capable of making plays in the fourth quarter to help his team win. We’ll have our work cut out for us this week.”

On Tampa Bay’s defense:

“Their defense is very good. When you look in their secondary, Ronde Barber is a guy who’s still playing at a high level. He’s been around for a long time and is really one of the better guys in the slot. Aqib Talib is a talented guy, a long, rangy corner on the outside…physical, good instincts, can make some plays. Their defensive line is really good too. It’s another tough defense that we’re going to have to go against and play our best at to be successful.”

On having success running the no huddle:

“We practice every day. Every time we’re out at practice, we work on that. I think we’ve got guys who have been in the system for a long time and understand how we’re going to operate in those types of situations. We’ve been together for a long time so there is some familiarity with each other. I think that’s probably one of the reasons we’ve been successful in it.”

On balancing the no huddle and huddle offenses:

“I think Mike (Mularkey) does a great job of balancing the two. When you look at this past weekend, we had two successful drives in the no huddle at the end, but we had some really good huddle calls also. A couple of those calls in the red zone, Mike got us lined up in some really good positions and had guys running wide open. Tony (Gonzalez) was wide open. The post he caught was an unbelievable format. I like doing both.”

On having a divisional game after playing an emotional game against Philadelphia:

“The schedule is the schedule. You’ve got to play the opponent on the schedule the next week. I’ll tell you this much, it’s always tough playing against Tampa. They’re a good physical football team, especially going down there. It’s a hard place to play in the division, but it’s a fun place to play.”

On players flopping to stop the no huddle, as seen in the Monday night Giants-Rams game:

“I think the League sent out some kind of memo about it. They’re usually on top of those things. We can’t control that. We can just control what we do and that will remain our focus.”

On the play of the offensive line:

“Our young guys have done a great job. Joe (Hawley) has done a great job filling in for Todd (McClure) the last couple of weeks. It’s a lot on a center’s shoulders. They do a lot of things in terms of communications, setting run calls up and pass protections. I think he’s stepped in and done a nice job. Garrett Reynolds, for his first two games, has done a really nice job too. I think we’re improving week-to-week and that’s what you want to see and hopefully we’ll make strides this week.”

On throwing to Tony Gonzalez:

“You can pretty much throw it wherever you want. He seems to come down with it. He made an unbelievable catch the other night but that’s what we’ve come to expect from him. When you work with him in practice and talk to him in these meetings, he tells me all the time, if I get this guy in this position, just put it up there and I’ll come down with it. More often than not, he does that. He’s a special player and I’m certainly glad we have him.”

On his toughness:

“That’s part of the deal, especially in the NFL. There are going to be weeks where you take some shots. The important thing is that you’ve got to keep bouncing back up and hanging in there. I think not only myself but everyone else has done a great job of that.”

On if it would be fine with him to not throw the ball as many times this week:

“I’ll do whatever it takes. I think that’s kind of our mindset, not only our mindset but also as an offense and as a team, has been. If we’ve got to run it 70 times, I’m good running it 70 times. If we have to throw 70 times, I’m good throwing it 70 times. I think if we continue to have that mindset to do whatever it takes to win, that’s what we want to keep.”

On the youth on Tampa’s defensive line:

“They’re talented guys up front, that’s for sure, and they’re only going to get better because they’re young. You can see that when you watch tape on some of the guys from last year to this year. They’ve improved. They’re going to be tough to go against for a long time, that’s for sure. They’re certainly not anybody that we kind of overlook because, playing them twice a year, you get a good feel on just how good they are.”

On being able to fool a young defensive line:

“I think if you do it right, you can fool anybody. You can fool older players, too. I know, specifically on offense, there are times where everybody gets fooled. It comes down to good game planning and Mike (Mularkey) will do a great job with that; putting us in good positions to be successful. Then it comes down to winning our one-on-one matchups and that’s every week in the NFL. You’ve got win those one-on-one matchups and it’s going to be a good challenge for us this week.”

On if he is surprised about how Chicago and Philadelphia have played Julio Jones:

“Not really. When you look at both of those football teams going in, they kind of have an identity of what they do and they’re not going to change from that. When you look at Chicago, they play their scheme and they’re going to do what they do regardless of who shows up and plays against them. When you look at Philly, they’re going to play a lot of man coverage. On the outside, they’ve got the corners to be able to do that. I think Julio’s done a great job for us and he’s going to continue to improve.”

On Gonzalez and Michael Turner being beneficiaries of Jones and Roddy White opening the middle of the field:

“One of the things that we like as an offense is to find a matchup that we think is best for us to be successful. Last week, it happened to be ‘88’ and ‘33’. Mike had some yards running. It just depends on what we’re going against and I think, first and foremost, Thomas (Dimitroff) has put the right guys around us to be able to do that but then you have Mike Mularkey putting us in situations to take advantage of those matchups. I think both guys upstairs have done a great job for us.”

On whether there are moments where he walks up to the line and sees what he wants very clearly:

“Yes. Compared to a couple of years ago, absolutely. You know what to look for. I think my preparation is so much better than it was three years ago so I can take what I watch during the week and what I think about during the week and apply that to me in the 35 seconds that you have at the line of scrimmage. It’s easier said than done. It took me a while to be able to do that. That was just an example of that, talking about things during the week, looking at linebackers and defensive line positions, and understanding that we can get into good run plays and have some explosive plays that way, too.”

On his 14-comeback victories:

“It’s a league where you’re going to have to do that. There are so many good football teams and seemingly each game comes down to what you do in the fourth quarter. It’s not just me and those 14-wins though. We’ve had a lot of guys making plays in that fourth quarter to help us get on top and it’s fun to be around that.”

On the team not panicking, down two scores:

“You have to believe. I think in those types of situations, we’ve had guys that have been around long enough and understand that we’re capable of putting together drives like we did at the end of the game. We’ve done it before. You just have to believe in what you’re doing. When you have that kind of spirit around on your football team, it gives you a chance.”

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